Valheim meets The Witcher in this gorgeous dark fantasy sandbox game

Valheim proves how wonderfully regional folklore and mythology can provide a setting for a base-building survival sandbox game. As Iron Gate did with its Viking setting, so developer Emberstorm Entertainment looks to do in its new sandbox game Reka with Slavic folklore; more specifically, the tale of the Baba Jaga, the legendary witch of the forests known for her walking hut, who’s often an inspiration for antagonistic figures in games such as The Witcher 3.

In Reka, however, the Baba Jaga isn’t an enemy – she’s your teacher. As the witch’s budding apprentice, you’ll travel around the forests and settlements in your very own walking home. Much like the traditional legend, your house is built atop a giant set of chicken legs, but you can construct and customize it to your own design and needs. You’ll have all the freedom you’d expect from the best sandbox games to adjust it as you see fit, and it’ll serve as a mobile base of operations as you explore the world.

Emberstorm announces that it’s planning to launch Reka in early access, giving the four-person team a chance to get additional feedback on what players would like to see. It adds that the house building is a big focus, and “something we want to make sure isn’t rushed, and we’re hoping early access will help us refine this aspect of the game.”

As you journey across the land, you’ll also be able to tame wildlife to join you on your adventure and concoct all manner of potions – you are an apprentice to Baba Jaga, after all. You’ll also encounter settlements and can accept quests from local villagers, with the choice of whether you want to help or hinder them in their goals as you see fit.

Reka is set to launch via Steam Early Access in the second quarter of 2024. You can add it to your wishlist from the Steam store page if you’re eager to keep track of it. I’m already entranced by its fantastic concept and gorgeous, bleak yet beautiful world, so I can’t wait to see what Emberstorm Entertainment delivers.

The initial early access launch will feature the game’s prologue and opening chapter, which Emberstorm says allows players to “take their first steps as an apprentice witch and begin building, customizing, and decorating their chicken-legged cottage.” I can’t wait. Additional story chapters along with “new areas, quests, recipes, items, and more” should be introduced with each update, and the team says it will “collaborate with an award-winning writer to bring the storyline to life.”

In the meantime, have a browse of the best indie games on PC to make sure you haven’t missed any big ones, or check out more of the best fantasy games that are well worth your time in 2023.

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