It was going to be an indie point & click special this week, but I forgot about an embargo…. intrigue!! So it is a point & click and tactics week instead. As we look at Lil’ Guardsman and The Binding Blade DLC for Darkest Dungeon II.

Lil’ Guardsman

DEVELOPER: Hilltop Studios
PUBLISHER: Versus Evil
Format: Steam, Switch, PlayStation, Xbox
Price: £15.99
Steam Deck: Verified

Credit: ID@Xbox

I’m not a fan of covering point & click games too much, other than saying whether I think they are worth it. Namely because I believe the less you know going in, the better the experience. So this might be a bit brief, so apologies.

First up you have a very engaging story here, where you take the role of a 12 year old who has to cover their Dad’s shift at a guard post which then leads to all kinds of shenanigans. It is really well told with some truly likeable characters who you want to be around, which is only ever a good thing in a game where the story is what will drive you forward.

The mechanics are excellent too, taking elements from Lucas Pope’s all-time classic Papers, Please, then doing its own thing with the idea. You need to use all the tools at your disposal to interrogate a varied cast and decide their fates.

It is far from as dark and deep as Papers, Please, but it doesn’t make it any less engaging. The comedic narrative never leans too far into stupidity, but instead just adds a layer of light-heartedness that the game needs when compared to something like Pope’s masterpiece, or a Not Tonight.

I found myself enthralled by everything the game had to offer, the accessibility is baked in well, with a nicely sized UI and fonts. However there is alack of a dark mode from what I could tell, which would be welcome. However on the most part everything is fully voice acted, which negates things a little. We are getting there, slowly but surely.

2024 has kicked off with a bang and Lil’ Guardsman does nothing but make said bang even louder!

Darkest Dungeon® II: The Binding Blade

DEVELOPER: Red Hook Studios
PUBLISHER: Red Hook Studios
Format: Steam, Playstation, Xbox
Price: £8.50
Steam Deck: Verified (Base game)

Credit: Red Hook Studios

Darkest Dungeon II is a fantastic sequel to the brilliant Darkerst Dungeon and for me makes the game way more accessible without sacrificing the bleak nature of the first that made it stand out in the ever growing and crowded turn-based tactics genre. You can check out my thoughts on the game here – Podcast 170

So I jumped at the chance to give the DLC a try and I am happy to report that The Binding Blade just adds to an already exceptional game. It adds two new characters… well, technically one new and one retuning!

The Duelist who I found to be a well-rounded addition to the roster who is great to have in both attack and defence. Then The Crusader, who makes a return from the first game.

I am a fan of The Crusader as a hero who I can use to be a bit of a tank, whilst also offering both attacking and support options. Also I loved both of their back-stories which integrate seamlessly into the game and add to the lore rather nicely.

The £8.50 price tag may be a sticking point for some, but if you are someone who has enjoyed both the first game and this one, then it is a bit of a no brainer to pick it up.

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