“Gordian Quest” Early Access Review – A Deck-Building RPG I Need More Of!

Gordian Quest release Steam Q1 2020
Gordian Quest (Image: PR)

If you’re looking for a strategic deck-building RPG that offers a lot of content, Gordian Quest (from Mixed Realms) is a title you need to try. Currently available on Steam Early Access, I’m excited to see it develop.

I was provided a free Steam review code of Gordian Quest. The opinions I have shared are my own. 

I always try my best to give indie titles a try. There’s always a chance of finding a gem, and, in my opinion, Gordian Quest is a gem when it comes to fantasy rogue-like deck-building fare. The gameplay is turn-based, and you’re tasked with controlling your team as you rid the land of evil.

Considering I went through the Early Access build, of course, there’s much more for the developers to introduce down the line. However, even at such an early stage there’s still a lot for you to enjoy. This game will have a total of four Acts and the available build lets you play Act 1.

When you begin this game you get to choose from six heroes. Each character has unique skills and playstyle. Do you wish to be a swordhand, a cleric, a ranger, a scoundrel, a druid, or a spellbinder? You can look at the different cards each character has in their deck. Also, don’t take too long to choose because you can unlock the rest of the heroes as you continue playing.

I selected the cleric (I still can’t get over the unnecessary opening in her breastplate) and then went on to recruit the rest. You can only have three heroes (at a time) in your party, though, when you’re out on missions. 

And yes, you can select the difficulty you wish to experience. I would recommend that you try this game on the easiest mode, at least for the first playthrough, to get the hang of how each hero deck works. I say this because even in the easiest mode I found myself in a lot of trouble during some of the missions.

gordian quest steam early access review
Gordian Quest (Image: PR)

Once you’re done with the tutorial, you get sent to Westmire. As the story progresses you will learn a bit more about the lore in Gordian Quest and the curses the heroes need to break. Westmire is also where you can access different shops to buy weapons and gear, heal your party members, purchase accessories, get missions, etc. The usual RPG stuff.

You can go directly to the main campaigns or do side-missions. As I said, even in the Early Access build there’s a lot of content for you to bite into.

One of the things I enjoyed about Gordian Quest is the D&D-type mechanics. During certain events, your characters’ stats come into play. The success of your choices depends on the role of the dice and the stats of your characters. It’s fun. You should watch my gameplay video to see what I’m talking about.

As for the battles, everyone is placed on a 2D grid. The heroes are on the blue part of the grid (the left side of the screen) while the enemies are on the red portion (the right side of the screen). The cards your characters draw are random. So, in a sense, every battle is going to be different from your last. You can decide if you want your characters to attack, defend, heal someone, or basically do nothing at all.

Your choices will depend on how many action points (AP) the characters have and how many AP a specific card needs to be played. There are certain cards that require no AP. Other cards can lower the cost of AP or give you more AP. Depending on a character’s abilities, moving on the grid will cost AP, too. Gordian Quest will make you think about every move you make.

My only gripe is that a character’s AP should be increased as they level up. It can get a bit frustrating when you have an amazing card you want to play but you don’t have the required AP. Maybe AP will be increased in an update? I hope so. Every hero having only 3 AP at the beginning of battles (regardless of their level) is a weird nerfing tactic.

I did like how you could click on an enemy during a battle and see what kind of cards they will play.

Gordian Quest review steam early access
Gordian Quest (Image: PR)

Another interesting feature is the Skill Tree. The fact every character’s initial little skill tree could be expanded took me by surprise. Leveling up provides your hero with a single skill point to spend on the tree. You can decide what type of new skill you want a character to learn. Some nodes in the skill tree permanently increase health points, stats, and such.

The game also does what it can to create a sense of bonding between the party members. Certain Trigger cards allow a hero to automatically help another during battle. There are also campsites where your heroes can sit together and work on improving their skills. 

Again, there’s already a whole lot in the Early Access build. I can’t wait to experience all of the updates.

gordian quest review steam early access
Gordian Quest (Image: PR)

According to the press release I received,  additional features and content planned for the full version of Gordian Quest include:

  • Three more Acts – The completed game will feature four fully fleshed out Acts to explore – each with new heroes, skills, quests, relics, items, and NPCs to discover. Each Act will introduce new gameplay mechanics that expand on and enrich the base game experience.
  • More heroes – Encounter more heroes from all over the realm and form new party combos and relationships.
  • Relationship system – Future development will introduce a unique system where bonds of friendship, rivalry, mentorship or even love among the heroes in the party can be uncovered to unlock secret combo abilities.
  • Shape the course of your adventure – Align yourself with different factions, embark on side quests and eventually shape the course of your adventure with critical decisions.
  • Endless mode – This special mode makes the game a perpetual adventure and allows you to keep on questing, slaying more monsters and collecting more heroes, skills, relics, and weapons.
  • PVP mode – Engage in skirmish fights with other players using your preferred mix of heroes and skills. 

The anime-like art style is fun to look at. Also, there’s a good amount of movement in this game. For example, the characters have different animations depending on the type of action you want them to perform. These animations help make heroes and villains really feel different instead of only looking different. I wasn’t expecting it from an indie title, but I’m glad it exists.  

All in all, Mixed Realms really delivered with Gordian Quest when it comes to engaging content. I highly recommend you play it!

Released on March 27, 2020, here’s the link to the game’s Early Access edition on Steam.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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