Review – Tyrant’s Blessing
The tactical RPG is tried and true at this point. Games like Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Triangle Strategy have all made their mark within the genre without making any truly drastic changes. Tyrant’s Blessing looks to make small tweaks to how everything works, and create a challenging and interesting experience. On top of being a tactical RPG, Tyrant’s Blessing is also a rogue-lite, which highly incentives the idea of try and try again to really succeed.
Fire Emblem made its mark by giving the player a grid to move characters around, positioning (in-front, behind, beside) didn’t matter, but an understanding of their weapon triangle did. Final Fantasy Tactics and Triangle Strategy aimed to build on this by adding position advantages. Shooting an arrow from above, or being behind an enemy is better than trying to attack head on. Tyrant’s Blessing takes a slightly more interesting take on all of this, and with the right team, a proper understanding of abilities, and a little bit of luck, it’s possible to get through most, if not all fights undamaged.
At the start of each run the player will pick their team. The team consists of three characters and a pet. At the beginning, you’ll only have access to four characters and one pet, so there’s not a huge amount of variety to pick from. Characters and pets are unlocked with gold stars, which are earned by completing achievements set out by the game. There are simple ones like cancelling opponents’ attacks, or difficult ones like finishing an entire run in twenty battles or less.
Every run you’ll pick battles across branching paths, each of which will have its own set of challenges to earn silver stars and gold that are spent on the merchant. The merchant will sell you items for your characters, and upgrade materials to make attacks stronger, increase health, or increase move distance each turn.
In combat, it feels like a normal tactical RPG at first; you’re given a grid board with enemies on it and you place your team on any acceptable spaces. The way each turn goes is different though, enemies will move first, and telegraph their attacks and intentions. If you move a character that’s being attacked, they’ll leave behind a shadow which if attacked, still takes damage. There are a few ways to work around this, first off is the obvious, just kill the enemy. Your attacks happen immediately, so if you can kill the enemy problem solved. On top of this, environmental effects also happen before their attack, so if you can bring them down to one health, but the ground their on is on fire, they’ll still die before attacking.
The second option is by moving the enemy. Its a weird kind of Matrix style thing where you can move the enemy to a different spot on the grid and cause them to miss. A lot of attacks will either push or pull enemies, so it’s all about positioning to make sure you send them the right way. Last off is with item effects, there are items you can use to simply teleport or dash away, but also items that will let you just get rid of the shadow.
One of your biggest threats in each battle is yourself, friendly fire exists, and it hurts. If a character dies, they don’t actually die. You have a set number of revives, with the ability to get more throughout your run. You’re not the only one though, a battle may only have four enemies, but they will also have revives, so you need to be cautious not to let yourself be surrounded suddenly because three enemies came back to life beside your archer. Worst case, I’m sure he can eat a fireball, right? Can I get a dex check please? Also throughout your journey, other characters you have unlocked will get jealous that they weren’t picked and ask to join you. I still don’t like switching out the team I picked, especially for someone I’ve never used and I’m eight battles into a run.
After you’ve used your revives in battle, likely fighting a boss for the first time and not really knowing how to compete with it, once one teammate goes down, it’s over. There is no trying to hold off and survive with your one tank, every team member must survive. That includes your pet. In the beginning your pet is a dog, but there’s actually a surprising variety of pets available, one of them being a hedgehog, so it’s hard not to class this as a perfect game already, so here’s a negative. The boards/landscapes are a bit boring, there isn’t a huge variety in them save for where some of the water tiles are. The campaign is also pretty similar each time, you’ll come across a lot of the same missions with the same board multiple times.
On the bright side, the game does look really nice. The graphics work to the game’s advantage, each of the characters genuinely look different, and enemies are distinguishable. That last part is key, because the last think you need is thinking someone is gonna shoot you with a bow, and is all of a sudden ready to stab you with a spear. The music as well is nice, it’s nothing crazy by any means, but it’s suitable for the game. The boss encounters feel intimidating, and they are, the first time you fight the fire wizard will be a true test of understanding.
Tyrant’s Blessing is one of the most interesting tactical RPGs in recent times. Everything throughout the game is looking to make this genre more interesting than it’s been before. There are blemishes in the game for sure, a lack of map variety for starters, or the sheer repetition in the mission variety, but they don’t make it any less enjoyable. This is a perfect start to what could be a long lasting series, hopefully with the building blocks in place Tyrant’s Blessing can start to show how to not just make another Fire Emblem clone.
Characters and maps are well detailed. Characters are identifiable, both allied characters and enemies. Maps may not have the most variety, but the maps that are in the game look great.
Tactical RPG games aren’t the most uncommon genre in gaming. Tyrant’s Blessing found away to take a gameplay style people are already familiar with and make it feel unique.
Great soundtrack. From the calming music of your base camp between battles, to the stressful and intense music of a boss battle.
Fun Factor: 9.5
Tyrant’s Blessing is one of the most interesting and inventive tactical RPG games in recent times. It’s not hugely over-the-top and it’s not going to blow minds, but it is going to reinvest interest in the genre that was feeling a bit stale.
Final Verdict: 9.0
Tyrant’s Blessing is available now on PC and Nintendo Switch.
Reviewed on PC.
A copy of Tyrant’s Blessing was provided by the publisher.