Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire is a turn based adventure/combat game. The layout and movement of your characters is similar to the other offerings out there (e.g. Banner Saga). The visuals and general feel of the game are also like Banner Saga, so those who enjoyed that game as much as I did should settle comfortably into Tahira.
The Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire story is your traditional evil empire oppressing a peaceful kingdom thing. You are the daughter of the leader of the peaceful folk, and you have been given an artifact which is your inheritance, a symbol of your authority, and a handy dandy weapon. Your character has the benefit of the captain of the guard going with you to offer advice and some protection. Your character gets to visit some old haunts and have some lovely animated flashbacks. There are points when the narrative goes on a bit longer than you might like, but it’s mostly good storytelling with some helpful information thrown in.
When combat turns come around, the game displays a row of icons at the bottom of the screen to let you know who goes and in what order. There is a fast forward button for speeding the rounds up a bit, and it did get some use as the game takes its time going through the combatants and their actions. If you lose track of exactly who gets to do what, its easy to get frustrated waiting for the whole chain of characters to go so you can do what you really want to do. Once you get into the flow, however, it’s only mildly annoying.
You get to place all your forces however you like during combat, and all actions (except for the occasional attack of opportunity) will be directed by you, so don’t expect the game to send you help automatically. Positioning your troops on the isometric game grid easy with a mouse, a bit trickier with the track-pad, but not so much that it hurts gameplay. The gameplay grid is square-based, so you lose action ability on the diagonals (you can only attack or be attacked from adjacent sides).
Be careful planning your troop movements and your targeting priorities; how you go about the combat scenes will get important quickly. If you don’t manage some of the encounters just right, you’ll get toasted. The worst aspect is the how far into it you can get before finding out your strategy is going to fail even though things looked so promising at the start.
Some of this may be due to the to-hit and damage rolls the game generates, but that’s part of the deal.
So Here It Is
Based on my time with Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire, I feel good recommending the game due to some good storytelling paired with decent strategic combat. If you’re seeking a new game and like the turn-based stuff, Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire is ready to go on Steam and is worth the asking price.
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Developer: Whale Hammer Games
Minimum Requirements: OS X v10.8, 1.7 GHz dual core processor, 4 GB RAM, OpenGL SM 2.0 with 512MB of VRAM
Availability: Now on Steam and GOG.com