You choose one of four heroes to start your adventure. Each of them has a different play-style, and different abilities you can unlock by levelling up and starts with different elites and minions. On your way across five domains, you will be able to get new minions, structures, elites, equipment, and crystals.
But let us start at the battles. Battles are turn-based. There are 24 plates on the battlefield. Each of them has one or several different elements (fire, water, etc.). Each turn you need to select one to conquer. This means you will gain one or a combination of these elements to select one of your elites.
If you conquered an only-fire plate, you can’t choose a water elite, etc. If you select one elite, you can choose to equip crystals, which will make him stronger. After that, he will be in your hand for the rest of the battle. You can summon an elite with mana on the battlefield.
Aside from mana, there are command points. You gain one every turn. With command points, you can summon minions and structures. Structures basically are small buildings that give bonuses like +1 mana every turn or 1+ attack for minions or elites nearby, etc.
Some elites and minions have special abilities. Some can be activated whenever you like, others get activated whenever some condition is met (e.g. you attack someone and gain +1 attack).
Each monster has different stats like attack, health, and armor. You can attack one time each turn or move one plate. If the monster’s HP reaches zero, it dies and you will have to summon it again. It will cost more each time it dies. After each turn, the mana cost gets reduced until you reach its initial cost.
All these rules sound a bit complicated and they are to some extend. You will need to learn the game first which can take several battles but after that, it’s quite simple and fun. There are many rules to keep in mind but if get a hang of it and use them to win, it’s much more rewarding.
Talking about rewards, you can get crystals, gold, armor or draft minions, or elites. Rewards are procedurally generated just like the maps. Enemies and missions are random, which results in a dynamic experience.
In my playtime, each new run honestly did not feel like a whole new experience like it is in some other roguelite strategy games. It feels more like the few building blocks they are, get in a new order.
But that’s maybe because Quinterra is still in Early Access. I’m quite sure there will be a lot more content down the line, whereby each run will feel more different then.
On the map are a few different encounters waiting for you. You can go into a shop, or find treasures with rewards but before you can get to these sweet rewards or into the shop, you need to do missions on each area your airship lands on.
Missions vary a bit. At the moment, there are two types of missions: “beat the elite enemy” and “collect X points to win”. Different missions are a good way to bring more strategy into an already tactical game and it feels great to find a new strategy to win. I’m happy to see a few more different missions later.
Every mission won gives your Hero EXP. Every new level he gains talent points. You can use them to unlock talents like “your minions +1 spell power”.
You lose the run if your morale reaches zero. You start with 50 morale and it gets reduced throughout your journey (if you take too many turns against a boss, etc).
The UI and the visuals need some more work but aside from that, the game is in really good shape. I played the game first in a playtest in November 2020 and in the next few months, they changed and added quite a lot. I’m very positive they will work hard on the game and keep their promises like bringing more units into the game.
Currently, there is no long-term progression aside from unlocking species but the Devs already said a long-term progression system is one of the most important things they will work on during early access.
The devs describe Quinterra as a tactical game and it really is one. It’s not a mindless turn-based strategy game at all. You will need some time to get into it, but it’s worth it. It is engaging thanks to the roguelite part of the game and addictive, thanks to the tactical turn-based battles.
I definitely recommend the game to everyone who is into turn-based strategy games.