Felvidek Review – Don’t judge a book by its cover, szivecske

Gare – Tuesday, July 2, 2024 6:28 PM
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When I first came across Felvidek, the initial emotion I felt was probably... confusion. I was taken by surprise by what I was seeing: a retro-style RPG set in medieval Europe (more specifically, 15th century Slovakia), with engaging turn-based combat, extremely lofi graphics, dialogue scenes that alternate between the serious and the outrageously comedic, and a plot that takes a handful of unexpected turns? Honestly, I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did, but here we are: Felvidek is actually a very competently made RPG that, while not taking itself tremendously seriously, manages to be thoroughly entertaining from start to finish.

‘Tis a silly place

As noted above, the storyline begins in 15th century Slovakia, with our protagonist, a knight called Pavol, searching for his wife. As you might imagine, though, things soon escalate from there, and his seemingly mundane quest inevitably takes a rather sinister turn – without spoiling the gist of the plot, let’s just say that you’ll have a lot more to contend with than just Hussites and Ottomans. Full-on disclaimer here: I’m Hungarian, and as such, found a special kind of joy in exploring the game’s setting and uniquely comedic writing. Let me explain why: the game, even if the language is set to English, peppers its dialogue with phrases from Hungarian (through the inclusion of a certain character who speaks the language) and is additionally written in a very... medieval style, for lack of a better expression. To be perfectly honest, the game does throw paragraphs at you that sort of just... hurt your brain to read, but here’s the thing: this only adds to its irresistible charm. Being called “kedvesem” (“my dear” in Hungarian) by a fellow knight, seeing him refer to another character as “szivecske” (another expression of endearment), and then starting to swear like a sailor in Hungarian was... quite the experience, I’m not going to lie. Felvidek is an absolute rollercoaster ride in that regard, especially if you understand Hungarian, but even for non-Hungarian speakers, there’s still plenty of lovable, Monty Python-esque goofiness to be enjoyed and appreciated.

Petards and plum wine

Gameplay-wise, Felvidek is very much an RPG. Specifically, the project labels itself as a JRPG, and I think I can more or less see why: the way you traverse the world, recruit party members and do battle are all reminiscent of SNES-era classics and games that emulate that style. The battle system, in particular, is surprisingly strategic – despite not being overly complex – and even somewhat challenging at times: like in oldschool dungeon crawler titles and traditional RPGs, you see your enemies from a first-person viewpoint, and must decide which actions to take in a turn-based fashion. Your party members each have their own abilities in their arsenal: your friendly neighborhood priest casts healing spells and dispels negative statuses, fellow soldiers might use a shield bash to temporarily stun their foes, while others can use sneaky stabs to apply a bleed effect, and that’s not even mentioning the various consumable items and miscellaneous tools you have at your disposal. Naturally, this is all presented in the game’s own, semi-comedic style: chugging a bucket of sour cream during combat, washing it down with plum wine, then throwing a petard into the enemy lines to do massive damage is not something I’ll soon forget, that’s for sure.

Notably, Felvidek also doesn’t contain any random encounters whatsoever, and most of its battles are actually part of the main storyline. In other words, you won’t have to grind, so if you simply keep your equipment up-to-date (remember where the merchants are!) and make use of all the abilities at your disposal, you’ll generally be fine, which made progressing through the roughly 6-hour-long campaign quite a smooth experience overall. The game nonetheless offers a few extra things to find for those willing to stray off the beaten path, with a handful of optional side quests and bonus tidbits to experience, provided you’re willing to look for them. There is no in-game journal, though, so – much like in the old days – you’ll have to keep track of things yourself, but considering the short length of the game, this probably won’t be an issue for most players.

"Ó, get fucked by a barrowful of tiny monkeys!" (mil. slang)


FelvidekPlatform: WindowsGenre: RPGDeveloper: Jozef Pavelka, Vlado GanajPublisher: Tutto PassaRelease: 03/29/2024All in all, Felvidek has been one of the biggest indie surprises of the year for me, mostly because I didn’t expect it to be such a genuinely memorable experience. Beneath the outer veneer of its silly, Monty Python-esque sense of humor and bizarrely entertaining dialogue scenes, there’s also a fun and engaging game to be found, with mildly challenging turn-based battles, amusing characters and a storyline that takes one unexpected turn after another, especially if you go into it anticipating a standard, run-of-the-mill medieval RPG. Highly recommended if you’re looking for something wildly different from the norm.

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