There are plenty of games to look forward to in 2021 – Monster Hunter is returning to Nintendo, It Takes Two features bizarre co-op, and Outriders will hopefully not suck. But the sleeper hit of the year could be an update to an Early Access title. Baldur’s Gate 3 already has a wonderful foundation seeped in D&D lore and fun strategic combat. Once it irons out the bugs and puts out more content, it’ll be a real contender. Until then, might I interest you in another D&D-style tactical RPG?
Solasta: Crown of the Magister is an Early Access RPG set in a medieval fantasy realm. It has you create four characters using some of the classic D&D classes and guide them through dungeon crawls and grid-based combat. But while its foundation is very similar to that of Baldur’s Gate 3, the outcome is different enough to make it a new experience. For one, Solasta doesn’t have the D&D license. That gave developer Tactical Adventures the freedom to homebrew some fun new subclasses, and fix the ranger. Players also get to contribute, with Tactical Adventures letting users create and vote on new magic items.
Where Solasta really shines is its combat. Those familiar with Baldur’s Gate 3 or D&D as a tabletop game will find recognizable mechanics like initiative, advantage, and yes, shoving. But Tactical Adventures really wanted to focus on the things video games can do that tabletops struggle with. That comes out in two forms in Solasta: lighting and verticality. Darkvision and the Light cantrip actually matter in Solasta – whereas D&D DMs often lose track of who can see what, Solasta’s monsters know to stay beyond the comfort of torchlight. Solasta’s maps also feature plenty of staggered high points from which archers and spellcasters can rain death.
Now is the perfect time to give Solasta a shot, as Tactical Adventures just released its Spring Update. This adds the quests and character options you’d expect from an Early Access update, along with one big feature that should create plenty of replayability: a Dungeon Maker. D&D Dungeon Masters will certainly appreciate this tool, but all players should be excited. If the community is active, the Dungeon Maker is about to give Solasta hours upon hours of new content.
Baldur’s Gate 3 will only get better, but who knows how long it’ll be until the next big update? In the meantime, you should give an indie title a shot. Solasta: Crown of the Magister has the bugs and awkward animations you’d expect of an Early Access title. It doesn’t beat Baldur’s Gate 3 when it comes to story. But it does offer pure, strategic grid-based combat. And the Dungeon Maker promises to set it apart from its officially-licensed competitor. Grab it now while it’s 20% off, and you might just discover your new favorite D&D-style Early Access RPG.
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Sergio is the Lead News Editor for TheGamer. But usually he asks people to call him “Serg” because he wants to sound cool like the guy from System of a Down. He began as a convention reporter for FLiP Magazine and Albany Radio’s The Shaw Report to get free badges to Comic-Con. Eventually he realized he liked talking to game developers and discovering weird new indie games. Now he brings that love of weird games to TheGamer, where he tries to talk about them in clickable ways so you grow to love them too. When he’s not stressing over how to do that, he’s a DM, Cleric of Bahamut, cosplay boyfriend, and occasional actor.
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