April 21, 2024


The mighty wizard Merlin was first mentioned as early as the 10th century and since then countless stories have been told about him and King Arthur . The first time I came in contact with Merlin was when I was far too young to see the movie Excalibur . The magician has always been a powerful and exciting character, so when a strategy game appeared with his name in the title, I became curious.

Photo: © 2022 - Versus Evil - The Hand of Merlin - Reaction Shoot!
Photo: © 2022 – Versus Evil

The Hand of Merlin is a strategy game that tells the classic story of the magician Merlin, but with a cosmic twist. Recruit up to three companions and go into battle to try to save as many worlds as you can. Look for the truth about yourself, find treasures and develop yourself and your group so you can face all the dangers out there.

Photo: © 2022 - Versus Evil - The Hand of Merlin - Use your powers
Photo: © 2022 – Versus Evil

The Hand of Merlin did not really turn out to be what I thought it would be. When I saw the trailer, I was fully aware that it would be laid out as, for example, classic Fallout , where you move freely over a large map until you meet someone to fight with. THOM is designed so that you see a large map and you choose where you want to go. Once you arrive, a book opens and the meeting is entirely text-based. A random number generator determines what or who you meet. You have different chances (or risks) of experiencing something good or something terrible. You can choose whether you want to fight or flee, but sometimes you have no opportunity at all to influence your choice.

Photo: © 2022 - Versus Evil - The Hand of Merlin - The book.
Photo: © 2022 – Versus Evil

Once you choose to fight, the game turns into a more classic strategy game with an isometric view so you can see your characters clearly. The battles are bloody and well done and at first you meet quite harmless enemies. But the further into the game you get, the bigger and more dangerous your opponents become. The more magic formulas you learn and the better weapons you find, the more fun the gaming experience will be. Just like in other strategy games, you can program your avatars to perform different actions depending on the enemy’s moves during their turn. This grip is more important than ever for many enemies you face will be much more powerful than your team.

You will always find different things that you can upgrade yourself and your team with, but it is important to keep in mind that some enemies need to be neutralized with certain specific forces. It may take a lot of trying to succeed in your mission.

Photo: © 2022 - Versus Evil - The Hand of Merlin - The map.
Photo: © 2022 – Versus Evil

Even though the story itself is text-based, it is still rich and entertaining. As I said, you can explore the world as you wish and the action thus becomes completely non-linear. However, I recommend that you have made yourself and your team as strong as possible before you take on the big enemies.

I tested The Hand of Merlin on Xbox One X and there were no performance issues whatsoever. Charging times are lightning fast and the battles are going well, even though a lot is happening at the same time. The graphics may be a bit simple but the animations are nice and the battles are entertaining.

In summary, The Hand of Merlin is a giant game with lots of upgrade options and exciting encounters. But – since everything except the battles is text-based, it gives the game a slightly cheap impression, which is difficult to shake off. Now this is an independent game that does not have the budget that a AAA game has, so the rating will still be high.

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