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Wantless: Solace at World’s End Early Access Review

Wantless: Solace at World’s End is a turn-based tactical RPG developed by Drop Rate Studio and published by Twin Sails Interactive. It launched on Steam early access on November 8, 2023, and is an interesting take on tactical RPGs in that every move you make, your enemy gains the equivalent moves to use against you. While this mechanic has been utilised before, it’s the setting, premise and skill crafting that makes Wantless stand out in the crowd.

In Wantless, you play as Eiris, one of the last remaining Transposers – doctors who can delve into their patients’ tortured minds to alleviate their torments, erase memories, or worse. Each action undertaken by Eiris will empower every enemy in the room. You start your turn with eight action points but spending one grants it to each enemy unit on the board. The more you act, the more your opponents will react in their turn. You will want to look for ways to quickly eliminate enemies which will grant you action points and utilise the environment to both break line of sight but also for potential hazards to use to your advantage.

Eiris transposes each patient into the wantless, the resting state and once we travel into the wantlessness, we play inside the patient’s mind. We are guided by Pum who is watching over the patient. Once in the wantless, we see the play board in front of us that will have some enemy units that get progressively more difficult. Wretches are mobile and deal high melee damage so we need to move next to them, but remember each move we do gives moves to the enemy units. In this first tutorial level there are three wretches and we only have enough action points to move to and kill the first wretch on our first turn.

When it’s the monsters turn, it’s actually the patients’ mind that is representing the monster moves. Sometimes you will see potential moves from the monsters on their next turn, such as leaping to the square behind you. You can block their move by moving and occupying that square yourself. Also on the board in this tutorial level is an impulse which are unstable entities that explode when they take damage. We can use this to our advantage by using one our telekinesis skill that can push objects which will cause it to explode once it has moved five squares away, and this is enough to take out the last wretch.

Once you finish a room, you can choose a neural pulse which is can be beneficial for the next room in the patient’s mind, such as increasing hit damage by 40% for 5 turns. This next room is heavily guarded by a much stronger monster called Forgotten Ego and he is guarding the patient’s wants. Patient memories are spread in this level, and you can preserve memories by interacting with them. These will give you various buffs like healing you or giving you more action points. If we manage to get to the memory, we will decrease the patient’s instability, but if a monster destroys one then this will increase instability.

When a memory is destroyed by a monster, instability increases, and this empowers enemy units and randomly changes the combat layout which can be in your favour or it could make things tougher for you. If the patient’s instability reaches three, this could cause the patient to wake up and the operation will fail. It’s worth using telekinesis to try push monsters away or use dash to get closer to memories to try reducing patient instability, and of course take out monsters as quick as possible. Once the board is cleared, we can collect the patient’s wants. We can then extract from the transposition and this mission is successful which nets us XP and memory data.

Memory data will convert to tokens which is the in-game currency to purchase new skills and we receive reputation and learning points. We also collected synapse items that will be used for to craft new skills using neural forging. There are three types of synapses we extract from transpositions – form, effect and efficiency. Form synapses determine the skills range, shape and number of effects it can apply. For example, the first synapse we have is Aerial 1 which causes the kill to hit enemies in a X shape up to 3 tiles away, and supports up to two effects. Effect synpases determine what your skill does and the target enemy types. Efficiency synpases determine the action point cost and cooldown.

This neural forging skill crafting is what really got me intrigued to finish more transpositions, see what synapses I received and have a play around making different skills for different situations. Each new run sees you pick from a number of patients, each providing different rewards for completion. These patients only appear for the current day, and once you choose and complete one transposition, a new list of patients will be waiting the next day. There will be a lot of experimentation with skills here as we face new and tougher foes.

The last tutorial sees you get unavoidably killed in the transposition and we can use a consumable neural ankh to re-establish the connection to the patient’s mind and try again. Going back in increases the amount of awareness and there are different types of ankhs to collect that will send you back in with different parameters such as 50% health or places you on a random position in the mind. Once complete and we build any new skills we have synapses for, we can head to the mind tree to spend learning points. This is where we can specialise Eiris for courage, defense and other stats.

For an early access game, Wantless: Solace at World’s End runs super smooth with its stylised graphics that depict some gruesome objects on the periphery of the patient’s mind board. There will be different monsters to face, obstacles that can be a benefit or hindrance, and memories to try retaining. Playing with synapses to create new skills is intriguing and we’ll be able to build up Eiris with skills and specialise the mind tree to take on more patients. This is a decent turn-based tactical RPG that is a lot of fun so far with skill building, and I’m keen to watch the game develop further over the early access period.

This early access review utilised a key provided by Sandbox Strategies and Wantless: Solace at World’s End is available now on Steam early access.


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