Quinterra Early Access Preview

Quinterra is a gorgeous, roguelite strategy game set in an original fantasy world. Unfortunately, it is marred by confusing and unbalanced combat.

Indie developer Sidreal Studio’s first title, fantasy army-building tactical RPG Quinterra, has entered Early Access this month. Quinterra is a roguelite turn-based strategy game that incorporates some minor deckbuilding elements. Players take the role as army leader of a fantasy race and build and customize their army on the way to conquest. Much of the game is dominated by the turn-based combat, during which drafting and placing Elites and Minions on hexagonal tiles is needed to fight a series of enemies.

At the start of a new Expedition, players choose between four races from which to build their army: Lycans, Imps, Crystalians, and Ethereals. More races are expected to be added over time. Each race has access to a different map, which contains different areas to explore. In most areas, there will be a few Combat scenarios, a Marketplace where the leader can buy useful equipment, and a Bonus Location for recruitment. Maps, enemies, and rewards in each location are procedurally generated to make the experience feel unique every time.

Related: A Long Way Down Switch Review: A Solid Deckbuilding Roguelite

The design and atmosphere of Quinterra are stunning, with colors and environments that look fantastic. Depending on the race and world the player chooses, the atmosphere reflects their strengths and their weaknesses, adding to the immersion. The fantasy concept itself is a breath of fresh air from the stereotypical Tolkien-inspired realms, and each race has a unique story and design. There is an air of familiarity to the creatures, but with just enough of a unique spin to make them feel original and fresh.

Combat on Tiles in Quinterra

Quinterra could not be described as a story-based game by any metric. However, there is lore included about each race and their purposes, and this information is often revealed to players in short bursts at different locations or ahead of different fights. Though it is not the main focus, there is an underlying story, should someone want to find it.

At its core, however, it’s all about the gameplay. Quinterra is a fantasy army-building RPG, and it is clear a great deal of time and care went into the combat mechanics. However, despite this, it is not entirely clear how combat works in Quinterra. There is an optional tutorial that attempts to demonstrate the unit drafting process, basic fighting, the elements system, and the importance of Mana and Crystals, but even after completing this tutorial several times, the rules still feel somewhat mystifying. For example, it’s not clear how to use an Elite’s special abilities, or even if these can be used at all in Early Access. As Quinterra develops, it is likely the rules, the Tutorial, and the use of abilities will all be clarified.

Exploring the domain of the Crystalians in Quinterra

The other most glaring issue with Quinterra’s combat is how unbalanced it feels. Possibly because the flow of combat is unclear, and possibly because enemies are procedurally generated, there are times when units do not have the strength to take on the enemy. Their attacks will glance off an enemy Elite or Minion without doing any damage, and the enemy’s attack will one-shot them easily. Certain enemies have self-healing abilities that are difficult, if not impossible, to overcome as new Minions populate the tiles. This issue is not isolated to one race, either. The Lycans inevitably run into self-healing spiders, while the Imps hit two consecutive combat scenarios where their Minions are entirely useless against the enemy: Minotaurs and Golems. These often frustrating balancing issues will need to be addressed early in the game’s Early Access phase, as they can easily break immersion and discourage players from continuing.

Related: Trials of Fire Review: More Deckbuilding Excellence

Quinterra is only just entering Early Access and will develop further, but what is already available has potential to wow fans of roguelite, turn-based strategy games. Quinterra blends traditional strategy and deckbuilding with a gorgeous world and original fantasy concept to build a wholly unique experience. In its current state, however, it is difficult to follow and enjoy for long due to multiple combat issues. Fans who are already interested in the concept and genre will find much to love from launch. However, those still on the fence may be better off waiting a little while until Quinterra undergoes a few more updates before deciding to sink money into it. As it develops, however, this will be a title to keep an eye on.

Next: Black Legend Review: Dark Souls Aesthetic Meets Turn-Based Strategy

Quinterra is in Steam Early Access and is available for PC. A code was provided to Screen Rant for the purpose of this preview.

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