Testament: The Order of High Human – Could Have Been Higher

REVIEW – The title Testament: The Order of High Human suggests an ambitious project from a lesser-known development team that attempts to present a unique world, but unfortunately, flaws here and there mar the gaming experience. The subject of our test is a first-person fantasy action-RPG created by the Fairyship team of just 15 people. Based on the review build we received for testing, Fairyship – as the title suggests – wants to “aim higher” with this game, because it certainly looks beautiful and has some exciting things to offer, but unfortunately there is a certain amateurishness in certain areas.



Testament is an action-adventure game combining RPG and Metroidvania elements, set in the fantasy world of Tessara. The story is one of chaos in the realm after the betrayal of your sister Arva. As the immortal King of the High Humans, you must pave the way for survival. On a madcap journey, you’ll traverse the lands of an ancient civilization, clash with fans of a deranged dictator, battle the followers of a bloodthirsty god, and stop impending dangers to reclaim your lost power and more to face Arva, your disloyal sister. As the chosen one of order, will you be the protector of the realm?



Gripping story, somewhat stumbling execution


The story structure works well overall, but I wouldn’t call it particularly original. Testament is a revenge story in which players take control of Aran, the immortal king of the High Humans, who was betrayed by his own brother. This betrayal resulted in Aran’s loss of power and the collapse of Tessara’s empire. Now it is up to Aran to regain his power, defeat his brother and restore the kingdom. Overall, Testament does a good job of presenting such broad narrative elements, but the dialogue and Aran’s narration during the story feels a bit piecemeal.

After we leave the Nature Father’s hut, which for some reason pisses him off, we set out to reclaim our powers, discover what has happened to our kingdom of Tessara, and prevent Aran from bringing destruction to the world – because of course he wants to for some reason.

Aran, a being of the Immortal race who oversees the realm under the control of the superior Seeker race, regains his powers by exploring Seeker temples and solving platform puzzles. While these puzzles become more enjoyable as they grow in complexity, I find they tend to drag on for a long time, which dulls the excitement.

Furthermore, the story-telling of Testament falls short of what is desired due to its “tell, don’t show” style. The most inspiring example is the temple scene in the middle of the announcement, where Aran uses a sphere to activate a pedestal that brings the temple to life. This sequence takes place during a cutscene, yet all the action is described in such detail that it is as if the player is stuck in a puzzle or not following the events. This tiny, seemingly unnecessary moment is repeated over time, to the point where Aran repeatedly goes around the same idea, such as the role of the orb. This game design decision ultimately gives the impression that Testament does not trust either itself or the players to follow events.

While Testament clearly lacks confidence in storytelling, its approach to gameplay suggests this. Testament’s central strategy is to combine elements of different game genres, which works surprisingly well in some ways and badly in others.

One of the things that works great is Testament’s decision to place a heavy emphasis on platforming and parkour elements. Given the game’s visual and mechanical similarities to games like The Elder Scrolls, the introduction of arcade and wall-running mechanics like Dying Light 2 was an unexpected but effective move. It adds an extra layer to puzzle solving and map navigation that is a lot of fun and doesn’t feel forced or cheesy.



The fundamental flaws make the combat challenging


In terms of combat, Aran has three weapons to choose from: his sword, which he can use to dodge attacks, his bow, which also serves as a tool to solve certain puzzles, and his magic. He can also equip temporary abilities, which can be crafted with in-game currency. In my opinion, some of these are a bit too powerful, as some of them make you immune to attacks for 30 seconds, meaning you can finish the fight by just rushing headlong and attacking aggressively.

Unfortunately, it’s also clear that where Testament really falters is in the combat; sword strikes and spells aren’t realistic or exciting enough; there’s no blocking or parrying system; some basic game mechanics are locked behind abilities that can be unlocked later; stealth gameplay is unreliable; and enemy A.I. is inconsistent and, for the most part, dumb.

These problems become apparent on first encounter, as the game only ever gives offensive instructions, not defensive ones. Rather than a blocking or parrying system, the player is limited to just slashing at the enemy, and this sword-slashing is also peppered with extremely sloppy and clunky animation.

As for the attacks, they are either too fast for players to react to, or the red cursor is only visible after the attack is complete. There is no discernible difference in animation or timing between normal attacks and these powerful attacks, making them often impossible to react to. Another problem is that they cannot be interrupted, so all the player can do is dodge the attack, but there is no passive dodge. Instead, players must unlock the dodge ability, and since it is an ability, there is a cooldown on its use, during which we can only hack.

There’s also a problem with the quality of enemy A.I., which is quite unpredictable: it can’t tell if it’s spotted us or not, and often feels like it’s dumb, which is only “made up for” by the lack of defensive mechanics in the combat system, which makes combat cumbersome and muddy. At one point, Aran fell into an open area full of enemies with no obvious way around them. It’s unclear if the developers’ intention was to force the player into an epic fight, but in the end the best option was to simply run like “the madman who broke his chain” until an exit came into view and a cutscene started. In areas where this wasn’t possible, the only effective choice was to find a place where the enemy couldn’t hit Aran and simply defeat them with arrows or ranged magic. Neither option was available in the first boss fight, and the whole encounter was more tedious than epic.

Testament doesn’t exactly excel in enemy variety either. While some of the boss fights were fun, each area has a basic enemy type that you stick to throughout the game, with little variation. This makes the overall gameplay very tedious and boring outside of the boss fights.

As for the graphics, they’re quite pleasant, but let’s just say they’re not so special that they’re as snappy on my Steam Deck as I experienced: around 30 fps is the maximum the game reaches, but there are plenty of times when it drops below that. You can see that the 15-person development team had neither the time nor the capacity to optimize.



This “Testament” has become a bit cheap


To sum up, Testament: The Order of High Human is an ambitious project that introduces players to a unique world. The story starts off interestingly and the game contains strong platforming and parkour elements. However, the game misses a lot of potential due to design flaws and subsequent muddled and amateurish storytelling. The combat mechanics are muddy and clunky, forcing players into solutions that are not realistic or enjoyable. The game could have been breathed more life into if more emphasis had been placed on gameplay and character development, and all development flaws eliminated.



+ An interesting combination of action-RPG and Metroidvania elements
+ Extensive and ambitious story
+ The parkour and platforming elements work well and are fun


– The gameplay is sometimes flawed, the combat system is difficult and not very enjoyable
– Storytelling is often incomplete, with “tell, don’t show” narration
– Other amateur design implementations

Publisher: Fairyship

Developer: Fairyship

Style: Fantasy Action RPG, Metroidvania

Release: July 13, 2023.

Testament: The Order of High Human

Gameplay - 6.2
Graphics - 7.4
Story - 6.4
Music/Audio - 7.2
Ambiance - 6.8



"Testament: The Order of High Human" is a promising game with a broad story and unique gameplay mechanics that have potential, but it fails to fully realize that potential due to flaws and flawed storytelling. The gameplay and combat mechanics need improvement.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines – including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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