Horizon's Gate: Anyone played?

A recent Gamers with Jobs podcast discussed the game (pretty positive, if I recall correctly). Around the 24 minute mark.

EDIT: In listening back now, the guy is raving about the game. Real tempted.

On normal difficulty I’d say Horizon’s is a bit easier than the previous game Alvora. You won’t have to ever grind to progress.
There are a bunch of quite challenging optional battles in handmade dungeons and dojos. A lot of the open world stuff is on the easier side though.

A big part of the game is finding class combinations that are effective (and fun) between the three dozen classes.
Combat itself has a lot of moving parts. Positioning is important for a lot of skills both offensively and defensively. It doesn’t have height levels but with the different applications of various skills I’d say it’s comparable in complexity to FF Tactics in the good fights.

I finally was able to pick this up on the current sale and started playing. I’m enjoying it but I’m trying to figure some stuff out.

Does anyone that’s played the game know what goes in the 3 empty boxes below the Warrior/Sailor primary/secondary classes in the upper left of the screenshot below? I’ve tried dragging and dropping abilities there but that’s not it. Google has revealed nothing.

You already are in the right tab. Those three slots are for passives.
Once you learn a passive of a class that character can equip it even if you don’t have that class active any more (unlike active skills).

I really like this and feel this is a sadly overlooked game (in good part because of the graphics I assume). Just for that here is my recommendation I also posted in the indie thread:

Horizon’s Gate

tactical RPG, exploration open world
intentionally and successfully minimalistic

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Horizon’s Gate is the third turn-based tactical RPG from the developer. Like the previous games it is intentionally minimalistic in many ways but also features noteworthy twists and additions.
In Horizon’s Gate’s case that includes an open “Age of Sail” world which you explore, trade, earn faction favour and fight in. In addition to party based combat you also manage, upgrade and fight ship and fleet battles in a similar RPG fashion.

Graphically it might look so simple as to be repulsive. I must admit that the series had a “yuck, RPG-maker stuff?!” reaction from me at first (It’s not actually RPGmaker though :P). That look not only is sufficient but actually serves the scope and intent of the game however. Horizon’s Gate’s very intentional minimalism covers all aspects starting with the RPG mechanics leading into the combat, the exploration, the story and many other things.
In almost all cases it to the benefit of the game. For instance, compared to it’s predecessor in the series the Final Fantasy Tactics inspired job system got notably reduced by almost half the number of skills. Which greatly improved the end result as now there are much fewer basically identical or outright useless skills. This gives the different jobs more distinct a personality and impact.

The combat features tile and shape based skills with lots of effects and interactions. The gear system is as successfully simple yet effective as much the rest of the game. Enemies are distinct both within player-available job system and with special monster classes/abilities.

The game features well done hand crafted locations. Ports have distinct flavour and the hand crafted story and optional dungeons have clear and purposeful design that makes them a joy to explore and complete. A number of randomly populated “points of interest” are belying their name and are much less interesting, basically only being a room with random enemies.

I personally really like the exploration part. You uncover the world map for minor financial gain. Some parts of the map are also pretty empty. But I still find it really satisfying and there are enough ports, hidden dungeons and random fights to keep it interesting with combat as well.

The developer is very actively patching the game, including noteworthy balance reworks, technical upgrades and mechanical additions.
For instance supply ports. Some of the less populated parts of the map still needed options for the player to resupply. Initially those were supply ports, just a building where you could buy basic supplies. In a patch this got upgraded and you can now settle those ports yourself, choosing to build the various functional buildings and decide on flavour like colours and music.

I tried to sell several people on my Steam friends list on this game, with extremely limited success. On the whole this is a well intentioned, well designed and well executed experience after you overcome the initial repulsion. I highly recommend it.

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Thanks! That explains it. I haven’t learned any passives yet so I didn’t try that.

This game is wonderful. I do also wonder why it hasn’t become much more popular. I’ve had it in my wish list waiting and waiting for a good sale and finally figured it wasn’t going to get better than 30% off and pulled the trigger. Maybe that’s the answer. The graphics don’t make it look like a $20 game and for that reason a lot of folks might not pull the trigger on it like they would at $10. It’s a shame.

I just cleared out a mine at my second port of call for 550 gold and this game just seems to have the RPG and great tactical combat elements that I love. Glad I got it.

I played this earlier in the year and sunk a good 45 hours into it, very much at my own pace! A friend highly recommended it and while that SNES-era JRPG visual style doesn’t do much for me, it certainly didn’t cheapen the experience in my eyes.

So this is arguably one of the most open games I’ve enjoyed and like you said, the various systems of the game play into the exploration and combat really nicely (like with cartography and researching). I loved exploring, trading and questing and getting new gear and abilities to try out. The combat was great too particularly with all the elemental interactions.

The big problem for me was managing and tracking my party, their classes, XP and skill points, passives, actives, weapon affinities, gear slots, respective inventories and even the ships and who was on each one. It became paralysing each time characters levelled up or I wanted to adjust my party because trying to see and harness skill and party synergies involved a lot of menu work. The inventory management wasn’t too bad and I appreciated the efforts to streamline all that but all the class stuff really started to drag the momentum down for me. Tenderfoot Tactics felt a lot more manageable in that regard, but it didn’t have the more involving overworld and exploration. I usually rotate party members in tactical games to keep their level/power up and to explore different synergies but my friend thinks that just overburdened me. I dunno. Phoenix Point didn’t drag me down in that regard and that could get pretty heavy.

But I had a great time with Horizon’s Gate despite all that. It’s a game I could see myself coming back to but I think I’d have to simplify my approach. Thankfully it’s so open I could simply go in a different direction at the beginning…

Oh and there are some really cool and considerately designed mods to add areas, ports, dungeons, quests, NPCs, gear etc. One big advantage of the lo-fi visual style! I recommend looking at Prominence’s work.

I read yesterday that your crew that you don’t take on your shore party still get XP so that they also level up and you don’t have to keep rotating them. I’m hoping that’s true.

I was playing last night and looked up and saw it was a quarter to two. I was kind of shocked as I had no idea that much time had gone by. I haven’t done that in a really long time. I guess I should have played another hour. Though it did take me until a quarter to three to get my brain to calm down and finally fall asleep.

This is the hardest bit for me. Stopping at a reasonable hour is one thing, getting my head to stop is another!

So many nights of restless sleep where my brain is still playing the game hours after I’ve gone to bed.

So, I’m hoping to get some advice here from those that have played like @geggis and @Therlun.

  1. For stats, you get one extra hit point for each star you spend. Is it more efficient to spend them on weapon stats or on raising health, at least initially? It seems like extra health might be a big deal and I’m not sure what weapons my crew will be using yet.

  2. If I’m trying to get to a specific class, like warpblade, is it better to stay in the prerequisite classes for a while and get abilities and passives from them first or is it better to save the XP for the class unlocks and just keep moving along to the next class? I’m torn on what to do here.

@geggis, Apparently this was added in version 1.5.4 so you may have played the game before it was added. Might be worth another try.

Version 1.5.4: Minimum XP
To alleviate grinding when raising up green crew, there is now a “Minimum XP” level that increases based on your allies’ XP gains! And the Breaker’s ‘Shatter’ ability has been rebuilt to be much clearer and more consistent.

Ah that’s good to know! I think I started playing after that patch so perhaps I was fretting too much over it.

  1. I prioritised specific weapons depending on what I had in mind for each character then when that got prohibitively expensive started spending spare stars on HP and the like. It all seemed important from what I remember so I don’t think you can go wrong unless you’re spreading yourself thinly and putting stars into stats you aren’t using.

  2. So my understanding is that passives can be applied regardless of primary or secondary class, so they’re always worth considering if you think they’ll pair well with other abilities along the way. I only unlocked actives if I thought they’d help my current party composition out or if it was a class I could imagine reverting to in certain situations. Some actives are just too useful to pass up! I think what you’re weighing up here is where I started to come unstuck because there are a lot of classes, passives and actives to consider–and XP and stars take time to accrue–and several prerequisites to unlock other classes and paths. Not to mention weapon bonuses per class which affect where you spend your stars! I suppose ultimately it depends on whether you want to get to a specific class fast and risk not bunging XP into actives along the way. I have no real answers here as I was torn on all this myself! :D

Thanks, that does help. There’s a lot to consider. One thing’s for sure, this is a power gamer’s paradise. The min/max is strong in this one. Personally, I love it. So many meaningful decisions and ways you can go, not just in class building, but in how to play the game. I think I might start out trying some guild quests and then some trading once I can afford the buy a Cog and more crew. I started with a Pinnacle and a few cannons, just in case I run into a fat neutral merchant as I go.

For stars weapon/magical element stats are definitely the better investment. A couple of levels in health are nice but I wouldn’t bother with skills you know you won’t use just for the 1HP.
Higher levels get much more expensive and XP is plentiful though. Unless you are obsessed with perfection I don’t think you’ll regret spending a couple on the “wrong” skills.

As for classes I do think beelining for the one you want to try out is a good start. After a reasonable foundation and some experience with it start looking at other classes’ actives and passives for things that sound synergistic.

Thanks! I’ve sort of made a small detour for now over to the scout class to get everyone except my sage the first aid skill and medic passive. It’s just too useful early on in the game. I just did a guild quest to kill a monster den full of spiders and without first aid everyone would have died with all the poison flying around.

Last night was interesting. I finished a guild quest and found a researcher in that city. I signed a contract with him then turned over all the info I’d collected on my voyages to date. It was all worth about 4000 gold. So, I went from totally broke to doing just fine in a snap.

On my way back I stopped at the Hello Kitty capital and signed on with the cat faction. I also picked up another guild quest there. I was returning to my starting port when I ran across a pirate fleet. They attacked me with their 5 galleon fleet so I bravely ran away. My pinnacle was a lot faster so it wasn’t hard.

Soon after that I ran into two independent merchant cogs all on their lonesome so I decided to pay them a visit. One promptly ran away but the other one stayed to fight and hit me with their cannon. I boarded them and since it was a 5 to 3 fight in my favor, I soon had captured my very first ship. My pinnacle did take some damage, though. I limped to port with my prize and was able to repair my pinnacle for 100 gold. The cog’s hold had cargo worth a lot more than that and more importantly, I now had lots of extra cargo room in my fleet. I immediately bought a bunch of gold bullion to sell.

I hired another crew member so I’d have a minimum crew for both ships and set off again. I saw my first grove (a kind of dungeon, I guess) along the coast but decided to come back later.

I eventually found a port selling the trade good the guild quest wanted for the quest and bought it. I was also able to sell the bullion and pearls in my cargo there for a goodly profit. More importantly, the town has a repeating dungeon there. Some ruins that I can run once a week. It has 5 levels and each level gets tougher. I decided to give it a try and managed to clear the first 2 levels. I got a push trigger stone, gold, some steel armor, steel and chiton weapons, and an armor crafting kit. I don’t know how to use the trigger stone so I’ll have to figure that out. Today, I need head back to that grove and take it on.

So, I now love this game. It’s like some unholy combo of Sid Meiers Pirates, Merchant Prince and Battle Brothers except with a lot more rpg, skills, classes, equipment. A lot more of everything, really. This game is just brilliant. It’s rapidly moving up my list of all time great games.

Just adding this is Steam Deck verified now as well so you can play it on the pooper. Great game, gonna restart on deck soon.

This game has a really cool ‘rolling horizon’ effect with the earth’s curvature rolling in new parts of the map from the edge of the world as you travel in that direction. It’s a really great effect that I don’t recall seeing in other games. Can anyone think of any other games with something like this?

Hmm Didn’t Uncharted Waters scroll like that? NES/SNES game that was an inspiration for this one?

Yes I loved that effect too! Reminded me of Animal Crossing.