About Tainted Grail: Conquest
Based On The Board Game
Tainted Grail: Conquest is a single-player, dark fantasy deck-building roguelike game. Developed and published by Awaken Realms Digital, the game was released in full on May 27, 2021 after being in early access for a couple of years. Based on the Tainted Grail board game, Tainted Grail: Conquest is available for PC on Windows.
Saved From Oblivion
As one of nine classes, you work to save your village from oblivion by slaying four monstrous bosses that exist throughout the world. Three groups of classes currently exist to play as: melee, summoner, and archer. As you play, you unlock additional classes.
Throughout the game, more people start returning to your village, such as the blacksmith. In this way, Tainted Grail: Conquest is not unlike the town-building aspect of Darkest Dungeon. Regarding gameplay, its deck-building element is reminiscent of Slay The Spire, with different classes offering different passive, ultimates, and deck of cards.
Tainted Grail: Conquest offers a dark fantasy world that sets its roots in a grimdark atmosphere with grotesque monsters and a world where humanity is barely holding on.
Concept Rating: 4/5
When it comes to voice acting and music, Tainted Grail: Conquest has it in spades. The top-notch voice acting is paired with memorable characters and striking character arcs, and the music helps to highlight the dreary landscape surrounding you.
Regarding visuals, the game’s style is faithful to its grimdark roots. Enemies in particular are grotesque, and at times edge on body-horror. You’ll find mutated humans walking on all fours, backs deformed and arched with bulbous sacks ready to explode, for starters.
Tainted Grail: Conquest is nothing groundbreaking when it comes to graphics, but it does its job well. One minor complaint could be how visually dark it is at times, making the mini-map hard to read, though one of the gameplay mechanics plays with how light (or dark) you let it get around you, having the choice to light Wyrdcandles to decrease the game’s difficulty (much like Darkest Dungeons’ mechanic).
Graphics & Audio Rating: 4/5
The gameplay experience and difficulty balance rides on which class you choose at the start of each run. Players will find certain classes punishing, but other classes (such as the Apostate) a cakewalk. To some extent, this can be attributed to learning the best ways to play each class and build your deck to match. This can take some time, as there can be much reading to do. However, once players understand how each class works, they’ll find it becomes a matter of optimizing their abilities by selecting the right passive skills and customizing their deck appropriately.
Levelling up will offer players a choice of one of three cards to add to their deck, based on synergies. Building a powerful deck is a careful balance of avoiding making too large of a deck, but not having too few cards either. Every few levels, players unlock a new passive ability, which will offer even more synergies and new ways to approach combat.
If players find the default difficulty of Tainted Grail: Conquest too tough to be enjoyable, the game does offer an easy mode. This will start you with a full village, all cards and passive abilities unlocked, and the enemies will be a bit easier.
One of Tainted Grail: Conquest’s strengths is how it encourages players to replay as different classes. Pushing players out of their comfort zones, Awaken Realms does a good job of giving players rewarding experiences by taking risks and trying new things.
Alongside the monsters outside the village, ever ready to slaughter you, a number of NPCs can be found throughout the world to give a break to the carnage. Some NPCs will only give you a taste of the mysteries that make up the dark fantasy world of the game, while others will grant you questlines to complete. Each NPC is unique, and work as a fantastic addition to the world building behind the game.
Gameplay Rating: 4/5
For Deck-Building and Rogue-like Fans
Set in a gripping and mysterious grimdark setting, Tainted Grail: Conquest combines the deck-building aspect of Slay The Spire with the town-building aspect of Darkest Dungeon, all set upon the foundation of RPG and rogue-lite gameplay. While the game still has a few spots in need of polishing and some rebalancing regarding classes, Tainted Grail: Conquest offers many, many hours of gameplay.
Replayability Rating: 4/5
Tainted Grail: Conquest may be a game that proves too punishing for some, but for fans of RPGs, deck builders, and rogue-likes, TG:C is sure to be a hit.