Chris Hayes — one of our PAX Prime 2013 team members — writes on his hands-on impressions of Sinister Design’s turn-based strategy RPG, Telepath Tactics.
One would never know when meeting developer Craig Stern, that not only has his game Telepath Tactics gone through a failed Kickstarter campaign, but that he brushed off his shoulders, bounced back with a second successful Campaign and is currently pushing towards his game’s approval on Greenlight. It is not because his positive attitude and enthusiasm have not been matched at the convention so far. It is because his game is so damn delightful to play. While the tactics in his title inform you to the genre he is entering, what he is doing with this game is more than I have seen so far.
As he notes on his Kickstarter page, “Imagine that Fire Emblem and Disgaea had a baby, and that baby turned out to be a prodigy…” and when listening to him talk about his game you can tell that these two games really influenced his vision. And while the game play is driven by the standard but he adds his own flare which I haven’t seen before. Part of it is in the ways that some of the animations of attacks play out. At one point I saw one character flip over another and stab his opponent. At another I saw a satchel charge be tossed onto a bridge, which then exploded destroying the bridge, because yes, the environment is indestructible. You could even watch as one character tossed his enemy into lava.
It also has multiplayer game play in addition to the single player storyline but he goes even further by allowing levels, characters, campaign, and moves to be created by the players and more. It feels like you are given a dev kit for an tactical RPG for just a single game. While playing this game on the floor I really got into the demo I was playing, cursing loudly when my healer got killed and gaining satisfaction by destroying the remaining enemies in vengeance. I have to applaud him for his ingenuity and hard work and I cannot wait to see where he goes from here.
You can pre-order Telepath Tactics now via the game’s website, and gain immediate access to the latest pre-release build. Demos for PC, Mac and Linux are also available.