Solasta: Crown Of The Magister understands something fundamentally important about this medium of ours. Games can be so many things, but sometimes I just want to bash goblins with an axe. While I've become a bit fussier with my tastes in my mid-twenties, I'll always have a soft spot for the time I spent building daft wee Neverwinter Nights 2 adventure modules over an easter break. Will Solasta become a genre classic? I don't think it needs to, so long as the dungeon-delving hits the sweet spot.
Pick up your +1 Shortsword and don that leather cuirass - Solasta has surfaced a free demo on Steam, and I'm not diving into this dungeon along.
Solasta is self-admittedly a tabletop roleplaying game through and through. The new demo lands you with a party of absolutely straight-played RPG stereotypes - the mercenary rogue, the bullish warrior - and asks you to crawl through dungeons full of goblins and ghouls. It's Dungeons and Dragons in all but name, asking you to position your band along grid-based maps, with most of all combat and environmental interactions decided with the roll of a dice.
Fortunately, this dungeon isn't an A3 sheet of paper on the living room table. Solasta's demo dungeon is a sprawl of mazes, mines and precarious ledges. Structures can collapse, and getting the drop from above can be as vital as rolling a natural 20. Light levels are a key concern, too. Just because you can't see a foe doesn't mean they can't see you back through low-light vision.
Okay, I'll admit. The voice acting is hokey, characters flat as the paper character sheet they were written on, and I'd never reckoned a digital actor could overact like that. It's quite a generic package, but it's all so gosh-dang earnest, isn't it? Like watching a group of dorky pals dressed up to LARP in the nearby woods. No, I'm not here for the story, but I'm glad you're all having an absolute blast with it.
Solasta: Crown Of The Magister will be delve into the murky depths of Steam "when it's ready". For now, you can find the demo there. Developers Tactical Adventures are currently neck-deep in Kickstarting the thing, and are constantly holding polls to see what the team should toss into the cauldron next.