Mirthwood PAX West Impression
For those who want a game that offers a generally relaxing experience, but with interesting things to build or way interact with NPCs, this is it.
Mirthwood is a single-player life sim RPG from Bad Ridge Games and V Publishing set in a medieval fantasy world. The game introduces players as a refugee from a war-torn continent who lands in a new area where they have to survive and grow by exploring, crafting, and building relationships with other NPCs. It features an open world where players can go down their own path in non-linear progression, such as by building a homestead with a farm, growing produce to sell, exploring forests for items, or undertaking quests and monster combat. The game will also include a relationship system leading to rewards, quests, and potentially romance.
The game’s PAX West demo started with character creation at the dock of the player’s new world. Once players choose their character appearance, it then goes to choosing your social class — Royal, Noble, or Peasant — as well as origin and profession. There are many options to choose from, each with their own background and attributes that affect the character’s personality, including Herbalist, Tinkerer, Farmer, Actor, Criminal, Fighter and Ratcatcher. Once that was finished, it was time to explore. I chopped down some trees, collected some herbs and berries, punched some monsters, and did some quests. There was one memorable quest that involved a man pinned to a tree by his own sword. The note said his dying wish was to be buried with it, and it offered the choice to either just take the sword or complete his wish. Everything that is done affects your morality meters, and if players continue to act in certain way, the NPCs will not be kind to them in turn.
For those who want a game that offers a generally relaxing experience, but with interesting things to build or way interact with NPCs, this is it. The music is soothing and magical, making it easy to get immersed into the world. Not only was it fun to do the quests, talk to the NPCs, and have a house to play with, but when it says players have to learn to survive, it means it. Danger comes not just from foes, but there are energy and hunger gauges to take into account so players don’t overexert or starve to death. One of the game’s fresher elements is the impact players have on NPCs. If an NPC comes up asking for life-saving medicine it’s entirely likely that they will die if players don’t give it to them in time. Decisions and actions have consequences; if players kill their neighbor’s chickens, they will come after them. There is a nice crafting system to make food as well as household and outdoor items. Unfortunately, players can’t pet the animals, but an animal companion is under consideration.
I thoroughly enjoyed talking to others about my time with the game. I love how much your character can affect the environment and the NPCs; players aren’t just asked to “kill 5 chickens and bring me their eggs”, requests are much more believable and along the lines of “my mom is sick and needs medicine or she will die” with true consequences for fulfilling or ignoring them. The game is likely to last players around 30-50 hours depending largely on what they do. Mirthwood is open-ended so people can continue to play after finishing its main story, and the development team plans to continue adding updates after its launch. The game is planned to release on PC in early 2024 and is available to wishlist now on Steam. It’s certainly on mine.