At this point in time, you probably do not need another game to play, especially since we have games like Baldur's Gate 3, Diablo 4 and Starfield to keep us occupied for weeks, months and even possibly for a good part of 2024. However, if you are not playing those games for whatever reason but still want a game that will occupy your time very easily, then this week's free game from the Epic Games Store might be just what you are looking for.
Developed by Free Range Games, Spelldrifter is a hybrid of tactical role-playing games and deck-building games. While it might not look like it at first, this game can be just as addictive and time-consuming as the aforementioned titles in the previous paragraph, especially if you are a fan of both the genres it falls into. The game follows the story of a Korghan Twice-Born, a wandering warrior who has just arrived in the city of Starfall, only to witness it fall into chaos. Along the way, he meets other heroes and cooperates with them to free the people and the city from its oppressors.
To achieve their goal, your band of heroes will have to defeat enemies through turn-based tactical combat, where you have to plan out your attacks carefully due to the slight twist Free Range Games has thrown into the mix. Like most tactical RPGs with turn-based combat, each of your heroes has limited movements and actions. Movements are limited by how far a character can move, while actions are measured in the Ticks system. This essentially works like a cooldown system for your hero because the higher the Tick, the longer it will take for them to be able to act again. For example, if an attack takes four ticks, this means your enemies will be able to make four actions before they can attack again. So, it is not all about just using the most powerful card in your hand but carefully judging what is the best move to make.
On top of that, each hero in your party also uses a unique resource for their signature cards, so you will have to literally play your cards right. For example, the Embermage (pyromancer) Renna builds up Focus naturally and the more Focus she has, the more powerful her attacks get. There are cards that will help build up her Focus faster, so if you build her deck around this, she will be able to deal plenty of damage in a short amount of time.
Characters will unlock new cards for their class every time, and certain cards are not exclusive to a specific character, so other characters in the same class will be able to use it. The only slight niggle with the game is the fact that new characters in your party always start at level one, so you will have to grind a little to get them up to speed. Luckily, you can replay previous battles to level them up. Levelling up also unlocks more Artifact slots for characters, which allows them to equip relics that enhance or even change the effects of their cards.
Overall, Spelldrifter is a fun little romp, especially if you enjoy tactical role-playing games but also want a slight twist to the formula. Once you start getting the hang of the mechanics, you will very easily be drawn into its fast and challenging battles.