On March 12, Siralim Ultimate launched in Early Access on Steam. If you’re like me, you may be wondering “what on earth is Siralim Ultimate?”. Well, I gave it a try, and I’m really glad I did. The turn-based pixelated RPG combines some of the best things about the dungeon-crawling of Diablo along with creature collectors like Shin Megami Tensei and Pokémon. Progression and customization are around every single corner, and you keep unlocking new aspects to engage with as you delve into different biomes and tilesets. From nemesis packs that spawn with random modifiers to challenge you, treasure golems to track down for bonus loot, and a zillion different things to grind that all synergize with each other, Siralim Ultimate is pure bliss for min-maxers of all kinds as you attempt to break the game constantly to crush enemies and bosses.
First, it’s about picking a class. Yes, this game has classes too. As I played Siralim Ultimate, perhaps one of the most intriguing and compelling aspects about the game is how intelligently it weaves in mechanics from all kinds of genres into the turn-based, procedural-generation floor crawling loop. Stuffing so many mechanics together can result in a lack of cohesive vision, but it’s pretty clear this game revels in providing as many interlocking systems as possible.
There are numerous and varied classes to pick from. The Druid thrives on using only one or a few creatures, “lone wolf” style instead of the standard roster of six active monsters, the Reaver gets stronger and stronger the longer you stay in combat, Necromancers can summon minions, and more. I went with the Hell Knight for my first class, taking to heart that you can respec later in the game fairly easily. Hell Knight is all about attacking and attacking hard with the basic Attack command and getting big bonuses from it, like being able to splash damage every enemy in the fight, attacking twice for each command, and dishing out debuffs, crits, and more on every swing. Big crit energy!
The story content of the game should take you about ten hours or so (depending on class, spec, creatures, and grinding… lots of factors here and there’s no rush) and it functions as a tutorial, essentially. The story is… not good. And that’s okay in a game like this, honestly. The narrative is merely a means to an end that gives the player a reason to keep plodding through the infinite dungeons. Along the way, you learn how to build up your home base, enhance the many different NPC utilities available to help augment and craft your monster team to perfection, and meet the many different gods you can build loyalty with as the game drip feeds out various systems as you proceed down into the depths, one level at a time.
Siralim doesn’t punish you for death much at all, you respawn comfortably back in your castle should you wipe. Instead, you acquire favor as you stay alive, meaning you’re going to get more loot and rewards. This incentivizes you to play smart and careful, but doesn’t make you feel like trash when your entire team gets one shot, which will absolutely happen. Combine creatures and pair their abilities with your class skills to create dire monstrosities that can wreck battles in seconds, equip powerful gear that can further enhance stats, and take on quests for bonus rewards at every step of the way.
It’s all streamlined, with new mechanics, features, and surprises to stumble upon continue being added all the way to the story’s completion, with the “real game” being the postgame, where you can really start exploring combinations and taking on tough content for massive rewards as you continue to build up your castle. The game’s description boasts thousands of gameplay hours, and I’m inclined to believe that.
Bottom line? If you like old-school JRPGs, a ridiculous amount of customization combined with procedural generation, or the creature collection genre, Siralim Ultimate begs a look. While Siralim Ultimate is only available on PC in Early Access right now, it’s planned to launch on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Switch later on down the line. While I haven’t played it, Siralim 3 is currently available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch, Android, and iOS!