When a princess is mysteriously slain by a dark beast, a band of criminals must uncover the source of these darkspawn and purify the land.

Daedalic Entertainment is a German software developer that has released a number of point-and-click adventure games. The company is hoping to break out of this mold with an upcoming turn-based strategy title based on The Dark Eye pen-and-paper roleplaying rule set that is much loved in Europe.

As the game opens, you watch your childhood friend and longtime crush, the princess Elenore, get brutally murdered by a large black werewolf. You try to save her, but before you can subdue the beast, it runs off. By the time authorities arrive, Elenore is dead. You’re covered in blood, and no one believes your story about a crazed wolf.

You are quickly carted off to a local prison where you are found guilty for Elenore’s murder. However, the day before you’re set for execution, a gruff dwarf comes to your rescue. This dwarf isn’t interested in helping you out of the kindness of his heart; he’s actually a fellow prisoner and he just needs your help to escape.

As these two vagabonds begin their escape, they run across a couple guards and have to enter battle. The strategy battles in Blackguards play out across hex-filled maps. Players can move across the map and unleash a variety of attacks and magical spells similar to a number of other strategy titles, but what separates Blackguards from most other strategy games is what Daedalic calls, “the interactive element.”

Spread across each map is a series of interactive props that players are able to use to their advantage. You can throw objects like chairs and crates at your opponents, and that is only the beginning of the Blackguard’s interactive strategy elements. On one map we cut a cord and watched a chandelier fall on two guards, killing them instantly. On another we cast a wall spell that trapped a few enemies on one side. Then we released a bunch of prisoners, keeping the guards busy while we made our escape out a back door. You won’t always have to beat every enemy on the field; often some other objectives are worth your focus. Unfortunately, enemies can also make use of the interactive elements. During one mission, we had to rescue a woman from the executioner’s block, and a group of guards knocked over some boxes, blocking our path, making us fail to get to her before the noose killed her.

During each battle you also earn adventure points, which can be spent to upgrade your powers and ability. Some skills increase your hit points or your magic resistance, but other skills allow you to lay traps during battle, heal your friends, or get a glimpse into enemy stats.

After a journey of several hours through Blackguard’s lands, our motley crew finally gets to the place where Elenore’s body is stored. They hope that exhuming her corpse will give them some clues as to who’s behind the mysterious influx of ghastly creatures that now roam the land. Unfortunately, the only thing our heroes find is an empty coffin.

Blackguards still looks a little rough around the edges, but we’re interested to see what really happened to Elenore and explore more of its interactive maps. You can uncover Blackguard’s mysteries yourself when the game releases this November.