Wantless was provided by Twin Sales Interactive for review. Thank you!
Of all the tactical RPGs I have played this year, I am shocked that Wantless: Solace at World's End isn't among the games people recommend. Imagine a turn-based RPG with vibrant visuals, a nice sci-fi aesthetic, and an incredible skill creation system that allows you to make your own abilities, that is basically what this game is, and after playing it, I can't help but fall in love with the idea and where it's heading.
Starting with the story, it is quite intriguing. In this sci-fi setting, you are the last Transposer, a doctor who can dive into patients' minds and free them from their torments, erase memories, and free them from whatever is torturing them. Not only do you experience your story as you continue to take in patients, but you will learn about the remaining survivors and their backstories in this bleak world. This kind of story and setting is right up my alley, and I was completely invested in the world that has been shown off so far.
I also want to mention that the artwork and enemy designs in Wantless are phenomenal. I stuck around just looking at the enemies that were trying to kill me countless times, and I loved how they were all manifestations of negative feelings and emotions that humans feel regularly.
Then, we get to the gameplay. You will take on one patient a day, with most of them being randomly generated. Some unique patients have bigger stories that aren't random, but they will be much harder. As you dive in, you will use up to 11 skills and your wits to move around battlefields, destroying enemies and fixing your patient. Through these, you will gain experience to level up equipment, ability synapses, and points to redeem over 170 passive perks. Each one of these works together wonderfully to create an engaging gameplay loop with some solid combat.
But what makes the game really stand out are those synapses and how it uses AP. The synapses you get are used to craft your own skills. So, if you want to make a healing or shooting ability, you can put together different pieces and effects to craft your own special skill that you can use in combat. There are three parts to each skill when crafting: Form (skill range, shape, and number of effects), Effect (what your skill will do and how it affects the enemy), and Efficiency (how much AP it needs and cooldown). Being able to create your own builds from the ground up, using this and the perks together, is incredible and has so much potential. As the game goes through early access, there will be more synapses and perk branches released.
Then, we have the AP (Action Points). In battle, you will have 8 Action Points each turn to move and use your skills. This is pretty standard in a lot of traditional tactical RPGs, but what makes this unique is how it affects the enemy. The amount of AP you use a turn will determine the AP that each enemy has. For example, if you use 6 AP in one turn, your enemies will have 6 AP to use themselves. If you use 2, they will have 2. This system encourages a new way to strategize, determining not only where you should be positioned but whether you can afford to give the enemy enough AP to use its skills. This is an ingenious way to branch out and try something else, and I feel developer Drop Rate Studio really succeeded with it.
I was taken aback by the components in the game, and I am so overjoyed these systems work so well, even with the game in early access. And if you want to play on the Steam Deck, you will be able to do so without much worry, even with a couple of drawbacks.
When I first saw the graphical style of Wantless, I knew it wouldn't be hard to run. The assets are all in 2D with some great-looking effects, which lends itself very well to more restricted hardware. In this case, it is mostly true. The game runs perfectly at 60 FPS, though it does have some battery spikes and a few drops with bigger skills being used. For example, when the first boss does a massive attack that affects the entire battleground, the framerate will drop to around 50 until the effect dissipates.
There is an option in-game to increase HUD size, but I didn't see a huge difference. This does mean the text size is relatively small in some parts, but I never felt it was unreadable. Be warned, though, it is quite small.
Outside of that, I had no performance issues, and the battery stuck to around 8W - 10W drain on average. On the OLED, that means around 6 - 7 hours of battery life, with the LCD Steam Deck getting around 3.5 - 5 hours.
Wantless is a fun game and runs quite well on the Steam Deck, but it doesn't have controller support. This means you must use the right touchpad to move the mouse around. I did play around with creating a controller configuration, but with the HUD and some weird hotkeys that I didn't feel were necessary, I didn't make many changes. The biggest thing I added was a radial wheel that allowed you to easily select all your equipped skills and toggle going awakened. There were some small additions, including an easy way to analyze enemies and access inventory. Still, for the majority of the game, I felt using the cursor with the trackpad worked fine!
You can try out my controller configuration for yourself, it is called "SDHQ Steam Deck Layout V1."
Regarding the options, there are some audio sliders to change, as well as ways to change the game's hotkeys. For gameplay, you can enable or disable non-essential tooltips, double-click to move, cursor camera scroll, skill casting preview, effect displays, showing item rolls, and enemy widget opacity. There are also some larger sliders for camera speed.
The game doesn't support 16:10 resolutions, so there will be some black bars on the top and bottom of the screen, but it does have cloud save support!
Wantless: Solace at World's End is a tactical RPG that shocked me with how well all its components worked together. Crafting skills utilizing three different components to gauge how it will act is ingenious and works extremely well in this setting. Along with the AP system, which adds another layer of strategy, this feels like a step above many of its competitors. It is a bit on the difficult side at times, and sometimes it feels like you aren't getting components to make skills as fast as you'd like, but it works well together and creates a memorable experience with lots of potential.
On the Steam Deck, there are almost no issues with performance, thanks to its visual style. It would be really nice to have controller support, and I do hope we get it at some point, but this will be a game I follow through its early access journey.
Our review is based on the PC version of this game.
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Wantless: Solace at World's End is a fantastical tactical RPG with a ton of potential, and it can run quite well on the Steam Deck!