Over the years there have been many incredible destruction games. Red Faction Guerilla was an underrated title that was a pioneer in destruction physics, and in my opinion, no game has come even close to it.
The pixel destruction game Noita has become one of my favorite games, so when I saw a game on Steam about wizards and destruction, it was a game I immediately purchased. I’ll be honest right up front, this game didn’t turn out to be what I expected.
I’m Jay from Cubold Gaming, and today I’ll be going over the game Fictorum, and helping you decide whether or not it’s worth buying.
Before I start, I wanted to say that Fictorum is only $10 on Steam, so I won’t be comparing it on the same level as a more expensive game, but I will talk about every aspect of it.
Starting off the review, I’ll be covering the gameplay, which is the most important part of Fictorum. There isn’t much of a story to the game, but there’s a loose one that was added to justify what’s happening.
You play as a Fictorum, a sorcerer that can have one of many types of magic. In this world, Fictorums have been declared to be criminals, and are being hunted down by the Inquisition. You, the player, are the last Fictorum left alive, and the entire game consists of you running from the Inquisition.
You get to choose one of many types of magic as your main power. The default one is Pyromancy, and in my hours of playing, I only unlocked a few. They all seem to be quite difficult to unlock.
After you start, you’re thrown into the world with a few powers and light armor. Every area of the map has a different objective, which is either to destroy certain buildings or defeat certain enemies.
Here’s where the destruction comes in. Each area has a bunch of houses and buildings that you can explore and look for items. While this sounds cool, the buildings usually only have one item in them, and that’s if they have items at all. You can blow up any building you want using spells, but honestly, the destruction is very lackluster.
The game features a mechanic it calls spellshaping, which allows you to change the way your spell works to make it more powerful. By default, you can shape a normal fireball spell to fly faster, have a bigger explosion, fragment into multiple explosions, or all of those at the same time.
The only limitation here is the amount of mana you have. Different pieces of armor will increase mana, and certain spells use much more mana than others.
The whole spellshaping mechanic can be useful sometimes, but it does get old fast. While you’re shaping, the world goes into slow motion while you shape them. When fighting hordes of enemies, you’re doing this dozens of times, which makes fights last forever.
Sometimes shaping spells is necessary though, especially to hit enemies that are farther away. As the game goes on, you get more spells and better armor to help you survive.
Most of the time though, you can get away with fireball spamming.
Exploration isn’t really encouraged in Fictorum. The interiors of the houses are fun, until you realize that they all look the same inside.
To sum up the gameplay, I’d say it’s very repetitive. I haven’t unlocked everything there is to do so far, but after several hours it hasn’t really changed.
The destruction was the part that really disappointed me though. Everything you destroy just turns into chunks and kind of explodes all over the place. There aren’t buildings collapsing into wood and rubble, but rather a huge explosion that sends boulders crashing down on your head.
The destruction honestly seems like it was an afterthought in the game. It was the part I was looking forward to the most, and it was disappointing to find that there really isn’t any point to destroying most buildings.
Debris from falling buildings will often hurt you or completely trap you, forcing you to be very careful when casting spells around buildings.
Destroying things is fun for about 10 minutes, but then it just seems pointless. After a bit, you’ll be sprinting through the world defeating enemies and heading for the exit.
What should have been the coolest part of the game turned out to be a very subpar and unnecessary mechanic.
The world is node based, meaning you can select which node you want to go to next. Some of these nodes will feature difficult enemies, while others will have a shop. If you play it right, you can avoid a lot of the combat by jumping around to shop levels.
The game is filled with risk vs reward scenarios that you can attempt if you’re well equipped or want to take chances. You have the option to rest at each node after you’ve completed it, which heals you for a small amount of health. The downside of resting is that the Inquisition will progress, and have more of a chance of catching up to you.
If it does catch up to you, you’ll be forced to fight a bunch of nearly impossible enemies, and it’s almost a guaranteed death.
When you get to the end of each area, there’s a boss level, and then a new map is formed. Following close behind you is the Inquisition, and if you take too long on the map they’ll catch up to you. If this happens, you’ll be forced to fight them, and you’ll most likely lose.
You want to keep moving forward as much as possible to avoid getting caught.
Here’s where the bad part comes in. Every world looks basically the same. They’re all large areas with a few houses thrown in. After you complete 5 or 6 nodes you’ll have basically seen all the game has to offer.
Each map seems to have the same terrain and buildings, so after a while, there’s basically zero reason to explore. After a couple of hours of play, most people simply sprint to the exit and complete the objective as quickly as possible.
This is disappointing because a game like this should have a decent world to explore and destroy, but instead, it’s an empty map filled with difficult enemies.
The combat is the core part of the game and determining if you’ll buy it or not depends on how you feel about it. The first thing you should know is that it’s very difficult to fight enemies in Fictorum.
Combat can be overwhelming at times in a lot of different ways. For one, the sheer amount of spells to use is insane. There are so many spells that behave similarly that I never know what to choose.
I usually end up sticking with the same fireball spells I started with, and the other spells I find rarely turn out to be useful.
The enemies of this game are very tanky, and they all seem to spam you at once. I have yet to find any sort of tactic for beating enemies, except to just run around and spam magic.
One of the most annoying parts of the combat is that you run out of mana very quickly. The enemies will immediately swarm you, and since there isn’t a melee there’s nothing to do but take damage and wait for mana to regenerate.
The game has a large number of armor pieces that all have different abilities, and you can use those to create a better build. It does seem to be pretty difficult to actually make the desired build, but you’ll definitely need better armor if you want to survive.
The unlocking of new classes takes way too long in my opinion, and I wish there were several to choose from at the start. The game is incredibly difficult also makes it hard to unlock new classes.
There is an option to lower the difficulty of the game, so that’s an option if you’re simply trying to unlock classes.
Buy or Pass?
My overall consensus of Fictorum is that it feels very barebones and empty. Fictorum feels like the alpha or preview of a larger game to come. Because of that, I’m going to give Fictorum a pass.
It really isn’t a bad game, but there’s just not enough content to keep most people interested. After looking at Steam reviews, it looks like the majority of players have less than 10 hours of gameplay. Some people really seem to enjoy it, and the reviews are mostly positive, but the game didn’t really connect with me personally.
The group of people who enjoy the game will get many hours out of it, while most others will get very few.
I normally love games like this, but Fictorum doesn’t have enough polish in it to enjoy it. If it ever goes on sale for a couple of dollars, it may be worth picking up, but don’t expect more than a couple of hours of gameplay.