Testament: The Order of High-Human is a first-person action-adventure game developed by Fairyship Games. First announced in May this year, a demo was released as part of Steam Next Fest, and I took a dive into this action RPG with puzzle elements and was surprised at the quality of the atmosphere and intriguing story. The puzzles increased in complexity, but it was the world around me that I found the most immersive. It reminded me of playing The Last Oricru, and I am definitely looking forward to the full release this month on Steam and the Epic Games Store.
The world of Tessara is a dark and foreboding place. After the betrayal of your brother Arva, madness has descended upon the realm. Playing as the immortal king of High Humans, you must thread a path of survival for the realm. As our journey commences, we must face deranged followers of a mad dictator, fighting against worshippers of a blood god and dangers to come, you must reclaim your lost power and much more to confront your brother Arva.
We initially explore beyond the starting fort, learning to sprint, crouch and vault over obstacles in search of a weapon. Coming across a downed foe, we grab a basic sword and learn how to swing with timing to take down simple enemies. We can also crouch and sneak up to enemies, performing a killing blow behind them. Starting with a one-handed sword, we later come across a bow and once we get to some puzzle areas, we unlock magic spells that can buff or heal ourselves as well as offensive spells.
Our character can specialise in one or all three of these combat disciplines in the detailed skill point talent tree. The world of Tessara has many elemental forms of power from lifeforce and light, to fire, gravity and void elements which correspond to elemental spells. Some spells are buffs and shields while others will burn or push back enemies. Enemies will also have weaknesses or resistances against them so you will need to utilise tactics along the way.
Swinging with our sword isn’t just about hacking and slashing, hoping for the best. If you time your swings right, not only will you perform combos, but you can also interrupt an enemy’s oncoming attack. Some attacks cannot be interrupted, so a quick dodge with the alt key will get you out of harm’s way. If you see a red flash from the enemy, that is them using their special attack and if you are hit by this, you will be interrupted yourself. While there isn’t a visual stamina bar, it feels like you do suffer stamina loss with your swings and dodges.
Enemy strength is indicated by a coloured icon above their heads, with green being your level and purple being far too difficult. I took on a purple enemy and got smashed to death in one hit. When you die you will respawn at the last checkpoint. There are no visual checkpoint locations but there are some fast travel stones around. Downed enemies will sometimes drop loot in the form of green life essence crystals that will heal you, blue spirit force crystals that replenish mana or shards of creation which are used to craft items in the consumables wheel.
After some combat scenarios and a run-in with our brother Arva, we come across a section that involves platforming and puzzle-solving mechanics. Puzzles are in the form of light puzzles where you need to manipulate mirrors on a board to bend the light towards a gem. There are also other orb structures that once activated, will raise, lower, or move platforms that you need to jump to and from. These platform areas slowly increased in complexity and were fun to work out and solve, enabling us to find a better weapon and unlock spells to use in combat.
The best part of the demo for me was exploring the lands of Tessara. The moody atmosphere really helped to set the tone of the game and while the explorable areas were linear, I enjoyed exploring through the forest and forts with mist and rain/thunderstorms around me. The sound design was also very good from what I played, and the voice acting was excellent. The experience reminded me of playing The Last Oricru.
Overall, the demo for Testament: The Order of High-Human was enjoyable with a good mix of combat, puzzle solving and platforming sections. This demo shows the game has a lot of potential to be a great first-person action RPG. I am looking forward to playing through the full game ahead of its release on July 13, 2023, on Steam and the Epic Games Store. The game is in development for consoles, but no date has been set yet.