Druid as an interactive experience excited me about as much as the idea of being an actual druid excites me; which is to say, in essence, not very much.
Blazing Planets Studio have made a perfectly fine, competent game with Druid, but there is nothing exceptionally interesting or special about the title to elevate it to the level at which we might call it great or even good.
As a hermit of the forest, your task is to find a wise teacher who can train you properly in the arts of…druiding? I’m not sure what the verb equivalent for “Druid” is, but we’ll go with that.
From here on out, the player must journey through the sprawling forest; learning new spells, interacting with the anthropomorphic wildlife and clearing various obstructions to progress ever further towards the teacher’s abode.
The focus on figuring out how to solve these minor environmental puzzles through the search for new spells has an admirably decent sense of pace to it. One minute you’re turning into a bear to destroy a giant boulder you previously couldn’t get past, the next you’re lighting up caverns using your newly equipped knack for creating fire. Unfortunately, a number of small annoyances build up to collectively turn this dynamic into something more monotonous than it should be.
Firstly, the Druid himself walks at an achingly slow pace, with no sprint button to speed things up. Adding salt to the wound is the fact that there is no in-game map to reference to when attempting to navigate through the expansive and labyrinthian woodland environments. A lot of the forest can look the same, and it’s easy to feel like you’re running around in circles, or heading back and forth between minor landmarks to make small amounts of progress.
The result of all this is that Druid very quickly begins to get rather banal and uneventful, and the game makes little effort to hold your attention for even the short time it takes to complete it. Considering there’s no other actions or mechanisms other than walking, talking or casting a spell with the touch of the same button, this sense of humdrum was my biggest issue with Druid.
At least some of the game’s charm makes up for what it lacks in energy. The animals which you can interact with are sometimes surprising in the manner in which they talk. The sound effect for the hedgehogs’ speech, for example, was not only quite funny but actually sounded like the sort of noise a talking hedgehog would make.
The poor translation of the dialogue from Russian to English creates a couple of wooden lines and awkward moments of conversation, though, including a few instances where I had no clue what a few of the creatures were even saying.
“rather banal and uneventful”
While the artistry of Druid is definitely a step above many Steam games that are sat in the same price range, the aforementioned lack of environmental diversity doesn’t do justice to the pleasant aesthetic. Resultingly, the Druid‘s visuals can be effectively summed up as “meh”, and nothing more or less. The electric guitar which plays in the backing track of the entire game also feels weirdly incongruous to the mystical woodland scenery.
You could do a lot worse for less money than Druid on Steam. If you’re interested in an easy-going, mildly enjoyable walking simulator, populated with some vaguely quirky characters, then maybe consider picking this up. Just don’t expect much going in.