Solasta Crown of the Magister Review

Solasta Crown of the Magister Review

Solasta Crown of the Magister was released in May 2021, and is Tactical Adventures debut game. It is an affectionate and fantastic game based on Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition (D&D5e).

Dungeons & Dragons and tabletop roleplaying games (ttrpg) have become exceedingly popular over the last couple of years. With its rise in popularity, the industry is flush with content, with more coming out all the time. Critical Role just finished their second season, and started the Exandria Unlimited series. There are more Dungeons and Dragons podcasts than there are dragons in dungeons; the Adventure Zone, Dungeons and Daddies, and D20 Dames just to name a few. Additionally, shows like Voltron and She-ra have also had episodes where the characters play some parody of a tabletop game.

Video games have a lot in common with the medium. Games like the Baldur’s Gate series and Pathfinder: Kingmaker are direct translations of the games they are based on. 

With Baldur’s Gate 3‘s release date still to be decided, Solasta Crown of the Magister comes out just in time. I am glad it did, as it is a fantastic rendition of the widely beloved game it is based on.

Based On D&D, but Different

Solasta Crown of the Magister has an interesting relationship with the makers of Dungeons and Dragons. They can use specific parts of the tabletop content in their game. They can use some of the classes, subclasses, ancestries, rules, and abilities. However, they are not as directly linked, unlike Larian Studio’s official D&D Baldur’s Gate 3

For example, not all classes and backgrounds are available, nor will they be. Currently, there are a handful of iconic classes, like Cleric and the recently added Sorcerer. However, the subclasses are noticeably different, even though they follow similar abilities or spells.

In-game photo of the Sorcerer Class, including stats, and personality tags.

The new class, Sorcerer was introduced to the game post launch. These flexible spell casters include some of the same subclasses as the tabletop equivalents, but also two that are based on the world of Solasta. (Image: Tactical Adventures.)

Instead of leaving blank spaces where D&D would be, the creators filled the classes and abilities with lore-rich and well-written features that fit perfectly into the lovingly crafted world. 

A Classic Fantasy Epic

In Solasta Crown of the Magister, you create a party of four heroes. The game comes with a full-length campaign that takes your characters from level one to level ten. The campaign includes many of the hallmarks of a classic fantasy epic. It has a plethora of dungeons, undead, vampires, evil monsters, and spiders that are way too big (seriously, can I walk into one cave and find normal sized spiders?) The game feels authentically like a Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

While some of the animations are messy or awkward, it certainly doesn’t detract overmuch from the story or the characters. The environments are beautiful and detailed. Though, random encounters while traveling might feel awfully similar after a time (especially the giant spiders, but I might just be biased there). All the levels feel visually and tactically distinct. You’ll find yourself fighting undead in a dilapidated castle one level, and scraping by against powerful elementals in a surreal and gravity defying library the next. 

A Merry Band of Sassy Misfits

In-game capture of the dialogue options during NPC conversations. Each reply has an icon of which character is taking the lead for that option.

In Solasta Crown of the Magister, party members’ backgrounds and personalities play a large part in how they interact with NPCs and the options you can select from. (Image: Tactical Adventures)

In addition to the combat and story found in D&D campaigns, the game also includes party banter. Voice acting varies from subpar to good. Some nonplayer characters (NPCs) you meet have clunky voices, but the vast majority of the party’s interactions are certainly above average.

During character creation, your heroes will develop several personality traits, like casual or cynical. This is based on multiple elements that come about during creation. The end result is that each character has a surprisingly decent amount of individual personality. Because you make every party member, instead of having a party of companions, this mechanic works extremely well. 

Your party will react naturally to the environment, and during conversations with important NPCs each character will have their own response. Their personality dictates this. 

Additionally, their personalities come out during combat as well. Violent or more “evil” characters will shout curses or threats at enemies. Meanwhile, kind and “good” characters are more likely to apologize or encourage their friends. I found myself laughing every time one of my characters missed terribly with one of their attacks, and my cynical member just shouts “you suck!”

Solasta Crown of the Magister is a Faithful Rendition of the Joys of Tabletop

Solasta Crown of the Magister fulfills its goal of creating a faithful and entertaining adaptation of tabletop roleplaying games. As a lover of games like 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons, I could barely put the game down. It has many similarities to the famous tabletop game, but differs sufficiently enough that it is refreshing.

The main campaign is shorter than similar games in the genre. Though, the pacing allows it to still feel full and complete. In addition to the main campaign, the game also includes the Dungeon Maker mode, which is still in beta. This allows for smaller adventures made by the community.

However, it might be less appealing to gamers that have little to no experience with the tabletop game. Dice rolls and D&D mechanics are at the forefront. Characters roll dice for attacks, spells, and to resist harmful effects. The game does a great job at introducing these mechanics with its tutorials. It expresses rules and game mechanics in a clear and concise manner, making it easier to enjoy by itself.

In-game photo of combat in Solasta Crown of the Magister.

Solasta Crown of the Magister shines brightly with the depth of its combat system. The environment and even light sources all play a major role. (Image: Tactical Adventures)

Tactical Adventures’ loving translation of the tabletop game excels at its highly tactical and satisfying combat. With the class and party combinations, and more content to come, Solasta Crown of the Magister has substantial replayability. It is a shining example of the potential and capabilities of small teams like Tactical Adventures. 

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