I am on a first-name basis with the coven of incoming witch games and thank goodness witchcrafting and cottage-building game Reka only has a first name, because I’m adding it to my Steam Witchlist too. German studio Emberstorm Entertainment has been posting short clips of its debut project on Twitter and I was immediately enthralled by its slightly spooky 19th century rural Europe.
The early snippets of Reka that the studio has shared include crafting potions in your home, covering your cottage with witchy clutter like books and herbs and cats, and assisting locals with magical rituals.
“We based the world of Reka on the slavic mythology, especially that of the Slavs of eastern Germany,” Emberstorm’s Tobias Hermann explains. Reka’s countryside is covered with explorable fields and forests in autumnal colors, sprinkled with small villages and wildlife—the fantastical not-too-distant past of Emberstorm’s home in Berlin.
“We have also implemented a lot of the slavic witchcrafting lore. The combined result of the two is that you, as the player character, are the apprentice of Baba Jaga and you inherited her chicken-legged house to travel the world and work as a wayfaring witch, fulfilling contracts to aid or curse people and mythological creatures.”
Emberstorm did not handwave the chicken-legged house, I feel it is important to notice. Those are huge legs. And yes, your creepy cottage does travel with you.
You had many great guesses! 😊This chicken legged hut is your very own home, and you’ll get to build it the way you want it! 🐓🏠#gamedev #witch #indiedev pic.twitter.com/pV8KqbEIyXAugust 11, 2022
So you’ve inherited a little piece of property, which you’re in charge of decorating while collecting crafting ingredients and assisting your neighbours. Is this another town life sim? Not really. Nor is it a survival game like Valheim. Hermann says that Reka’s cottage building system is all about aesthetics (a home covered with cats is indeed an aesthetic) and that there are no combat or survival elements in Reka.
Instead, you’ll use crafting stations in your home to prepare balms and ointments, pacify ghosts with rituals, and help the spirits of animals who’ve died in the woods to pass on. For your troubles, you’ll get more decor, of course. Sometimes you’ll find these goodies in chests hidden around out in the woods too. In its most recent clip (opens in new tab), Reka’s snappable building system looks pretty permissive with placing pieces like rooves and windows and all.
I am not a certified modern witch chick myself. But as the woman who plays The Sims only by building and who stayed home in Valheim to work on constructing a small village and had to be dragged out to fight each boss, the cozy crafting and decorating goals are speaking to me. I’m psyched for the likes of Potionomics (opens in new tab) and have happily sunk several hours into early access Potion Craft (opens in new tab). But the truth is that I don’t want to be a capitalism-compliant Boss Witch entrepreneur. I just want to be a creepy lady in the woods hanging skulls on my walls and scolding ghosts and such.
Emberstorm isn’t ready to reveal its release plans—the “when?” and “what?” of demos and early access and all those questions. In the meantime, me and all the other witch game girlies will have to keep one eye on its Steam page (opens in new tab) and another on Reka’s Twitter account (opens in new tab) for more witch aesthetics this autumn.