At PAX this year the indie presence was huge. There is a reason they have a large section carved out, called “The Indie Mega Booth.” It is massive, and full of really interesting games. However, not all of the indie games exist within this amalgamation of ideas. One such outlier, Gheldia, stood on the 6th floor, far away from all the other indie games. It was on that floor that I saw this up and coming gem and love happened.
Gheldia is a top down game in the same style as the original Zelda. You can attack in four directions, enemies drop money, there are items to gain, and dungeons to explore. Unlike Zelda though, there are seriously deep RPG elements at play in the background. Though I was not able to play with all of them; I was able to tinker around with the basics. To explain them though, you need a little bit of backstory.
In the world of Gheldia all the kingdoms have been split by a catastrophic event that rose ancient Beast Lords. Fighting off these monsters became less important to the kingdoms than pointing the finger at each other. Thus the powers became divided and those caught in the middle became victims to the monsters.
Que the main character, Lor. He is on a quest to kill a Battle Lord in an attempt to make a name for himself. Lor is also what is known as a Slayer; which means he has the semi-unique ability to use a monster’s essence to make himself stronger. The essence of a monster is represented in a Spirit Shard which, in my short time with it, you could use up to six. Three fell under your attack slot, and three under defense.
These Spirit Shards are not just a static item though. During Gheldia you will be able to visit Arcane Forges to merge two shards together. The resulting shard will initially be weaker that the original two, but will have greater powers when upgraded. You upgrade the shards by spending monster essence, which you get from slaying baddies, on them The shards can also do a multitude of things besides just increase your stats. During my demo I was treated to buffing shards, skill shards, and magic shards. An open ended system like this could potentially scratch that itch of an old school RPG lover, without the need for archaic XP bars.
While it is still early in development, Gheldia shows huge potential. As of this writing, the game is scheduled for release on the XBL indie channel and PC for Summer 2013. Keep your eyes tuned on Level Save for more info as it is released. Until then though, enjoy this trailer and follow the studio on twitter. You are going to want to keep an eye on this developer in the future.