Watcher Chronicles is a game costing £3.99, but with a decent free trial. I delved into the souls-like game to acquire a taste for how this particular Dark Souls inspired game operates. Below is a list for everything you need to know before battling with beasts and tussling with skeletons. Oh, and you can trust me. I’m a Dark Souls 3 veteran.
Fancy yourself a go at the gauntlet? You can get the game here.
Get a knack for the controls
First things first, when tackling any souls-like, is getting to know your controls. Watcher Chronicles has very simple yet surprisingly dynamic controls, allowing you to jump-dash, dodge, block, and drop levels. When you first arrive into the game and have gotten past the tutorial signposts, take a minute to play around with all your newly learned manoeuvres. In doing so, you train your muscle memory to hit the right buttons when in a panic, potentially saving your life. Nothing is worse than dying because you tapped the wrong button, or missed the right one. Nothing.
Combat, and how not to bottle it
In all souls-like games, combat is an inevitability. And this one is no different. Off-the-bat, you are met with a catacomb of skeletons, spread out in little groups. You may cast them aside as easy prey, assuming the developper pulled some punches for your first encounter. However, in a souls-like, there is no such thing as pulling punches. To be fair, the skeletons are meagre in strength, but you, my friend, are meagre in health. If they land enough hits, which turns out to be about four, you will die. And as is convention, all of your umbra (currency gained from felling enemies) will be lost upon death, and will be permanently deleted if you die before you retrieve it (typical).
To avoid any rage, test the waters with each new enemy you encounter. Experiment with your secondary weapon, which is a bow with infinite arrows (you pay in energy and stamina, two bars to keep an eye on!). So flirt with death but play hard to get, as you do not want to be suffering any avoidable damage, it could prove the difference between reaching your next life-restoring checkpoint and dying.
Combat in this game isn’t groundbreaking, but it isn’t boring. The skeletons will lunge at you, so be careful! Keep your guard up, also, as any perfectly timed bock will restore you some stamina, perfect for a counter-attack.
Practice makes better practice
Not a huge point, but one foundational teaching for any newcomers to the souls-like genre. Practice. Go back to easier levels or enemies to destroy them time and time again. Not only does this sharpen your skill, but also gains you more umbra, so you level up your character and buy better gear. This technique is called grinding. It is significant to remember, but don’t worry about grinding until you meet some heavy resistance, or feel the need to hone your skills.
This is also a great way to experiment with new weapons and armour without risk, to find your perfect loadout.
Beating the Boss
So, you’ve carved your way through the halls, the platforms. Probably died a few times. Maybe cried a little. But the inevitable approaches. The boss. As is custom, your first boss will appear out of nowhere and humble you, just after obliterating your being. The boss in Watcher Chronicles is not too challenging, but only if you’re careful. Being a 2D side-scroller, the devs couldn’t make your first boss too crazy, but it sure packs a punch.
My general advice for any boss in any game would be to keep your distance. But in this game, and with the first boss, at least, there is reward in skirting close enough to land a hit. But there is also risk. Decked out with devastating swings, short and mid range, you’d best keep your finger primed to dodge you out of harm’s way. My technique was to dash to the other side of the screen, pop 2-3 arrows, before letting my stamina recuperate to secure my escape from the impending attack. The boss will charge at you, so don’t be greedy and chance a few extra shots, it’s not worth it.
After dodging, I found myself on the other side of the behemoth, so I managed a quick stab before dodging yet again in the other direction. You can bait the boss as if a matador, letting it get close, only to dodge behind it to score a couple hits.
So whether you prefer to litter it in arrows or get up close and personal, both techniques will suffice, as long as you are quick on the dodge. Hopefully you trained your quick finger by now, anyway.
Eventually, you will reach sanctuary, where you will find merchants and plot points, and can finally catch a breather. In such places, throughout the game, it is imperative to talk to everyone. You never know who’s selling what, or what advice or pointers you’ll receive simply from being a little social.
Primarily, though, you will find new gear, weapons and items, as well as a way to level up your character. Speaking from experience, you have to be careful in choosing what you invest your umbra into. Sure, there is an infinite supply of the stuff down the road into the pit of skeletons. But do you want to spend hours getting it all? No, I didn’t think so. After browsing everything there is, decide what is most important to you, a better weapon, perhaps? Stronger armour? Or maybe an enhanced ability? This will ultimately depend on your playstyle, personal strengths and weaknesses.
I would still advice that you level up at least one attribute, you can have all the weapons in the world but if your character is not prepared, you will find yourself falling short of victory every. Single. Time. So up your health, or your strength, to keep your character rolling. Then you are free to frolic the fields of unfathomable death with a selection of weaponry that suits you.
Watcher Chronicles is a fun game, and quite charming, considering it is a mobile game. Are you a fan of the game and have more strategies that’ll help others out? Drop them into the comments section.
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