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New roguelike strategy game on Steam is like a sci-fi Darkest Dungeon

Anomaly Collapse is a sci-fi roguelike strategy game with clever Darkest Dungeon style positional combat that’s about to launch on Steam.

Anomaly Collapse is a new roguelike strategy game that's about to hit Steam - An anthropomorphized cartoon fox with a stern expression.

The positional combat system of Darkest Dungeon is perhaps one of my favorites among all turn-based strategy games, so I was very intrigued by newcomer Anomaly Collapse, which infuses that concept with a more intricate positional design that takes cues from the likes of XCOM and even Baldur’s Gate 3, along with a little splash of fellow roguelike games Into the Breach and Slay the Spire, all wrapped in a sci-fi wrapper with an adorable cast of warriors reminiscent of the likes of Star Fox. About to launch on Steam, we at PCGamesN can now bring you the game’s official launch trailer, and you can try it now thanks to a free demo.

Anomaly Collapse sees you gathering a squad of anthropomorphized animal associates, each with their own combat specialities, to make their way through an apocalyptic urban sci-fi hellscape filled with all manner of toxic nasties and alien terrors. At its core is a really neat combat system that builds on ideas from some of the best roguelike turn-based strategy games to create encounters “where movements are minimized but strategy is maximized.”

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These battles take place on what developer Rocket Punch Games calls its “innovative one-dimensional battlefield grid,” although the strategy it provides is certainly anything but one-dimensional. As mentioned, it blends a little of Darkest Dungeon’s positional play, a touch of XCOM’s flanking and support systems, and some of that Dungeons and Dragons style proximity-based spice found in BG3.

The squares that line up to make the battlefield can each be occupied by up to three units at once. Your characters have individual movement points and a shared pool of action points, and actions all have a specific target range that they can be used on and an effect range should they hit across more than a single square. The battlefield can also move and shift mid-fight, with earthquakes shifting high and low ground or explosive barrels presenting the opportunity to set up devastating chain reactions.

Joining your teammates on a given square unlocks the potential for co-op attacks, where your allies will also chime in with damage of their own each time you attack while standing on the same square. However, multiple characters close together will face penalties as they get crowded, which might limit their movement or their ability to dodge incoming attacks. You can also make use of movement to flank, pincer, or trap your enemies, further enhancing the strategic potential.

Anomaly Collapse - A screenshot showing the ability to dig ino on specific elements of tooltips to see how they function.

Anomaly Collapse also helpfully lets you see what enemies are planning to do next, and integrates another feature that I greatly appreciate – along with its useful tooltips, you can tap the ‘T’ button at any time to dig one level down and check individual keywords to see exactly how they work, much like in games such as Baldur’s Gate 3. It means you’re always able to quickly analyze what your next move will look like, or how a potential upgrade might boost your squad.

As you gather and level up your team, each with their own distinctive set of skills, you’ll also encounter powerful artifacts called ‘abnormalities.’ These can be equipped to your characters’ loadouts, boosting their stats and in some cases even bestowing new abilities that you can make use of in battle. Having spent time with the free Steam demo of Anomaly Collapse, I’m already very eager to see just what I can get up to in the full game, and the good news is that its arrival is imminent.

Anomaly Collapse launches Friday April 12 on Steam. Ahead of launch, there’s also the option to try out a free demo right now via the game’s Steam store page, where you can also add it to your wishlist if you like.

Elsewhere, we’ve got plenty more of the best roguelike games in 2024 for you if you’re a big fan of run-based fun like myself, along with all the best strategy games you need to be playing right now.

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