I found everything I love—and none of what annoys me—about classic JRPGs in this upcoming game about a heartbroken knight combatting uncanny terrors

Look, I’m aware that the phrase “indie RPG set in early modern Hungary” sounds almost excruciatingly arch and high-falutin’, but for your own sake, don’t touch that dial⁠—Felvidek has the juice. I was already excited for this singular-looking JRPG-style project, but after making my way through its ~45-minute demo, I’m here to say it’s a must-play.

Felvidek centers on Pavol, a grinning, heartbroken buffoon of a knight tasked with investigating the arson of a nearby castle in the Slovak Highlands of the 15th century. Amid violence between Catholics, the proto-Protestant Hussites, and Ottoman Turks, something uncanny and supernatural seems to be unfolding that involves Pavol’s estranged wife.

Felvidek’s characters and writing managed to win me over after less than an hour of play: Pavol has a buddy-cop dynamic with straight-laced monk Matej, while both report to Jozef, a local nobleman who exudes confidence and composure—except for when he’s excitedly badgering your characters to join him for a comical assortment of card and board games. 

The cast is rounded out by an eclectic assortment of soldiers, peasants, and townspeople, all with surreal preoccupations or memorable one-liners that call to mind Earthbound or Undertale’s memorable populations. The English localization is pretty flawless to boot, delivered in a flowery, archaic style of speech that really brought me into the experience.

The art and music are what really drew me to Felvidek though⁠—I’ve expressed before that its isometric medieval environments and realistically proportioned sprites make me think of Baldur’s Gate more than any JRPGs, but Felvidek’s unique color palette and PS1-style pre rendered cutscenes defy easy comparisons. Those deliberately drab visuals and commitment to historical immersion sharply contrast with its soundtrack, a funky, prog rock-adjacent deal by Czech psychedelic band, Marcel Gidote’s Holy Crab. There’s very little quite like Felvidek out there⁠—Hylics and the upcoming Judero are the only things that come to mind.

And I love what Felvidek’s doing with a real classic style of JRPG combat. There’s no experience or leveling to speak of, and thus no filler fights or grinding. Each of the four battles in the demo is a unique, challenging encounter where you can’t win by just spamming basic attacks. Felvidek gets away from the most boring bits of old JRPGs to focus on the fights worth remembering—you’ll always have the tools you need to win at your disposal, it’s just a question of whether you know how to use them.

I’m extremely excited to play the full game, and we don’t have long to wait either: Felvidek is set to release on March 29, and you can check out the demo or wishlist it over on Steam

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(Image credit: Jozef Pavelka)

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(Image credit: Jozef Pavelka)

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(Image credit: Jozef Pavelka)

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(Image credit: Jozef Pavelka)

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(Image credit: Jozef Pavelka)

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(Image credit: Jozef Pavelka)

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