GAMES – HappyGamer
Tainted Grail: Conquest joins the ranks of deck building roguelikes, with other newcomers like Griftlands and the ever-popular Slay the Spire. The game developed by Awaken Realms went through a considerable Early Access phase with many changes and optimizations.
Is the finished product worth it? Well, for less than twenty dollars you can’t really fault Tainted Grail. The gameplay is extensive. Nine different classes, a slew of unique stories, and a level of replayability that I feel like I’ve just started to find my way around. Tainted Grail is a bit more than just rogue-like, which is great, but things get a little complicated on the way of Wyrdness.
Check out this fascinating, infinitely repeatable mix of deck building roguelike and RPG ✨
Choose from 9 heroes and develop your character, save NPCs, complete quests and build your village.
Tainted Grail: Conquest -10% | https://t.co/vBjrEDWGtf pic.twitter.com/PdhSu3Ip0U
– GOG.COM (@GOGcom) May 27, 2021
I’m not new to the deck building roguelike genre. I spent a couple hundred hours in Slay the Spire and dived headfirst in Monster Train earlier this year. Tainted Grail is different from these games. A much bigger focus is on the RPG systems. Your character develops over the course of the runs, both within the run and outwardly.
The story is great and the voice acting really works wonders, especially after listening to all of the gibberish in Biomutant recently. You meet characters to reconnect with over and over again, and there are more choices than I’ve experienced in games of this nature, though Griftlands still has to get the maximum points when it comes to narrative.
There are rune stones, passive perks, permanent upgrades … basically a lot to consider. You can even do it without working your way through each of the nine classes, each of which feels different. The Sentinel was the one I enjoyed the most, mostly because the mechanics are different from any I’ve played around with before. You can’t block, you have to create a barrier with maneuver cards, and you can use poison arrows, shadow shots … it’s great fun.
But with all of these options and choices come some downsides to the game – although it may not be fair to precisely call them downs. A lot happens, almost all of the time. It will take a few hours before you know what is on the screen and what it all means. Even if you’re familiar with the genre, Tainted Grail doesn’t go out of the way to streamline anything. It’s a meaty game with lots of numbers and lots to find out.
There are many conflicting systems in Tainted Grail. Slay the Spire is consistently successful because of its essentially very simple gameplay, even if mastering the game is a monumental challenge. The tainted grail throws a lot at the player. Managing perks, cards, your character, and the storyline is just a lot to deal with. This may not be a disadvantage, however, as the game’s initial success has shown that it could become something of a classic of sorts, with a community (and developers) willing to invest the time to master the game’s intricacies.
Several other reviews I’ve read have talked about some of the balancing issues in the game. Yes, sometimes the game seems to throw ridiculous enemies at you (seemingly out of nowhere), but that’s what it’s all about. The difficulty scales quickly between successful runs, and boy, it gets harder a lot faster than I thought. But that goes for Slay the Spire too … and Monster Train … so you get what I’m talking about.
Overall, Tainted Grail was a pleasant surprise. The game is very addicting if you are into the genre. It’s the kind of game I can imagine spending long hours playing through each of the classes until I finally have a rudimentary understanding of how everything is supposed to work.
Oh, and the setting? Kind of a medieval English Lovecraft hellhole? I love it and the music is fantastic too. For the price – and there’s still an introductory discount on steam at the time of writing – this game is a bargain. The developers put a lot of time and love into this game and you can see that.