The Treehouse Man Review

Plan your weapons and talents for your turn in combat, then jump and dodge your enemies’ attack in The Treehouse Man, a unique blend of turn-based strategy and real-time action with a splash of roguelike!

Format: PC via Steam
First playthrough time: 11 hours

The Treehouse Man. Tutorial combat explaining that weapon customization will be available later

Released Feb 13th, 2019 by Hunchback Studio

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Quick Overview

Major Pros:
  • Unique combination of turn-based and real-time
  • Variety of enemies, weapons, and companions
Major Cons:
  • Build doesn’t matter for the final boss
Minor Pros:
  • Atmosphere
Minor Cons:
  • Players need to be good at dodging
The Treehouse Man. World map showing only the gree area with an uncompleted location highlighted featuring a boss

First area of the forest map

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In-depth Review

The Treehouse Man is a blend of turn-based strategy and real-time action. Players level up to gain new weapons and talents and explore the rivers of the forest for new companions and usable items. Players can have two weapons and one companion on their ship at all times. Two of the same weapon or two different weapons may be used. Companions have both a passive and active ability, but only one may be brought on any mission. At the end of a mission, players can return to camp and swap out any companions or weapons that they have already unlocked.

The Treehouse Man. Avenger talent, grants crits after taking damage

Talent tree

Combat in The Treehouse Man is turn-based with a twist. The player and the enemies alternate taking turns. On the player’s turn, they may fire a weapon, use an item, or activate a companion’s active ability. However, on enemy turn, the enemies will take turns launching projectiles at the player which the player must dodge in real-time. Each enemy has two unique attacks they can use, and getting hit by any single projectile does an equal amount of damage to the player. Low health enemies that are the only ones left may also enrage, using more advanced forms of one of their attacks. Bosses may use advanced forms of attacks from basic enemies in their area or have their own attacks. They may also have additional attack patterns and more complex mechanics.

The Treehouse Man. Falling lines of projectiles with gaps

Dodging falling projectiles

I really enjoyed the diverse enemies. It was cool to see each enemy get its own unique appearance and two or more attacks. Some enemies also had persistent effects, which made dealing with multiple enemies at a time more difficult. The enemies chosen for each mission were a mix of what was available in that area, meaning that restarting a mission got different results. I enjoyed this as the game was largely balanced around often having to repeat failed missions in a roguelike fashion.

The Treehouse Man. Dodging arched projectiles on a red river

Dodging an enemy from a red river

The Treehouse Man has 8 weapons, 8 companions, and almost 20 talent points to use. I enjoyed being able to change my strategy multiple times throughout the game as I unlocked new content or encountered new enemies. However, I was disappointed in the final boss fight when much of the customization I had done was discarded. The final boss fight was also somewhat frustrating for me as I am notoriously bad a jumping and dodging and had to attempt the fight multiple times each time taking about 10 minutes to get back to where I failed.

The Treehouse Man. Cannon deals 5 damage naturally, but has been upgraded to alternate between 5, 6 and 7 damage

An upgraded weapon

I enjoyed taking the extra time to find all of the collectible messages and companions in the game, as well as taking the time to level up and experience almost all the talents and upgrade everything that could be upgraded. I used almost all the weapons and companions at some point and appreciated how different they felt. The companions, in particular, seemed to lend themselves better to different talents, enemies, or weapons.

The Treehouse Man. Dim cave with floating platforms

Occasional side areas offer treasure

I really liked the art and music of The Treehouse Man. It produced a very surreal and engaging atmosphere. The silhouettes of the characters and backgrounds lends itself well to a creepy forest feel without making it difficult to see and thus dodge attacks. I particularly enjoyed the character design of the enemies. They were unique and well associated with their attacks, without being a dead giveaway what was going to happen the first time the player fought a new enemy.

The Treehouse Man. Entering battle with a large swimming spider in a new blue river

Encountering a new enemy in a blue river

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Recommendation

Overall, I really enjoyed The Treehouse Man’s unique gameplay. It was a refreshing mix of the turn-based strategy with the faster-paced real-time dodging. I loved the diverse build components, enemies, and atmosphere. I did struggle a bit with my own reaction time and was somewhat disappointed that many aspects of my build were discarded for the final boss fight. I recommend The Treehouse Man for players looking for a combination of turn-based strategy, real-time action, and a splash of roguelike influence.

What are some of your favorite genre hybrids?
Let me know in the comments below!

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