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Beneath Oresa

Deep within the city, confront foes in real tactical arenas. Choose your cards, upgrades, and artifacts wisely and keep your distances with your foes. Do you have what it takes?

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Developer: Broken Spear Inc.
Publisher: Broken Spear Inc.
Released: Nov 3rd, 2022
Price: $24.99 USD

Beneath Oresa is an early access and very challenging deck builder. The game takes place as stated in the title beneath the city of Oresa, where you must traverse the underground surrounded by deadly and unrelenting foes. You will need to formulate strong strategies while also choosing your cards, upgrades, artifacts and pathing wisely.

The difficulty in this game can be rather absurd

Slay the spire is a very good reference point to compare to with Oresa due in part to the mechanics in the game. This could be the deckbuilding portion, roguelike elements, artifacts or choosing to rest over upgrading a specific card while gambling with your life.

There is no shop in this game. A player can’t buy things or remove things from their deck, instead they are given a choice throughout their journey. Heal, upgrade companions or a few other choices, depending on how deep into the city one has reached.

This is one of very few ways to heal yourself throughout your run, add on top of that with the punishing amount of damage enemies can do you if you don’t know their mechanics is demoralizing to say the least. However, if you do find yourself healthy enough to focus on your deck more so than your health, the rewards can oftentimes be game changing.

This game is definitely for those who really want to challenge themselves. It can be demanding and has a rather moderate learning curve to it overall.

Unique mechanics “Companions” and “Lanes”

Companions are allies you bring along that will assist you in “spirit” more so than actually help you physically fight. If downed in battle they will support and carry you out to the surface where you can retry your next run wiping your current run in the process.

There are 3 characters to choose from each with their own starting decks and special abilities. However, the girl has access to one companion that is not accessible to the others. It doesn’t change much, outside of giving you added bonuses if you manage to level them.

You can not start with your own pre-built deck, or alter them in any way shape or form. Once you reach a resting point or reward section is the only time you can. Completing a run will not reward you to increase your chances in your next run with extra starter items.

Lanes refer to the current location you and your targets are standing in near and far.

Monsters may deal extra damage if they are in the same lane as you or from the opposite lane. Paying close attention to their examination information is important for your survival.

Bosses may target their own allies if they are near you while they are in the opposite lane. There’s tons of different monster interactions to learn about, so long as you have patience.

Knowing this is how you’re going to deal with your fights strategically. If you don’t have a diverse set of cards, then you may run into trouble. Cards that grant the ability to knock can keep dangers at bay, while also deflecting damage all together. A good offense is a good defense. You’re going to run into trouble quickly and lose every time without strategy.

The visuals and audio fit well together

Cell shading is the main visual effect here that creates a simple aesthetic feel in the world. It works fantastically with your constant crawling and fighting through the city’s underbelly.

Players may find it easier to follow, since there isn’t a lot of detail put into visual flair. This allows for one to focus on what is important, the game and the strategy not the eye candy.

Games that utilize cell shading often age better than realistic ones. There never really is a better or more “realistic” version of cell shading to lower the bar for previous iterations.

In terms of the music and audio used, it matches up pretty well to compliment the visuals. It’s plain and simple, nothing overwhelming while giving a sense of tension to the player.

Although there is some desire for a more gripping emotion while in some boss fights. The ambience can only do so much, building up the tension would have been a nice touch.

All of this could be added into future installments in the game.

Conclusion

Oresa’s could be a great addition to your collection if you are interested in very challenging and unforgiving turn-based deckbuilding. The game is still in early access, so there is potential and room for improvements in the future.

I found myself enjoying it for what it was, even if it was frustrating at almost every turn. Once I got the hang of things it felt very rewarding to make consistent progress each time.

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