When I heard in our morning meeting that upcoming roguelike Let's! Revolution! was "like a cross between Minesweeper and Into the Breach", you better believe I immediately hit the Steam store to download the demo. What a pleasure to find out it lives up to the comparison.
Challenging you to defeat the "Rotten King" in a colourful fantasy world, the game casts you as a warrior who moves tile-by-tile across an unexplored board. Wilderness tiles have a number on them, telling you how many roads they're adjacent to; roads are where enemies hide, and if you walk into one, you'll take a hit and they'll start charging further attacks against you.
The trick is to figure out where you think roads are, and launch an attack into the unexplored spaces, simultaneously revealing them and blasting any enemies hiding on them. But a very limited pool of stamina for these attacks, recovered only by exploring further, forces you to choose your moments very carefully.
The experience takes Minesweeper's wonderful tension—combining meticulous puzzle-solving with the need to gamble on the uncertain at crucial moments—and gives it a more organic feel. The numbers are your most concrete information on where a road might be, but roads also have their own visual logic—if one leads off a tile into an unexplored one, that tile must also be either a road or a dead end, allowing you to guess that little bit more confidently. And a whole suite of abilities and upgrades, earnable over the course of your run, help you in your quest and brilliantly change your whole strategy. A spear that pokes through multiple tiles in a line led me to a completely different way of mapping out the boards compared to the AOE swing at all the tiles around me that I started with.
The evil king has his own tricks too, however—as you progress from board to board, his enemies grow ever more horrible, from a horn blower who uncovers other enemies prematurely until you reach and defeat him, to sneering nobles who sap your stamina with their presence, making you less and less able to fight back. When one of these scoundrels is uncovered and not in easy reach for an attack, suddenly your every move becomes critical. In six turns, that bomb minion is going to explode, but it's eight squares away from me—is there a way I can get a hit on it in time?
Like Into the Breach, you always have perfect information on any uncovered enemies, turning battle into an intricate puzzle as much as a tactical challenge. And how fascinating to combine that approach to combat with exploration that's all about not having perfect information, and finding the best route across a world of hidden dangers you can't always be confident in the location of.
I'm already hooked, and with a complete run only taking about half an hour, it's the perfect burst of lunchtime strategy. If that sounds like your sort of thing, make sure you check out the demo quickly—it disappears at the end of Steam NextFest on June 26.