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Have you ever wondered what Darkest Dungeon would be like if featured a neo-Victorian circus troupe battling murderous zombies in the streets of steampunk London? That’s a pretty specific addition to the ol’ wishlist, but if that’s what you want then Circus Electrique might be just the thing.
Circus Electrique features elements of story-driven RPG, tactical combat, and, yes, circus management sim. It follows the adventures of a cast of classic circus performers—strongmen, escape artists, clowns, and more—as they struggle to save the city from the ravages of the Maddening, a supernatural upheaval that turned thousands of innocent citizens into vicious murders.
It was first announced in late 2021, but today we’ve got our first in-depth look at actual gameplay, and it does bear a resemblance to Darkest Dungeon: A party of four characters (selected from an eventual total of 15 classes) line up against similarly-arrayed enemies and engage in turn-based combat, exchanging special moves and abilities until one side comes out on top.
Positioning and morale also play a big role in battles, and so does the mental state of your individual fighters: If the morale of any of your characters falls too low, they’ll actually run away from the circus, leaving you to find (and train) a replacement, or try to get by without.
And because the show must go on, well, the show must go on: You’ll also be responsible for planning and executing nightly shows in order to earn money to keep your performers paid and happy. And more than just that: Your ultimate goal is to figure out how the Maddening started, and how to stop it, and that will cost money too.