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Gotta Hatch 'Em All: Siralim 2

summon, breed, fight

The original Siralim came to Steam late, following an initial release on CleverPhones and tablets. It's a "deep RPG with light roguelike elements that allows you to summon and customize hundreds of creatures to fight in strategic battle", and my brief foray into its randomised dungeons convinced me that it'd be feasible to wander their tile-based corridors for hours. The sequel [official site], which will debut on PC, Mac and Linux in April, could consume a lifetime. Expect endless dungeons, with no level caps of any kind.

It's a big game, then. That's not only evident in those limitless levels, it's also clear in the numbers that prop up the game's core system - monster summoning and breeding. There are over 500 creatures to collect, up from the original's 250, and you can book them some time in the loveshack to produce eggs that contain offspring with traits taken from both parents. The type of creature will also be determined by the species of the parents.

For example, if you breed a Dusk Crusader with a Neralim Seraph, you'll receive a Phase Paladin that inherits attributes from its parents.

Phase Paladins are the Labradoodles of the Siralim world.

You won't need any experience with the first game to play Siralim 2. It's entirely standalone, although the mechanics and creatures do carry over. New features include a pantheon of gods with which to earn favour, randomised spell properties and "some semblance of a story". Given the game's emphasis on exploring an infinite world with a menagerie of infinite potential, story isn't the priority, but there will be "unique boss fights" to discover.

I've been planning to spend more time with Siralim - it's the kind of game that requires quite the commitment given that it starts slowly and has a fair few rules to explain - but I'll most likely wait for the sequel to roll around now. The initial launch, in April, will see it land in Early Access but it'll be fully released by summer and that short EA stint is for balancing and bug-squashing. It'll be feature complete as soon as it's available.

The great flaw of monster-capturing/summoning games, for a player like me, is that they offer so many options but require grind to keep every creature at a decent level. Siralim 2 allows a party of six, selected from its collection of 500 beasties. Can I just pick my favourites and stick with them or will I end up shuffling back and forth as I find new favourites, and need to level them before I can explore further? The randomised nature of the world should help, as there won't be any retreading of old ground.

In Siralim 2, you will never see the same dungeon twice. Each dungeon has its own "biome" which determines what it looks like, but the entire layout is randomized. There is a total of 15 biomes for you to explore, including tropical islands, barren deserts, haunted kingdoms, and even outer space! In each dungeon you will be given randomly generated quests to complete in exchange for treasure.

Combat is turn-based, JRPG-style, and the whole thing looks a little like I'd imagine Pokemon or Dragon Warrior Monsters might if they had been mid-nineties PC games. You can learn more on the official website.

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