Trials of Fire

Strange there isn't a thread for this yet that I can find, since it seems to take a fair bit of inspiration from Slay the Spire, known GWJ favourite. If you're like me and didn't quite get along with Slay the Spire for any number of reasons, this might appeal more.

This is a party based game for starters, initially you have 3 characters to go a-roaming with, you can sub in 6 other unlockable classes as you progress. I think the aesthetics are superb, the comparison that keeps jumping out to me is Gloomhaven of all things. It also has a similar item system to Card Hunter, where your ability cards are sourced from the items equipped to your character. All in all, it's an odd mix of inspirations and mechanics, but if it sounds appealing, the quite thorough How-To vid the developers released might convince you to give it a try, it worked on me.

Have really been enjoying this. It scratches the Slay the Spire / Monster Train deck building itch, while throwing in some X-Com style tactics, and RPG style party and equipment management

This is a GOTY contender. I'm finding it very hard to stop playing once I start.

TheHarpoMarxist wrote:

This is a GOTY contender. I'm finding it very hard to stop playing once I start.

Yeah, I've been shouting about it all over the place too.

It even drove me to blow the dust off the Steam controller so I could play on the Steam Link when my office space wasn't available.

I agree with the praise here. I've played the Trials of Fire, Water Gem and Combat Run campaings and had a great time. The highlight are the battles for sure. The lore didn't interest me much. The overworld gameplay is a pretty simple risk / rewards balance - going out of your way to try and grab some more resources. My only worry is I had a lot of repeat event in the two campaigns, so that aspect will get repetitive. But, those battles are great.

One thing I appreciate is that it feels a little more forgiving than Slay the Spire. Don't get me wrong, it's still difficult! But it always felt to me like you had to min-max to really play Slay the Spire properly, there was very little room for error in builds, and sometimes you'd run up against something that counters your build and you'd be out of luck.

In this, you get a bit more wiggle room to try stuff out and there's even some benefit to using what are essentially cross class items to give your characters some flexibility, since the stacking synergies a lot of these sorts of games rely on are seemingly a bit less important, and a bit more flexible in their design.

It actually feels a bit like Into The Breach in moment to moment gameplay at times, in that it's more about using your abilities strategically together to good effect, rather than building up one terrifyingly efficient deck.

Furies are the worst.

Also, I didn't realise until recently, but you can hold one card per character and still end turn to carry it over to the next turn. This is really useful! Didn't help against the Furies though, ugh.

I've been wanting to try this since I heard Ben Hanson interviewing the studio's founders (ex Rocksteady devs) a few months back. I hope it makes it way over to Switch at some point in the near future.

Oh yeah here's the interview if your interested:

Holy cow I've played a lot of this game. I'm up to 35+ hours in the last 2 weeks. The only quest I haven't completed is Cursed Sonata. I've only done Combat Run from the Challenge area. I keep trying to pace myself, but find myself firing up another quest.

OK, now I finished those top 5 campaigns on medium difficulty, and the combat run. I'll either try Boss Rush or Endless Odyssey next. Anyone tried Hard difficulty, and if so how much harder? In general I didn't think medium was hard, but it may have been due to the fact that I stuck with the Warrior and Hunter as two of my heroes every time, so their soul level was pretty high (now 11 or 12). I think they stopped unlocking stuff at level 10.

I should also try the Trials of Fire campaign at short and long length too. Is there any way to see the soul level of each class, other then after a campaign? I'm not sure why I like the warrior and hunter so much, but I do. I guess I really like getting the warrior in the middle of things and doing his yell to make enemies lose a card and getting armored up to absorb all those hits while the hunter lays waste with some big damage. After those 2 I'm not sure who I like the most, but I've brought each one along once (I think).

It really does feel like I'm playing Gloomhaven with the cool abilities and such, without having my hand get weaker each time through the deck. This is definitely in my GotY contention.

I don't find Medium hard EXCEPT for end bosses. Some of them are just absurd, take out one of my dudes on like Round 2, down from full health with modest defense on top of that.

A recent patch reduced the difficulty of end bosses a little. Have you played since then?

robc wrote:

A recent patch reduced the difficulty of end bosses a little. Have you played since then?

Been playing constantly since a week before launch.

I'll keep an eye out going forwards. It's possible I just had a few unlucky runs where my party wasn't specced well for that particular boss, or just got stomped first time I encountered a boss and hadn't grokked how to deal with it - the one that switches which attack type it's invulnerable to each turn was a prime example of this, I kept forgetting to check it and ending up with a bunch of zero-damage attacks!

I've played about half of the first quest, though I feel like I don't quite have the brainpower to take this on right now -- especially while playing Disco Elysium. It definitely feels like there's a lot going on and the learning curve about deckbuilding feels a little steep. I'm not sure what I should be upgrading as I level, and having each piece of gear insert new cards makes it hard for me to assess, at the beginning, how to balance things.

What sorts of stuff persists after a run is done? I've seen people talking about soul levels, but don't yet know what that means. And, will my ability to claim different persistent rewards differ if I succeed or fail in my quest?

LastSurprise wrote:

What sorts of stuff persists after a run is done? I've seen people talking about soul levels, but don't yet know what that means. And, will my ability to claim different persistent rewards differ if I succeed or fail in my quest?

First off, don't worry about understanding everything on the first run - learn by playing.

If you want a simple heuristic as to what gear to keep, the color coding is the standard loot-game convention: orange > purple > blue > green. There's scope for hanging onto green gear if it synergizes well with other stuff, but to start out, just use that ranking. Legendary (orange) gear always has a bonus ability, which can be very powerful if played right.

As to the meta-progression, you're effectively levelling each class based on how far into a run you get. Die real quick, get a little "XP", finish a run, get loads. Levelling a class unlocks new cards that can be used for that class on subsequent runs (you'll see the same kind of thing in Slay The Spire or Monster Train).

Played the Endless Run (or whatever its called) for the first time and got a pretty good ranking on the leaderboard. Pretty fun way to play. The kicker was I lost in a battle I could have avoided and got killed by the lurker, which I've never lost to. I think I got too careless with my warrior and got whittled down quickly when I was surrounded by the lurker and 2 tentacles.

I just did another endless run and got into the top 200+ on the leaderboard. I was fighting multiple bosses per battle at the end. I’m surprised none of my Steam friends have finished an Endless Mode game. It’s pretty fun. I think on those I need to bump the game up to hard because it starts to take too long. Actually I think it’s time to try the scenarios on hard too. After 60 hours though my pace of playing it has slowed down.