Written by Canadian author Bryan Perro and produced by Artifice Studio, Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves is best described as a strategy game with action elements. You begin the game as one of two feuding brothers. One remains in the cabin with your sick sister, while the brother you select to play, is responsible for protecting the homestead from the increasing waves and ferocity of wolves, supernatural and mythical beasties, which appear when night arrives. Your aim is simple – survive the night.
To achieve this, you set traps, fire your musket and swing your trusty axe. As the game progresses, you learn new traps and are able to upgrade your equipment by visiting the nearby town or Indian reservation. This includes blessing your axe and bullets in order that they may be more effective against certain beasts.
The story of this game unfolds during each day that takes place after you’ve survived a night. It’s a simple, but effective tale of omens, superstition, possession, greed and lust. It explores a conflict between good and evil that overtakes a small Canadian town and nearby forest. The voice acting is solid - I loved the Mayor’s confession – plus, I found the tale to be well scripted. I also loved how the story was presented. It’s a 2D affair using striking cartoon characters, beautifully rendered with strong colours and decisive design.
I found the gameplay straightforward. You begin with a map of the area that will be affected during the night by the next attack of supernatural forces. These are shown in waves. You are able to see the starting point of each group of wolves, werewolves etc., and can access details of the route to the building they will attack. This information allows you to plan your defence and place traps in the places where they will be most effective. You also plan how to use bait and scent to lure the beasts, plus traps can be combined to devastating effect. However, some beasts will escape, evade or be only partially damaged by your traps, which is where sharpshooting and your axe come into play. Once a night is set in motion, the game is in third person 3D.
Character development uses an RPG style skill tree. Here you improve your characters performance, the strength of your traps, the ferocity of your axe and length of your bonfires. You can also increase your intimidation, or fear, factor which is surprisingly useful. As stamina plays a major role in how much you can do, being able to intimidate means you gain recovery time. Yes, you can role and manoeuvre away from a beast, but this does deplete your stamina. In addition, if surrounded by a pack of wolves there is only so much manoeuvring you can do. Naturally stamina is an aspect of your character’s performance you can improve, but hard choices have to be made.
Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves drew me in, engaged me, delighted me and was an incredibly satisfying experience. The first three nights are instructional; the ones which follow gradually step the game up a gear, until what appeared to be a straightforward scenario becomes pretty darn complex. You don’t know if your strategy will succeed until you survive the night but, when your chosen brother steps out into the pool of light surrounding the homestead and you find yourself poised, ready to go, with your traps set and your plan for the first wave firmly implanted in your mind, you’ll know the game has entrapped you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro_lZsbLpjM
This game is available on Steam