the hand of merlin keyart 2

It was only a month or so ago that we found out The Hand of Merlin would be releasing soon. In that time we’ve taken in an exclusive interview with the team behind it, as they happily let us delve into the inner workings of this sci-fi, horror, Arthurian legend mash-up. Now though it’s here, as players on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch and PC get the chance to play The Hand of Merlin. 

Available today as a digital download on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch and PC (coming out of Steam Early Access as it goes), The Hand of Merlin from Room-C Games, Croteam and the publishing arm of Versus Evil finally makes it to Version 1.0. 

Priced at £24.99, this version of The Hand of Merlin brings together the base game with all the eight (count em) major updates that have hit the game through its Steam Early Access period. That means new features, gameplay enhancements, progression, skills, maps, difficulty modes and an overhaul to the visuals will all be present. 

But what is The Hand of Merlin? Well, you could take in our exclusive interview with Room-C Games as they divulge a ton of info, or you could sit tight and let us talk you through it. 

A turn-based roguelite RPG that utilises both squad-based and turn-based combat, mixing in sci-fi elements, dark horror and some serious Arthurian legend, The Hand of Merlin tries to do much. A game in which you play as three mortal heroes as they look to journey from Albion to Jerusalem, a host of medieval lands await. The problem is, these are on the brink of collapse, all thanks to the arrival of an otherwordly evil. 

Working your way through The Hand of Merlin will see your decisions playing an important role. Choices are permanent and so you’ll have to seriously consider how you go about moving your way through the world. With exploration and encounters at the fore of what The Hand of Merlin brings, working tactical cunning is going to be key. 

But there’s a twist and in The Hand of Merlin each world you save is one that will last forever – but lose one and it’s gone, never to be returned from the darkness. 

The key features you’ll be working include:

  • A Roguelike Experience – Carve a path across the lands of Albion, Marca Hispanica and Al-Andalus. Will you take a dangerous route, risking life and limb in pursuit of a legendary relic? Or will you choose a safer path? Plan and prepare. Negotiate, barter, fight. Tackle challenges. Suffer losses. Recruit new Heroes. Earn Gold, Supplies and Renown. Be careful: your choices are permanent, as is death. But don’t tarry – evil never rests.
  • Tactical Turn-Based Combat – Master the tactics of squad-based and turn-based combat to conquer both human and demonic foes. Your enemies will be tough and ruthless; make use of high ground and cover, set up ambushes and coordinated attacks, harness synergies between different Hero classes and skills.
  • Non-Linear Narrative – Enjoy a compelling story inspired by Arthurian legend, the Matter of France, and the history of Al-Andalus – with an unusual twist. Make choices in interactive encounters that change every time you play. Written by Jonas Kyratzes (The Talos Principle, Serious Sam 4) and Verena Kyratzes (The Lands of Dream, Serious Sam 4).
  • Hard Mode – Suited for only the bravest adventurers. Experience an even greater challenge with complex resource management and tougher enemies. Earn Essence with each run that can be exchanged for Blessings and Curses, adding temporary benefits and burden in equal measure to your next run.
  • Dynamic Leveling – Use Renown to level up your Heroes, and choose between a randomized set of new skills or improved attributes. But choose wisely! Select skills with great synergy and balance your party for the road ahead.
  • Equipment Upgrades – Seek out towns to improve your arms and armor, or stumble upon hermit artisans in the wild. With every day that passes, the world plunges deeper into darkness, and you will need all the equipment gold can buy.
  • Relics – From a peasant’s humble luck charm to the legendary sword wielded by Arthur himself, items imbued with magical power are scattered about the world. Some you will be able to purchase from merchants and collectors, but others will have to be earned through acts of heroism – or displays of wit.
  • Spells – Rain thunder and brimstone upon your foes! Seek out and gather Soulstones to restore your power and unlock new Spells. Even if defeated, your spirit will retain all of your collected arcane knowledge as you jump into the next dimension.
  • Alternate Dimensions – As you jump from one parallel dimension to the next, history is reshaped. Different kings rule the land, changing the encounters, characters, and events. No two worlds are ever quite the same, and each journey will be unique. And should your heroes fall, remember: defeat is not the end, only a new beginning.

Stay tuned for our full review of how The Hand of Merlin plays out on Xbox Series X|S in the coming days. For now though you can grab the game from the usual digital stores – the Xbox Store covering the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S base. Expect to find this on PlayStation, Switch and PC too. 

Game Description:

The Hand of Merlin is a turn-based rogue-lite RPG in which Arthurian legend clashes with cosmic horror. Recruit a company of up to three mortal heroes and guide them in spirit on a desperate journey from Albion to Jerusalem. Explore a richly-imagined medieval setting on the brink of apocalypse. Trade with merchants, improve your heroes and unearth ancient relics. Search for the lost fragments of your soul, scattered across the multiverse – and save as many worlds as you can.

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