Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to pick up a new third-person action adventure game without your mind going directly to games that are the root of the genre like those in The Legend of Zelda series. While Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim solicits that exact comparison, it succeeds in not feeling like a “Zelda clone” so much as a love letter to the series.
Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim, was developed and published by Overflow Games and Phoenix Online Publishing, respectively, and was a success on Kickstarter, making $1,448 more than it’s $30,000 goal. In it, you play as the titular character Tyrim, a Viking boy who is a self-proclaimed home-body. He enjoys simple things like building and fixing things, while everyone seems to be pressuring him to take up a life of pillaging like the majority of the adult male Vikings.
The story of Cornerstone starts off when the inhabitants of his island home of Borja, in the world of Nygard, become worried when the adult males fail to come home from their latest journey, and Tyrim decides to step up and go on a quest to find the missing Vikings.
As you lead Tyrim on his quest, you notice many similarities to the Legend of Zelda series, most notably Wind Waker . Cornerstone has a very familiar feel to it, as the art style is very similar to Wind Waker, and your method of travel between the islands and dungeons of the region is on the open seas with your very own boat.
While the fights in Cornerstone aren’t quite at the same level as those in similar games of the genre, they are never frustrating, and the different behaviors of the many enemies you come across are fun to learn. The “flowing and realistic physics” add not only to the battles in the game, but also to the puzzle solving and crafting elements.
Arguably, the coolest feature in Cornerstone is the crafting menu. Instead of finding new weapons or armor, you find blueprints in the dungeons or by finishing side-quests. Throughout your journey, you find materials like wood, rocks or cotton that you can use to craft things from the blueprints you find. The items don’t last forever, but having your weapon or shield break in the middle of a fight definitely adds to the suspense of the battle.
Aside from crafting, you can also repair things in the world like ladders or bridges with the items you find, and the repair action is a little mini-game that, if done correctly, allows you to repair faster and use less materials.
Cornerstone features a great musical score that is complimented by the vast and beautiful world of the game. The many characters and places you can interact with and help along the way have interesting personalities, and the quirky dialogue all help the world feel well thought out and enjoyable to visit.
You can see and feel the passion that was put into making Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim, and it’s success on Kickstarter was well worth it. You can purchase Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim on Steam, GOG and Postudios.com.