If you’re looking to time travel with gaming, Islands of Caliph is your flux capacitor equipped DeLorean. Not only does it pay homage to the '80s gaming, Islands of the Caliph is a pleasantly nostalgic cocktail of Elder Scrolls: Arena and Ultima vibes. It's as retro as a dayglow jumpsuit, complemented by an equally banging Steam demo. It's the go-to if you want to step back in time to old-school gaming without actually needing a time machine.
The game manages to encapsulate the iconic vibe of the '80s in every feature – from its CRT-style presentation to its keyboard-only controls (gasp!) Trust me, though, it's way more fun and adventurous than hunting down typos on your grandmother's typewriter. Its design is thoughtful, making it an independently intriguing dungeon-crawler. Its robust Middle Eastern fantasy landscapes, bustling cities, and foot-tapping music are a blast from the past and a tickle to the exploration bone in your body.
Having a combat system that's just the right level of challenging is like trying to find your car keys in a messy room - difficult, but ultimately satisfying. Islands of the Caliph pulls it off wonderfully with a system that hits the right balance, keeping you engrossed without pulling your hair out.
Now, if you’re hesitant because Might & Magic, Questron, and Alternate Reality were before your time, be relieved because so were disco, mullets, and the Macarena, yet we all know and love them, right? The grid-based movement may appear to be a relic from RPG antiquity, but it's more like the comfortable worn-in recliner you love, easy to navigate and remarkably intuitive.
The key takeaway from the Islands of the Caliph demo? It's a lovingly hand-stitched quilt that hybridizes the appeal to newcomers with the vintage charm of '80s systems. You might think keyboard-only controls would be about as fun as a jumping cactus, but this magic carpet ride is surprisingly comfortable and refreshingly different. The cherry atop this sundae? The settings are steeped in Middle Eastern folklore, lending a unique and exotic flavor.
In essence, if your gaming plate craves exploration, resource collection, skill upgrades, and getting lost in a world of multiple endings and pathways, your next course needs to be the free demo of Islands of the Caliph. Close your eyes, and imagine this: it's the '80s. You're rocking some epic hair and a neon windbreaker. The sound of keyboard-based combat fills the air... or just log onto Steam. Much easier. Game on, folks!
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