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Satisfying dungeon-crawling roguelike strategy game gets Steam demo

New dungeon-crawling roguelike strategy game Pyrene gets a demo ahead of Steam Next Fest, blending fantasy adventure and tactical combat.

New dungeon-crawling roguelike strategy game Pyrene gets Steam demo - A red-haired woman with a long braid and freckles rests a large hammer on her shoulders.

Combining the fantasy worlds and bounding sense of adventure from The Witcher 3 and Baldur’s Gate 3 with the deckbuilding of Slay the Spire and run-based tendencies of Hades, Pyrene is a promising new roguelike strategy game that’s more of a dungeon-crawling RPG than initial appearances might let on. Fortunately, then, you can try it out right now courtesy of a free demo that’s already available ahead of Steam Next Fest, because it’s rather good fun.

At first glimpse, Pyrene might appear more like a traditional card game, with its top-down perspective and grids of rectangular icons reminiscent of the likes of a Final Fantasy Triple Triad board. However, that’s just the framework for this strategy game, which sees you controlling one character and plotting your course through each of its encounters carefully to maximize your rewards and minimize harm to yourself.

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Your chosen character moves around using the WASD keys, and in each encounter, you’ll be placed on a grid that’s then filled with a combination of monsters, resources, treasure, and helpful items. It’s your job to figure out the optimal path to clear out as much as possible. For example, stepping onto an enemy square causes you to damage one another – successfully defeat them and they’ll drop some loot to collect.

Conversely, stepping onto a bow will deal damage to a randomly chosen enemy somewhere on the board, while moving into a health pack will restore your own vitality. The catch is that you can’t move back through empty spaces, so it’s imperative that you think about where you’re going next before you boldly lunge forward in search of action or opportunity. Fortunately, you can quickly hover over anything to see what it does, with handy tooltips to explain any concepts you might have forgotten.

If you run out of options, you can spend provisions to camp for the night, which will refill the board by drawing new cards from your inventory along with the arrival of some new monsters. Those creatures already on the board will also get a little stronger while you sleep, however, so make sure to account for that. In most cases you’ll actually need to rest at least once to reveal your actual goal – the Votive Altar, a special card that, once reached, clears the zone and restores your health and provisions to full.

Pyrene - The player chooses between three helpful item cards to add to their inventory.

Between runs, you can head into your village and you’ll meet other characters that can help you build out the settlement to unlock additional upgrades for your items and spells. With a range of characters to choose from, each with their own abilities and traits, you’ll be able to figure out a range of strategies to get the most out of each subsequent adventure.

Pyrene is set to launch in September 2024, but you can download a demo for free on Steam right now to try it out for yourself. Simply head here to check it out.

If you’re looking for something that’s a little more shuffle-and-deal, here are the best card games on PC right now. Or if you’re feeling the call of adventure, the best RPGs in 2024 should give you plenty of that.

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