When I first heard about Tyrant’s Blessing it was being heavily compared to tactical turn-based strategy game Into the Breach. Well, that was all it took to get my attention, because I absolutely loved my time with Into the Breach, and wanted a chance to have more tight, tactical battles with a fantasy setting instead of Into the Breach’s sci-fi robot stomping. And while certainly understood the comparison while playing, I just couldn’t get into Tyrant’s Blessing in the same way.
Tyrant’s Blessing is a tactical role-playing turn-based strategy game with roguelike elements. You take control of the last living warriors battling against the Tyrant who turned most of the population of Tyberia into a home for the undead. It’s up to your plucky band of chibi-like characters to fight the undead across battlefields full of hazards, and win Tyberia back from the armies of the undead.
While Tyrant’s Blessing is a turn-based strategy/small unit tactics game, it’s more of a puzzle game than a tactics game—in much the same way Into the Breach is. With both games, you have a small grid on which to do turn-based battle. Each battle area contains a number of enemies and usually terrain features and hazards. You can use these to your advantage by pushing/pulling enemies into them, etc. Or they are obstacles to avoid, since each of your fighters can usually only take a few hits before death—especially towards the beginning of a run. And if one of your fighters die, your run ends and you start from the beginning.
While Into the Breach took this small battle area gameplay and honed it to a razor point, Tyrant’s Blessing seems like it struggles with balance. Tyrant’s Blessing has a strange (and annoying) mechanic where when enemies die, they will come back to life. This means that you can’t always plan appropriately for the next move, because as far as I can tell, there’s no way to know when your enemy will resurrect.
Another major setback to my fun with Tyrant’s Blessing is how turns work. Often after performing a move your character leaves behind a “ghost” that represents where the character was/is when the enemy makes their move. It’s a way to put the pressure on your character unless they manage to push/pull the enemy, shield your character, or defeat it before their blow lands. It does add some tactical consideration, but feels more like a punishment for not having a perfect turn than something that makes the game feel more tactically deep.
I’m also not a fan of the way Tyrant’s Blessing handles parties. I couldn’t find a way to switch members in and out of my party between missions, instead, I only had the option to swap them out as my party members got tired and wanted a break from the fight. You have the option to spend currency to keep them in your party—but no way to switch your party up on the fly. Which is too bad, because there are a huge selection of characters to unlock, and it would be fun to mix and match them at will for faster experimentation.
Tyrant’s Blessing isn’t a bad game, it just isn’t a very fun game. It has so many good things going for it, but it also suffers from some poor design decisions. If there is a choice between spending your time playing Tyrant’s Blessing or Into the Breach, there really is just no contest.
A Steam key was provided to us for this review