Tyrant’s Blessing is a turn-based strategy roguelite by Mercury Game Studio in which you fight the undead forces of the tyrant to free the kingdom of Tyberia.
At the start of each run, you construct your team out of a lineup of 20 heroes and a further 10 cute pets, which you’ll unlock as you play the game. The combinations feel fun to experiment with, though there are clearly some heroes who are easier to use than others.
Combat begins when you place your three heroes and a pet around the battlefield and continues in a similar fashion to Into the Breach. Each hero can move and attack once per turn, and most attacks push or pull their targets around the battlefield. Controlling movement like this is important for preventing enemies’ telegraphed attacks from hitting your heroes and also to make enemies’ attacks hit one another.
The twist is that, if your heroes begin movement while targeted by an enemy, they’ll leave behind a fragment of their soul — a copy of them that can be damaged even though they’re no longer there. If any hero or pet dies, your run is over.
This makes the enemy manipulation the juicy core puzzle of the game. If you move out of the way of an attack, your soul is still in danger, so you need to protect your soul, kill the enemy, or push the enemy out of the way, and finding ways to combine your heroes’ abilities in just the right way is gripping.
While you avoid this damage, you need to kill the undead warriors and fulfill optional objectives for currency or upgrades. Gold is overly plentiful for how useless it is, while other upgrades are balanced much better. After you finish the battle, you teleport back to your base camp, upgrade your heroes or buy from the merchant, and pick a new spot on the map for a new fight.
The “undo turn” option and Tyberian Guardians, which revive your heroes with one health point instead of giving you a game over, are crucial to reducing potential frustration, and they keep the game feeling fair and give you a chance to recover.
That said, there are a few structural issues. Each successful run took me about two hours on Standard difficulty, and the early levels were so easy that I’d often be at least 20 minutes into a run before it became challenging, which is a waste of time. There are also some poorly explained mechanics that I discovered through trial and error, including how the final boss works, which is unfortunate, but not game-ruining.
The enemies are almost uniformly skeletons and lack visual variety but are distinct enough to function. The art has a consistent, appealing style, although some corners were clearly cut for the sake of the budget, and the art and UI communicate the gameplay well even when they don’t look the most polished.
The story is sparse, mostly featured in conversations between your party members and incidental stories you run into on missions. The majority of both are attempts to be funny that don’t entirely land, but they do a decent job of giving the heroes some personality. There’s nothing wrong with the story, but it’s also unlikely to be what draws you to the game.
Tyrant’s Blessing might not have the staying power to be fun for dozens of hours, and if you’re not a fan of Into the Breach or hate long individual runs, it won’t do anything for you. However, it is a great roguelite that I had a really good time with, and I can recommend it to anyone who likes turn-based strategy roguelites.
Tyrant’s Blessing releases August 8 for PC for $19.99 with a Nintendo Switch release to follow later.
Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for Tyrant’s Blessing.