I know that I’m a “little” late to the “Stoneshard: Prologue” party (it’s a turn-based roguelike RPG by Ink Stains Games). However, to my defense, the “Stoneshard: Prologue” alpha demo has been updated quite a few times since it’s June release this year. Anyways, I’ve spent +20 hours with the game to this date, and I really love what I’ve seen and experienced so far.

stoneshard prologue the main menu

You are good to go with “Stoneshard: Prologue” in a couple of clicks, and you will understand the game in just a couple of minutes.

“And why is that”? So you might wonder. The answer is very simple. It’s because “Stoneshard: Prologue” is more or less a mix of old-school “Diablo“, “The Binding of Isaac“, “Dink Smallwood”, “ADOM“, “Nethack” and “Ancient Evil”. In other words, “Stoneshard” is a mix of a lot of nice things (the old and the new). Furthermore, the game is very easy to learn, but hard to master (you will die a lot) .

stoneshard prologue im alone in a prison cell

The “Stoneshard: Prologue” actually starts off inside of a prison cell (that’s where your and Verren’s adventure kicks-off).

Yes, that’s right. “Stoneshard: Prologue” is the kind of game that is very unforgiving (think “Dark Souls” meets “Diablo Median XL” and “Ancient Evil”). So that means that the game will punish you instantly if you mess up, and most of the time, that results in an instant death on the spot (watch out for traps!).

stoneshard prologue hunger and thirst

There are a lot of things that could kill you in “Stoneshard”, but you also have to worry about dying of thirst and hunger. In other words, drink and eat when ever Verren points out that his hungry or thirsty.

I’m not even exaggerating either, because it doesn’t take a whole lot for you to die in “Stoneshard: Prologue”. For example, one wrong step could make you step right into a deadly trap (it would be a very wise idea to search each area very carefully). Furthermore, besides monsters and whatnot, you also have to keep a close eye on your thirst and hunger levels.

stoneshard prologue traps of death

Besides lethal monsters and beasts, there are also plenty of deadly traps to watch out for (such as the one that you can see in this picture).

Yep, you can actually die from thirst and hunger as well. So that means that you always have to keep your eyes open for food and water (be sure to watch out for bad food, because it could kill you as well). The same could also be said about your health and mana meter (you can regain health or mana via potions, different items and by resting).

stoneshard prologue skills and the level up system

You can both level up your character (upgrade abilities such as strength, intelligence and much more) and add new skills to you arsenal (such as the ability to toss fire or stop bleedings).

You see, your health and mana will go up in smoke before you know it, and it’s simply because you will face a lot of monsters and traps while you venture deeper and deeper into the dungeons of “Stoneshard: Prologue”. Thus the reason why you have to keep your eyes on your health and mana meter, because both will get drained in no time if you’re not careful.

stoneshard prologue a bit of backstory

Quite a bit of Stoneshard’s backstory are told via notes such as this one (old-school “Resident Evil” comes to mind).

Well, since pretty much everything is randomized in “Stoneshard: Prologue” (everything from maps, monsters, items and weapons is randomized in the game). This is a very wise advice indeed. Because you never really know what you will face around the next corner. I for one had to learn this the hard way (those sneaky darn traps!).

stoneshard prologue the inventory screen

The inventory screen is as simple as it gets in “Stoneshard: Prologue” (think “Diablo 1” or “Diablo 2” simple).

So I soon realized that had to search each room from hidden traps BEFORE I started to look for loot and whatnot, because you sure don’t want to end up breaking a limb or two (yes, that can happen as well, and then you must have the right items in-order to fix a broken hand, leg, arm and so on). Nevertheless, none of that was ever an irritating moment for me.

stoneshard prologue its time to fight

The battle is turn-based in “Stoneshard: Prologue”. However, don’t think for a second that just because the game is turn-based, that it means that the game is slow-paced on the battle front, because it’s not.

Why? “Stoneshard: Prologue” is more about learning from your mistakes than anything else. Simply put, git gud or get rekt. Well, I did get good. So I did manage to make it to the very end of the “Stoneshard: Prologue” demo. However, thanks to a really annoying mouse cursor bug (the bug only happens when you play the game in full-screen mode) I died at the boss battle.

stoneshard prologue boss fight

There’s a rather impressive boss fight by the end of the “Stoneshard: Prologue”. Sadly enough though, I didn’t manage to record when I bet the boss the first time.

So while that was a huge let down and angry moment for me, I still enjoyed my experience with “Stoneshard: Prologue” (thus my +20 hours with the game). That’s also why I feel like “Stoneshard: Prologue” is a really great, challenging and promising turn-based roguelike RPG. So I can’t wait to try out the full version of “Stoneshard” sometime during the first quarter of next year (2019).

Pros:
+ Nice visuals and art style
+ Old-school Diablo + The Binding of Isaac + Dink Smallwood + ADOM + Nethack = True!
+ The soundtrack is very nice and suiting
+ Awesome voice actors
+ Randomized maps, monsters, weapons and much more
+ The game is challenging and fun to play
+ You got a ton of different skills and character upgrades to play around with
+ There’s a really action intense and impressive boss battle at the end of the demo

Cons:
– There’s a huge mouse pointer bug when you plan the game in the full-screen mode
– Very few save points (I wouldn’t have a problem with this if there was at least ONE more save point in the demo)
– Some people might find Stoneshard to be very unforgiving at times
– There are a couple of bugs here and there (none of them are dead serious)

Gameplay: 4/5
Graphics: 4/5
Sound and music: 4/5
Controls: 4/5
Replay value: 4/5
Story: 4/5

tgg grade 4 out of 5

Verdict: 4/5
Stoneshard: Prologue is with no doubt a really great, impressive, challenging and promising turn-based roguelike RPG. So it’s going to be truly interesting to see what Ink Stains Games will be able to pull off with the full version of “Stoneshard” in Q1 next year.

Title: Stoneshard: Prologue
Developer: Ink Stains Games
Format: PC
Genre: Action/Roguelike RPG
Resolution: Highest possible on PC
Release date: Q1 2019
Difficulty: User-defined
Spent time: +20 hours
Average grade internationally: N/A
PEGI age rating: 
+12
Price: Free via Steam

tgg author avatar robin ek
Robin “V-Act” Ek
Editor in chief
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @TheGamingGround

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