The Protagonist: EX-1 – Review
Follow Genre: Turn-based strategy, RPG, Action
Developer: 3Mind Games
Publisher: 3Mind Games
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

The Protagonist: EX-1 – Review

Site Score
Good: Lots of mechanics combined, cool melee system, story-led
Bad: Seems a bit grindy and monotonous at times
User Score
(2 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

The Protagonist: EX-1 is a futuristic tactical turn-based combat game where you’ll try to escape from an alien spacecraft with a rag-tag squad of survivors of alien experimentations. As you’ll explore the ship, you’ll slowly regain your memories and learn about both the aliens and the party you are traveling with. The Protagonist: EX-1 combines turn-based battles with RPG elements, puzzles, and crafting, and does this reasonably well. This game has been developed and published by 3Mind Games, and is currently available on PC but is planned to be released on consoles in the future.


The story of this game starts by sketching the setting of a utopian society that gets confronted by alien invaders, as told through narrated scrolling text. You’ll first see the protagonist when she and her squad is getting ready to infiltrate an alien ship. However, something goes horribly wrong!

The game starts with the protagonist, Angel, waking up, with no memory of her squad and how she eventually got onto the alien ship. As she is finding her bearings in a blood-spattered medical-looking room, she suddenly hears a voice through one of the implants she still has left in her body. She is being led by the voice of a man naming himself ‘Pilot’, of whom she has no memory, but who claims he wants to help her. Pilot guides her through the alien ship and helps her find her squad members again, and on the way, you’ll get the opportunity to free other prisoners of the aliens. Together you’ll try to make sense of what happened, attempt to regain Angel’s memories, and try to escape this strange alien structure.

When exploring the ship, you’ll sometimes get the option to make choices, for example, if you want to look for more survivors or if you want to continue as fast as possible through the alien ship to avoid enemies. Choosing an option will let the other characters react to your choice, and act accordingly. This is a nice addition to the game, and makes you feel more in control of the story and the main character.


The graphics in general look sleek and futuristic. The character designs are relatively simple for a current-gen game, but they are adequate and fit the setting. The environments look cool and properly alien, but they also look somewhat empty and kind of repetitive; a bit more variation would have been nice.

The UI is easy enough to work with and is very clear. The futuristic vibe that emanates from it also suits the game perfectly.


The sound effects are fitting and futuristic, and fit the style of the game well. The music is very atmospheric, a bit gloomy, and anticipating, which fits the ‘trapped in an alien ship’ setting.

Most of the conversations are narrated, but some are just text you’ll need to click through. The voice acting is fine. The main character seems a bit emotionless, but that actually fits her character. The first team member you’ll find is full of emotion, and has a Scottish accent which makes his outbursts sound even more silly. These conversations are funny at first, but as the game goes on, the quarreling grows a bit old.


The Protagonist: EX-1 is a turn-based strategy game with RPG elements. Most of the game is story-driven; you’ll explore the alien spaceship while trying to find out what happened to you and your squad, while learning about the new characters you’ll meet and about the aliens who’ve invaded Terra.

When running around the ship, you’ll mostly be in ‘exploration’-mode, where you can run around pretty fast until you encounter an enemy. As soon as an enemy spots you, the game switches to ‘combat’-mode, where you’ll see the typical turn-based combat grid on the floor, on which you can move around for a certain amount of squares and take actions to attack or defend.

As soon as combat starts, you’ll have a certain order of turns for your characters and the enemy characters. Each character has a few action points, with which you’ll be able to move around, attack, heal or shield characters. Additionally, if you are in the melee range of an enemy, you’ll be able to enter melee attack mode.

Melee attack mode is pretty cool and really effective, especially for your main character. You’ll get a few action points specifically for melee attacks, which you can use to select a few melee moves (like kicks and punches), and chain these attacks together to make them more effective. You’ll be able to choose between fast & light hits, which have a greater hit chance, or strong attacks, which do more damage but are more likely to miss. Some sequences will have better results, so it’ll pay off to experiment with the order of these attacks. Executing these attacks will reward you with a cool animation where you’ll see your character take on the metallic aliens with their bare hands!

Next to the melee attack system, you’ll have the typical attacks and abilities available for each character, like shooting with different types of guns, weapons like swords, grenades, and healing skills or shielding skills which can be used on team members standing close by. The protagonist is also able to either take over control of an enemy drone and let it do her bidding, or let the drone explode to do damage in an area around it.

Exploring the ship will present you with a few puzzle challenges; the general mechanic for opening doors, and activating things like bridges, is moving around an ‘energy cube’. These glowing cubes can be moved around by interacting with them, and selecting the target where they’ll need to move. Often you’ll need to move around a few of the cubes in order to open passageways in a certain sequence, allowing you to continue. Sometimes you’ll need to break walls or let one of these cubes explode, which can also be useful to damage enemies. As you progress, the puzzles often require your team to split up, so each member can help to unlock a certain blockade. The puzzles are generally pretty easy to solve, but it’s possible that you’ll move a cube somewhere where you can’t reach it anymore, and then you’ll need to restart from an earlier save game in order to restart the puzzle.

There are several consoles you’ll be able to hack, which can grant you passage through the ship, and sometimes even grant you information about the ship, the aliens, and your team members. These consoles can also reward you with crafting recipes.

When exploring, you’ll gather scrap, which you’ll be able to use to craft all kinds of equipment for you and your team. As you navigate the alien ship, you’ll come across many recipes to build weapons, armor, usable items like grenades, and implants. Recipes can also be gained by analyzing items, destroying them in the process. Crafting is a skill that you can level up, so it’s useful to craft often in order to be able to craft stronger items when you find the recipes. It’s cool to be able to craft your own equipment, but leveling the crafting skill feels a bit grindy at times.

Your characters all have certain skills they excel in, and you’ll be able to specialize them in either of these skills. Skills include melee or ranged combat, different weapon specializations, crafting, hacking, or healing. You’ll be able to customize each character to a great extent and build a well-rounded team when investing in fitting skills and abilities for each character.


The Protagonist: EX-1 is an interesting turn-based strategy game, with a lot of different mechanics that work nicely together. It does feel a bit grindy and repetitive at times, and the visuals could be improved to make the game look more interesting and bring some diversity into the environment. Overall, the game is interesting and enjoyable, but could use some more polish.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
The Protagonist: EX-1 - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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