Prime of Flames is a turn-based tactical RPG with roguelike elements. Prime of Flames or PoF is developed and published by Rayka Studio and was released on Steam on August 22nd in early access. As it was released in early access I want to note that there is the possibility that many things I write about may be changed during the early access period, so I absolutely plan on doing a lengthier writeup when the game reaches its full release.
Due to this being an early access title I will keep this review relatively short and sweet. Prime of Flames is a grid-based tactical RPG game set in a fantasy-based world where you command and utilize a plethora of units all pertaining to three distinct clans.
The beginning of the game takes you through the process of choosing between three different clans or factions. The three clans are Ninelie, Everknight, and the Bronion. Each clan consists of its own unique set of playable units and its mechanics as well.
There are five different unit classes which are: Priest, Guard, Hunter, Scout, and Warrior. Each class plays extremely differently, and each class within each clan plays entirely differently as well. There is an absolute ton of variety and diversity in PoF. After choosing which clan you would like to play with for the upcoming run or playthrough you are taken to the “hub” so to speak.
This hub is where the traditional roguelike upgrade mechanics come into play. This is where you use the materials/resources that you’ve accumulated during your runs to purchase upgrades to benefit yourself in later playthroughs further. The hub is where you also decide whether to play the endless game mode named Abyss or play the story-based mode called Journey.
Both modes are exceptionally fun, but I do think the Journey mode offers more variety in events as well as helps you accumulate the resources you need to upgrade your hub for future playthroughs. The gameplay is very similar to games like Slay the Spire in regards to how you choose which node or level you would like to explore. These nodes range between hiring new units, purchasing new equipment, and encounters where you enter into combat. The combat however plays very similarly to most turn-based tactics games such as Fire Emblem.
At the end of every level or set of nodes, there is a boss encounter where you will encounter an extremely powerful unit with typically deeper more complex mechanics. After completing the boss encounter you move on to the next level, and the playthrough continues in this fashion until you either succeed or wipe. Once your playthrough is over you are sent back to the hub to purchase improvements to benefit you in future runs.
The visuals and artwork in PoF are some of my favorite designs I have come across in a very long time. The unit and enemy designs are all astronomically unique and provide even more diversity to the units and clans. The color palettes are all beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed every level design I have come across so far. The event artwork is beautiful as well and definitely easy on the eyes.
Primes of Flames is an outstanding iteration of the turn-based tactical RPG genre with a variety of roguelike mechanics. Although I thoroughly enjoy the game I do however have some critiques (mainly one) I would like to point out.
My main complaint so far is the linearity of builds that are viable on certain units. For example, my favorite units so far are the Ninelie Priests which serve as a summoner type of class. They are insanely powerful but the most successful build I have experienced with them is purely based on building up their beast companions which are summonable.
They are also great ranged damage dealers, but their bread and butter are surely their summonable companions. In saying this I believe their most viable build revolves around their beasts and not necessarily themselves as their own unit. This causes their builds to almost entirely revolve around their companions and not necessarily build them up as their own standalone unit.
I want to point out that I absolutely love the priests and their summonable companions, but I would enjoy seeing more options as to how to build them. I will continue to experiment with them along with all units and try out some unconventional builds to see if this thought can be proven wrong the more I experience the game.
Prime of Flames shines in regards to its vast variety of units and enemies along with their unique designs. I also enjoyed the roguelike elements and the constant progression. The combat is fantastic, and the many passive bonuses you accumulate along the way definitely provide a feeling of consistent development.
Also, with so many unique events and passive bonuses, every playthrough is sure to show you something different than your previous run. I have mentioned this multiple times already, but I’d like to point out that I still have yet to uncover every playable unit in the game. There is an absolute ton of different units. There is constantly more to discover and experience which keeps me coming back time and time again.
Prime of Flames is already a superb release, and I absolutely believe that it is already heading in a solid direction. Surely with more time in development via early access, we will see this gem of a game blossom into something even more spectacular. The foundation is already laid, and I thoroughly enjoy what I have experienced thus far. I absolutely recommend Prime of Flames if you are a turn-based tactical RPG lover and enjoy roguelike elements.