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February 12, 2024

Discover the Enchanting World of Nightingale: A Procedurally Generated Fantasy Adventure

Thando Dlamini
Written byThando DlaminiWriter
Researched byHaruki NakamuraResearcher

Introduction

As I hurtle through the air, rapidly approaching the edge of a cliff, I start regretting my decision to use the Trickster card. The Minor Realm card, one of many in Nightingale, seemed suspect, offering to let me “leap to great heights,” but it was too good to be true. A tactical dodge away from an enemy Bound Fae now sees me catapulting toward the sea.

Discover the Enchanting World of Nightingale: A Procedurally Generated Fantasy Adventure

Blending History and Fantasy

When it was announced, Nightingale’s aesthetic caught the attention of many. Its gaslamp fantasy worlds, peculiar creatures, and angular, Victorian-esque characters with wide shoulders and small hips make this co-op PvE adventure stand out among the abundance of survival games we’re seeing right now. While Nightingale certainly looks unique, it’s the sheer depth of the world that makes it stand out most.

An amalgamation of real-world history, literary influences, and an alternative reality crafted by Inflexion Games, Nightingale sees you realmwalking your way through a fantastical world that encompasses fairy tales and folklore we’re familiar with, real-life historical figures, and, somehow, famous names from classic novels. On your journey, you take on quests from the likes of Victor Frankenstein and Nellie Bly and encounter fabled creatures reminiscent of those from childhood storybooks.

The World of Nightingale

Coming from a developer that houses industry veterans from studios like BioWare, this shouldn’t be a huge shock—worldbuilding is their bread and butter. Those who moved from BioWare to Inflexion had covered a wide range of genres: sci-fi with Mass Effect, medieval fantasy with Dragon Age, and even martial arts fantasy with Jade Empire. So, building a game in the “contemporary historical fantasy” space intrigued them.

The result is a beautiful world, though rough around the edges, with plenty of familiar survival elements, like crafting, hunting, and fishing, but also a constant sense that you don’t quite know what’s around the corner.

Procedurally Generated Realms

It’s not just Nightingale’s magical Faes casting spells here—there’s some frankly unfathomable witchcraft behind the scenes, too.

Built on Inflexion’s dedicated server, Nightingale’s “world” is made up of countless procedurally generated Realms. You create these Realms by combining a Biome card with a Major card at a portal site. The Biome card sets the terrain, while the Major card influences which NPCs, points of interest, and other key elements appear in that world. In other words, there’s an abundance of combinations you can put together, with each resulting in a realm not even the devs can predict.

As you progress, you collect and craft more Realm Cards, allowing you to make new combinations. Want to spice things up even more? Use a Minor card at a Transmuter to alter aspects of the realm you’re currently in, in real-time. You could play a card that engulfs the world in endless night but increases your magic potency or one that increases your damage but weighs you down. With these cards, there’s always a catch—as the Trickster taught me.

A Guide in the Realmwalking Rabbit Hole

This might sound overwhelming, but you have a guide who helps ensure you don’t get lost down the realmwalking rabbit hole. Puck, an ominous-looking Fae, sets goals that are particularly helpful early on as you try to get to grips with Nightingale. As you progress, you pick up more quests from NPCs, but you always have the option to sack it all off and go realmwalking at your leisure. Search for Fabled Creatures with friends, build an impressive Estate without placement restrictions, complete Bastille puzzles, or collect Hope Echoes that flesh out the lore of Nightingale itself. There’s an abundance of things to do, and the trouble is deciding what to focus on first.

Early Access and Value

Given Nightingale is only entering early access on Feb. 20, what’s on offer here is very impressive but definitely in need of polishing. Inflexion plans for a full launch nine to 12 months after the early access release, with the initial focus being “a stable launch” and fixing any “urgent issues” before tackling updates, new content, improvements, and gameplay systems.

It may take you aback that Nightingale costs $29.99 in early access, almost the price of a full game, but Flynn emphasizes that offering value at that price point is key for the studio—something he believes not all games do.

From the eight to nine hours I spent with Nightingale, I can safely say it offers plenty for its price tag, even if it needs a bit of work. I barely scratched the surface in my playtime and was constantly lured off the beaten path to take shelter from lethal hailstones, explore hidden caves (with angry bears inside), and search for resources to craft new Gear and build my Estate. Every time I tried to peel myself away, I was bewitched into doing one more task. There’s something magic brewing here, and I can’t wait to see how it pans out.

About the author
Thando Dlamini
Thando Dlamini
About

Thando Dlamini, a vivacious 22-year-old from South Africa, seamlessly blends her love for the vibrant world of online casinos with her meticulous localization skills, making the digital gaming experience truly South African.

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