Bite Sized Reviews: Thyria

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Bite Sized Reviews: Thyria

I’ll be honest. When I sat down to write up my thoughts on this game, I was stumped on what to talk about. That doesn’t happen often for me. There are times when I get stuck on a video game, and then I struggle with converting my thoughts into words. For example, if I’m terrible at certain games like Armored Core 6, Amnesia the Bunker, or Elden Ring, how do I write about it? All three of those games are incredible.

Monday rambles, huh? Just let me grab some coffee or as I call it ‘Anti Murder Juice.’ Still with me? Awesome. So why am I babbling about games like this? That reason is Thyria, an impressive dungeon crawler that has left me both captivated and braindead. The latter sounds a lot worse than it is! I just feel overwhelmed playing Thyria at times. It launched on Steam in Early Access recently, and it deserves more attention. Thanks to the developers and the Keymailer site for providing me with a code for impressions, as well. When I first saw Thyria, what drew me to it was the visual design. The artistic talent shown in Thyria has to be seen to be believed. Look how gorgeous this game is!

Okay, Scar. That’s enough gushing about how nice the game looks, but what kind of game is it? I’m glad you asked. Thyria is a dark fantasy dungeon crawler with an intriguing premise. Playing as a dream walker (roll credits, her name is Thyria!) It’s up to the player to delve into the nightmares of sick villagers and cure them. Entering the nightmares of the afflicted takes players into a horrific, twisted mindscape that plays like an action/RPG level of sorts, while battles take place in a turn-based format. How do you fight those battles? Through creating and tailoring Guardians who act as Thyria’s sword and shield. Thyria is an Early Access title, so while players can play the first few chapters of the story mode, this is a work in progress. So, keep your expectations modest while development continues on Thyria.

Now, Thyria is a pretty complex game with a long, meandering tutorial to get players started. It’s also extremely challenging, with a warning notice every time you boot into the main menu. There are so many things to learn at the beginning that it can be overwhelming even for experts in the genre. I spent most of the tutorial making frustrated noises like a kitten begging for food. There’s a lot of information thrown at the player, from the exploration mechanics to the combat. Oh, and every time you die, your Guardians get afflicted with curses that hamper their abilities.

Even though the tutorials explain the mechanics nicely with the option to view them anytime you want, I still felt lost in the dark. There are so many ways to customize Thyria and her Guardians, and the game’s depth is mind-boggling. Complexity is not a bad thing: I applaud the developers for making something with so many tools to play. As a witch, Thyria can craft and create items from almost anything. Tutorials can only go so far, so it’s down to the player to experiment with the mechanics and learn through experience. This is when I found the constant autosaving mechanic a slight problem. While having to live with mistakes adds to the difficulty and immersion, I would prefer a dedicated save button for this kind of game. With so much freedom and the necessity to throw stuff into a blender and see what works, this feels like a misstep. Either that, or I’m just not used to the game yet.

Players take on quests by selecting which patient they want to cure, with a boss battle at the end of each requirement. Nightmares take place in randomized mazes, with dangerous threats lurking in the night and plenty of things to explore. During the night cycle, enemies will constantly chase you, but you can use your powers to fight back. The longer you spend in the patient’s nightmare, the more dangerous they become. Dying in this world results in the patient’s death and returning to your little witch shack. The missions aren’t very long, so they encourage the player to keep moving. I found that Thryia sometimes got stuck on terrain, but this is a minor bug, and it only happened once or twice. Most of these missions involve locating and killing a miniboss, or finding the escape route. They might be repetitive, but the amount of variance and customization with your character keeps them interesting. And of course, the animations and visuals are stunning. Honestly, for a 2D dungeon crawler, I was blown away by how good Thyria looks.

Let’s move on to combat! These battles are turn-based on a grid battlefield. Your Guardians can reposition around the map and will support each other as well. For my first two Guardians, I had a summoner/healer operating from the back, raising totems with the help of corpses and poking holes at enemy monsters with ranged fire attacks. In the front, I kept my aggro Guardian with melee attacks. Turns are taken very quickly, with effects and abilities occurring so quickly that I had trouble keeping up with what was happening. With no battle log, I found it difficult to keep track of what enemies could do. It’s all a bit confusing, but the variety of Guardian abilities and skills keeps things fresh.

To conclude, I’m still feeling Thyria out. This is made by a two-man team based in France, and so far I have found their communication with players to be exemplary, and willing to listen to all feedback. I absolutely adore the visual design and the amount of freedom for experimentation the game offers. I just feel it’s missing a couple of things. The amount of story content available for the low price tag of 15 USD should be enough to satisfy current buyers. If you want a deep, complex dungeon crawler and love the idea of being an alchemist, Thyria punches above its weight. The high level of challenge and the lack of handholding makes for a couple of frustrating experiences, but it rewards patience and freedom.

Keep an eye on Thyria. I think the creators have made something special, and I’m excited to see how its development progresses in Early Access.

About the Author

TheThousandScarAuthor/Blogger/Cartographer/Streamer/Narrative Game Writer/I play far too many games. |

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