Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
If you really can’t figure out how a game works, does that automatically make it a bad game? My instinct is to say no, because I’m pretty sure I still don’t understand Tomb of Tyrants – not really – and I can’t stop playing it. Don’t get me wrong, there are things about this game that irritate me to no end, but the challenge of getting better and doing better and developing a better understanding about what exactly it is I’m doing is decidedly compelling.
Here are the basics, as I understand them. On the left hand side of the window (and unless you have a terrible monitor or really really love pixels, you’re going to want to play in a window) there’s a grid of colored squares. You need to slide them around until you match a group of four or more, which will add that type of resource to your resource pool. Each type of resource has a limit on how much you can hold – to increase that limit, you have to complete rituals. This sounds more complex than it is. On either side of the tile board, there will be little Tetris-esque shapes. If you can make a match in that shape, it will increase the storage capacity of that type of resource.
Now that you have some resources, you need to spend them. The primary way to spend resources is to add floors to your dungeon. On the right hand side, you can see a list of floors that you have unlocked and are available to build. Not only do you need the listed resources, you also need to have free space at the top of your match grid, but you can queue floors to be built as soon as there is adequate space and resources. You can also use resources to replace fallen minions. If there are other uses (and who am I kidding, I know there must be), I haven’t figured them out in two hours of playtime.
The other thing I think I get is Prophecies. These will appear randomly at the top of your screen. Completing Prophecies unlocks more game content – floors, minion types, etc. You’ll want to complete these whenever you can, but if you get stuck, a lot of them do carry over from one game to the next, so even if you can’t finish one before the game over screen, you haven’t permanently ruined your chances of getting whatever the unlock is.
There’s a lot happening here for a matching game, and you will fail. You will fail often. You will fail without having any idea why you failed. Eventually, you may realize you failed just because you haven’t unlocked enough stuff yet. It’s a rogue-lite – some of your progress will carry through from one game to the next.
Considering how much I still don’t understand, I am amazed at how addictive I’m finding Tomb of Tyrants. Don’t go into this expecting a grand strategy game from the get-go. I’m perfectly happy matching tiles without really knowing why, and figuring the rest out in bits and bobs. If you’re inclined to read things, like epilogues and tutorial messages, you’re probably going to want to turn on double-rez fonts in the options – I had a really difficult time reading some of the smaller text on the screen before making that change.
Tomb of Tyrants recently received a quite sizeable free update, and the dev is still working to improve the game. For $8, it’s a pretty good deal, but if you pick it up in the next couple of days, it’s currently 60% off. If you’re ok with pixel graphics, and a steep learning curve, it’s a steal at that price.