Looking around itch.io is a fun endeavor for me. Previous months I have highlighted a little colorful and fun free game, and a point and click adventure birthed from a game jam that punches well above its weight. But those are not the only things on offer there. You can also find a lot of devs working on games that might be priced in the future but are offering gameplay demos and snapshots of their WIP for you to play and comment on now. Such is the current object of my admiration, Heidelberg 1693.
Heidelberg 1693 comes from Andrade Games, a German‐based studio with a few titles under their belt. I haven’t played their previous titles like 1917 — The Alien Invasion DX and SturmFront — The Mutant War before, but I certainly want to look into them now. Their inspirations are clear, and if you like retro‐inspired action games with fictional history twists, then this seems like the studio for you.
Their current WIP has you playing as a musketeer in the late 15th century, tasked by Louis XIV to take down his fictional rival the “Moonking”. The Moonking is attempting to take over the Sun King’s empire, and it’s up to your rapier and musket to stop him.
Heidelberg 1693 ends up playing like a more methodical platformer along the lines of the older Prince of Persia games, rather than being an action‐filled blast fest like their previous titles appear to be. This plays very well with the nature of how gunplay works with a musket, and the devs have worked very specifically on the musket mechanics to make them feel right.
There is an interesting balance going on in the game because you have a limited number of bullets, and the slow nature of reloading, but you also must use your gun to ultimately kill your enemies. Just swishing your rapier at them will make them fall, but they will come back until you blast them.
The artwork is nice looking in a grim and dirty way that is very good at being atmospheric and is especially striking when one is searching through the sea of what I will politely call people’s test projects up on the free section of itch.io. The music is very fitting and has a haunting feel to it, as should be in a tense zombie shooter.
For the price of free, I don’t think you can go wrong spending a bit of time in Heidelberg 1693. If you don’t mind more patient game play then give the demo’s three stages a stab and a shot!