Judero is one of the most immediately disarming games I’ve played. Take exploration and combat that’s reminiscent of classic The Legend of Zelda, via modern games such as Tunic, Death’s Door, and even Elden Ring. Then mix in the disconcerting horror stylings seen in the likes of Mundaun and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, accentuated by its jerky, hand-crafted stop-motion animation.
The result is Judero, a haunting tale inspired by the folklore of the Scottish Borders, from the development pairing of Talha Kaya and Jack King-Spooner. Stepping into the footsteps of the eponymous Celt warrior, you travel on a journey through this action-adventure game that takes you through all manner of environments as Judero investigates “an evil at work manipulating the unguarded.”
Combat gives you a series of combo strikes, along with ranged projectiles and even a surprisingly stylish spin attack that leaves a miniature tornado in your wake. In addition to this, Judero has the ability to possess certain enemies, using them against other foes in combat or employing their specific talents to solve puzzles.
Larger boss fights pit you against more deadly creatures that make use of all manner of attacks including heavy slams, dashes, summons, and even bullet hell style projectile waves that you’ll have to carefully dodge. In addition to this, you’ll also encounter sequences that take a different approach, such as having you fight a giant bird in a side-scrolling shooter where you can fly around the screen to avoid incoming attacks.
You’ll also meet all manner of characters, with branching dialogue choices helping you make the experience your own. Along with the bespoke, handcrafted figurines used for its stop-motion animation, which are rendered in its 3D world and brought to life with real-time digital lighting and shaders, Judero also features acoustic instrumentation that pays homage to traditional British folk music.
There’s no set release date yet, but if you’re curious to try Judero for yourself you can do so right now courtesy of a free Steam demo. If you’re after something that’s unique, distinctive, and memorable then Judero is well worth checking out.
This story originally appeared on PC Gamesn