The Turkey of Christmas Past: Dynasty Warriors Mixed in with Early Dark Souls?
Genre: Action, Hack n Slash
Developer: Dinan Studios
Publisher: Dinan Studios
Release Date: 19 Dec, 2016
The Turkey of Christmas Past has an interesting premise that has not been done before in a personal computer game. The ambiance is very Dark Souls-esque, while the combat reminds me of parry techniques in Risen 2 and Dynasty Warriors. The premise is between two forces, one good, and one evil. The knight in armor, Tom the Cat, is the main protagonist while the turkey Mealagris is the main antagonist. You go through rooms of a castle with doors that are shut on a quest to find all the key masters. After defeating the hardest enemy type, the key masters, new doors in the castle open.
However, there are two main drawbacks to this. The first drawback is there is no mini-map nor in-game map, nothing to collect and no loot. This is a survival-action game with hordes of enemies that appear out of portals with turkeys and other enemies that replicate themselves. The second major drawback is the difficulty spike. Until you make it outside the walls and underground of the castle, the game resets you from the beginning to start from permadeath. However, once you finally make it outside the castle walls, there are two checkpoints in which the game does save your progress.
Gameplay/ Controls and Combat
The gameplay is simple. You enter waves of turkeys that track you down much like zombies along with mage ducks and the key masters. You have the opportunity to refill on ammo at blue and red pillars of stone. Ironically, there is no control scheme layout provided in-game, but by default, E is the action button to refill ammo while the left-mouse is used to parry and strike the sword. Q allows you to heal which is refilled after a certain amount of hitpoints to enemies are dealt. Healing regenerates slowly, so you will want to refill on the stunning trap which releases a trap that looks like dynamite that glows purple, best used when you can escape enemies and in all key masters within it who kneel where you can attack them more efficiently.
R releases this which also sometimes kills nearby enemies. Otherwise, go to the other stone pillar to refill on arrows, the max limit is forty arrows at once, and only twenty of the other can be held at once. You receive currency after sword fighting through the turkeys. Refilling each separate ammo type cost one thousand currency which I do not know how it is measured. Running away from groups of enemies is efficient and parrying, sword fighting works well.
Enemy variety is scarce. The primary threat is not the key masters, but the mages that respawn all enemies. The strategy I used to get to the final boss fight was I took down the key masters in the group without attacking anyone else. Then, after the key master is defeated by stunning them, immediately use your sword once the key master has knelt, then go for any damages if there are any. Finally, go for all the other turkeys since they are the weakest, so the best strategy is to go for the most formidable out of enemies to the least degree of threat. I wish there was more enemy variety. However, the mages make up for the lack of variety.
Presentation (sound, graphics, performance)
The sound reminds me of dark games such as Lords of the Fallen, Dark Souls and more than likely some others out there. The Turkey of Christmas Past includes epic crescendos with a very dark overtone which fits well within the plot and characterization. The graphics are a combination of Dynasty Warriors effects and cinematics with either Dark Souls I or Dark Souls II background and textures in comparison. The parry effect where you can see a sword spark and by the fact that enemies disappear but without a burst of light seems to be, I assume, heavily inspired by Dynasty Warriors.
Performance is smooth; I only had one small area with a random frame drop. Otherwise, beyond these few seconds, it stayed consistent without lag spikes. I thought I felt some lag, but it was only a matter of me getting used to the mouse sensitivity, camera, and controls. The camera used reflects modern-day gaming standards where the camera automatically adjusts throughout the panning of the whole environment.
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