Update: HEL: The Last Saga is live on Kickstarter, and the campaign will run for 13 days. There is only one pledge tier that provides you the game. Mythic Games states that HEL is Kickstarter exclusive, and will not go to retail.
Our preview post below was published on May 8.
HEL: The Last Saga is a 1-4 player semi-cooperative game set in a Norse mythology-inspired fantasy universe. It is planned to launch on Kickstarter on May 12.
In HEL, you take control of a group of Vikings who, after a perilous journey, have managed to reach a colony founded by other Viking settlers. Instead of finding the Eden they were expecting, they instead discover an empty camp hit by harsh weather conditions, and neighboring a dark, mysterious forest. The game is arranged in chapters linked in a campaign, and is accompanied by a storybook with paragraphs to read when you're instructed to.
Instead of selecting characters and managing the ones you have chosen, the game is designed in such a way that you have to eventually play with all of the characters. As the storyline progresses, not everyone will survive, so you will get to play with some heroes more often than others. The results of your actions, your successes and failures, will shape how the game continues, meaning that there are legacy elements to the gameplay, but without any components being destroyed.
Dangers lurk both inside and outside the settlement. When an enemy encounter takes place, you first check which character is the enemy's priority, and then roll dice for defense. Characters also have the option to reveal hidden enemies so that they avoid being ambushed, and possibly attack them first. Dice will be rolled for skill checks too, when a character needs to pass a test. The first part of the campaign takes place in constant daylight, but the second half is plunged in darkness, making survival for the heroes an even bigger challenge.
When you fail the objective of a scenario, you have to go through it again, but adapt the new playthrough to your previous result. The game also involves some resource management, as heroes have to sustain themselves and gather wood, and the solo mode focuses more on survival than the multiplayer mode.