Age of Fear: The Free World is a completely FREE strategy role-playing game. The game allows players to try out the combat and advancement systems of the series without the traditional campaign. Players take control of a small army and field around eight units at a time for random encounters.
Release Date: January 18th, 2019
Developer: Leslaw Sliwko
Publisher: Age of Fear
Format: PC Game
First playthrough time: 7 hours
- Variety of maps and creature types
- That old school tabletop feel
- Random mini adventures
- Completely Free!
- Filling out the bestiary
- Unique item effects
- Tutorial is somewhat lacking
- Text can be hard to read
- Evolution system is hidden
- Without the typical story element, combat often felt repetitive
Age of Fear: The Free World focuses on the combat and advancement components of the series. Players choose on the world map to visit combat, shopping, or mini story locations. In combat the maps have a great variety with things like ice effects in snowy areas, darkness in caves, and angry bees in the forest. There’s a large variety of creatures across both playable and NPC factions, many of which can be taken over if the player fields appropriate units. There’s also a bestiary which fills up based on what the player has encountered.
Age of Fear: The Free World maintains that old school tabletop feel which I love. It has the top down view of the board with dice rolls and measuring out character movement. While this version of the game is more to see if players will like the game’s mechanics (and thus doesn’t have a campaign or story), it did have mini adventures that would pop up randomly with unique combat setups. I greatly enjoyed these as well as growing a diverse army to meet such challenges.
One of the things I felt the game lacked was a real tutorial. At the start it gives an introduction to the basic flow of play outside combat. In the menu there’s also a lengthy read on combat interactions, which are pretty basic if players are used to traditional tabletop role-playing games. However I strongly recommend the free strategy guide to really get to know the game, mostly for the description of the units and unlock requirements. The skill tree is essentially hidden from the player in game and players that aren’t familiar with typical tabletop rules may find the in game numbers and user interface confusing.
One of the things I enjoyed in Age of Fear: The Free World over other role-playing games was that every item had unique effects instead of just basic stats. Items are only equipped on the hero leading the army (although consumables can go on anyone) and it allows players to create a unique build for their most powerful character. This meant the same hero could play differently depending on how they were equipped. This provided more depth beyond the three factions and their three heroes.
There were three pieces of polish I would have liked to see in Age of Fear: The Free World. First I found a lot of the text hard to read because it wasn’t on a solid background. This was a problem both for the action log and for item and character descriptions. Second I’d have liked to have higher resolutions for the game. A max size of 1600×1200 is a little too old school for me. Third (and this one is probably a factor of the sandbox nature of the game) I felt that after about 5 hours of playing the same army the combat felt repetitive. I think it’s because that was the point where I stopped unlocking new advancements for my units, mostly because I wasn’t fighting against the last things I needed to unlock.
Overall I found Age of Fear: The Free World to be an engaging strategy role-playing game. Offering this as a free introduction to the series really gives players a good look at the combat and advancement systems. The graphics and mechanics are aimed at old school players and I definitely felt like it hit that itch. I loved the variety of maps, creatures, and items as well as the special mini adventures. I would recommend Age of Fear: The Free World to players looking for that deep old school tabletop feel in digital form, especially if they’re interested in checking out the rest of the series.