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XCOM and 4X strategy combine in new Steam demo you can try now

Combining the strategy of XCOM and Into The Breach with the big decisions of 4X games, a new Hidden Pass demo is available on Steam now.

Hidden Patch Steam demo: a man looks pensive in a big blue hood

Taking some of the best parts of XCOM, Into The Breach, and the ever-expanding 4X genre, Hidden Pass is one of the most interesting strategy games I’ve seen this year. With a recent Kickstarter campaign being set up, the team at GG Studio has now released a free demo for Hidden Pass on Steam, letting you try out a few hours of exactly what the grid and turn-based strategy game has on offer.

Finding the mythical resource of Elyrium is the goal in Hidden Pass, and you’ll do that in two key ways: there’s the “lightweight strategy game” element where you build up a base, level soldiers, mine for and collect resources, and make the macro decisions that will define the trajectory of your adventure. But you’ve also got to engage in grid-based battles with fantasy creatures, with gameplay immediately familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in strategy.

All the big decisions you make feel very 4X, while the more condensed fights offer up precise and delicate encounters that the long-term thinking and spatial awareness the strategy genre is known for.

Much like perching a sniper on an elevated building in XCOM, Hidden Pass has three map layers for you to utilize. So while you can get a vantage point on ground opponents, you’ll want to watch out for those pesky flying enemies, who can make use of all three layers at any time.

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While Elyrium is a valuable resource, you’ll also want to watch out as it turns all your units deathly mad. Like a fantasy version of Russian roulette, your magic attacks get more powerful the more Elyrium corrupts your units, but this pushes them ever closer to the brink. Every single magic move that’s powered by Elyrium has this effect, but if your units die don’t worry, as you can call in reinforcements from your base to fill out the ranks again.

When you’re not embroiled in the Into The Breach-style combat encounters you’ll need to design your home base, level your characters to give them new abilities, and choose exactly which direction you want to take for fights. You can even set up supply chains as you beat levels, using that space to mine resources, produce weapons, and build automatons to fill out the ranks of your army.

The Hidden Pass demo is available now on Steam, and you can wishlist the game right here ahead of a full release sometime in 2024.

If you’re looking for more, we’ve got you covered with all the best RPGs and 4X games you can play today.

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