Siralim 3 Review (Switch)
Siralim 3 is the crafty work of the one-man-shop known as Thylacine Studios – shoutout to the Torun-loving Zack Bertok – and is now available across all platforms. This includes everything, from PC to Nintendo Switch, including all the “not Nintendo-” and possibly inferior- consoles found somewhere in the middle. Siralim 3’s gameplay is a very simple loop we have all experienced before. It consists of running around randomly generated levels with a player assembled-team of creatures, defeating other creatures and grabbing sweet loot on the way out. It’s been done in the past and to such a simple and refined degree- hello Pokemon – that it’s hard to think about how any of us could advance this concept. But, let’s take a little trip, shall we?!
In my lowly 35 or so hours with Siralim 3, I have finished the main storyline, slain some gods, captured many creatures, defeated nether bosses, obtained new artifacts, and bred new creatures. Whew! With all of this, I’m still nowhere near done with everything this game has to offer. In fact, I’m still a tiny fish in the big ocean that is Siralim 3. Little did I know that the majority of Siralim 3’s content is found within the end game, with the rest leading up to that point feeling like an extended tutorial. It is for this reason I took a little extra time with Siralim 3 to feel out all the different game elements and try to determine how they all work. I’m sure glad I did, as it’s going to make this review much more thoughtful and provide it with a large amount of credibility that you just won’t find anywhere else. Strap yourselves in, because it feels like there’s five game’s worth of content here – I hope you’re ready.
Time Flies When You’re Having Fun
The majority of my time in Siralim 3 was spent running around the themed levels, called realms. Each of these realms is owned by a god, and by performing various activities, such as completing quests, or donating resources at altars, you are able to raise your favor with each of these gods. Raising the favor of each god is one of the many keys to progression. By reaching certain levels of favor, you unlock additional items within that god’s shop, as well as other super secret game mechanics which won’t be revealed here. I think part of the fun in Siralim 3 is finding all the surprises yourself. You might be amazed, as was I, when a new feature becomes available at 30+ hours playtime. The realm design is randomized, so each run feels just different enough to make each a new experience. I also believe Siralim 3 has achieved something other games with highly repetitive elements fail to do – they made grinding fairly enjoyable. I’m not sure if it’s all the things you can pick up within the realms, the randomized layouts, or the chance of scoring some sweet loot, but it’s filled to the brim with “just one more level” vibes that I simply can’t get enough of!
Capturing Your Logic
By running into roaming creature sprites while exploring the realm, you are brought into battle. It is here where all your decisions on which creatures, spells, artifacts, cards, and talismans come into play. You can even use the extract feature to extract creature cores from enemies, which you can then use to summon an identical creature back in the central area. This is the simple basis for starting your team, except here you can, in fact, catch them all!
Not only can you capture an insane amount of creatures in Siralim 3, you can also breed various combinations of them. You can breed creatures to pass along “heredities,” which are permanent boosts to either health, attack, intelligence, defense, or speed stats of that creature. If that doesn’t sound like your thing, you can find many breeding combinations while exploring realms. Sometimes these combinations may produce a creature you haven’t seen before, so be sure to check with Benjamin in the stables every once in a while to see what’s available.
While still a Siralim newbie, you’ll likely take to its battle system like any other RPG – the turn-based combat will be familiar to all role-playing veterans. As my time progressed and my familiarity with Siralim 3 ramped up however, I started to take a more methodical approach to battle by utilizing the built-in macro features. Now, I’m usually not a fan of auto battling mechanics – I have outright shunned many mobile RPGs for this very feature. It’s different in Siralim 3 though, and I really found it to be an enjoyable part of the whole experience. There are no pre-built macros, so you’ll have to figure it all out for yourself or stop by the Siralim 3 Discord server and ask for some help. Macros boil down to various conditions and actions upon which you can use to direct your creatures. After I figured out a new macro to only cast the Raze spell when enemy creatures were burning only after checking to see if each creature has been captured before, I felt like the supreme conductor, wildly waving my hands in the air and watching my team go to work successfully.
Team building in Siralim 3 reigns supreme. Towards the end of the storyline, I had some issues defeating the last *redacted* boss. I tried many times and I just couldn’t beat it, and it boiled down to my team simply not being strong enough – or so I thought. I nearly set out for an hours-long grinding session to level up my creatures when I stopped. I decided to take a look at my team to see what was synergizing, what wasn’t, and make some changes based on those findings. Lo and behold, it worked! I successfully beat the *redacted* boss without needing to endlessly grind my creatures until I hated life.
I just had to use my noggin and rearrange a few spells and sub out one of the creatures – this is the core philosophy behind Siralim 3. Building your team can take a bit of time, as each creature has a unique trait which may synergize with other creatures, but for the most part, it’s up to you how you want your team to look. A common phrase I heard on the Siralim 3 Discord was that “any team can work,” it just comes down to player preference. I ran with a spellcasting team, raining magic-hell down upon my enemies. It worked quite well, but there was always that one counter I ran into every so often that simply decimated my team – I’m looking at you, Noxious Smog!
While filling your team with creatures that have synergistic traits is first priority on the list, it’s not the only objective. You still have spells and artifacts to assign to each creature. Creature traits are unique to each and don’t really change. Awesomely enough, with artifacts and spell gems you can create each with whatever properties you desire. The choice is completely yours after you unlock the Arcane Vault, Forge, and Enchanter. Siralim 3 not only lets you catch them all, but make them all as well.
Mike, this surely must be all that Siralim 3 has to offer right? WRONG! There are additional game modes here, as well. There’s an arena where you can draft-style choose your team and battle the computer- last as long as possible to earn higher rewards. There’s also a Tavern Brawl style game mode, which pits your team against other actual players. Tavern Brawls are tricky beasts, though. Certain traits are banned from Tavern Brawls for the duration of the week, and rotate every Friday. Both of these game modes add a huge amount of “choose your own adventure” style play to Siralim 3. Each of these respective game modes also has its own unique shop where you can use the rewards you earned in their respective battles to purchase new creature cores, gems, treasure chests, cards, talismans, artifacts, and many other consumable items. I’ve been told there are even some modes I haven’t unlocked yet, but I don’t know enough about them to even spoil it all right here. It’s pretty damned astounding the amount of content Siralim 3 has to offer.
The End of the End?
Let’s talk end game real quick before I get hooked off this stage. As I said earlier, the real major pieces of content for Siralim 3 come after you beat the storyline. By then, you’re sure to have some of the additional game modes and the beginning portions of the end game content unlocked. This consists of Itherian realms, Sigils, and Nemesis creatures. There’s more located within Siralim 3’s library, but these are the only pieces of end game content I can personally attest to at the time of this review. It’s pretty awesome.
Not only do you get to explore realms way above the storyline, you get to do so with a new large incentive. If you don’t want to take my word for it, I took a bit of time and talked with some true Siralim 3 veterans over on their Discord server and here’s what they had to say. There’s a really helpful bunch of people over there and I highly recommend stopping by if you plan on purchasing Siralim 3.
“It’s honestly the first game I’ve found where you can do a lot of different activities and play a lot of different styles while continually building towards the same end goal. I have clinical depression so most games get really repetitive and boring for me, but with Siralim 3 there’s seemingly always something new to find, some new strategy to consider and so much to explore that it manages to circumvent that. While other games try to sell me on the idea that their world is endless and fascinating, this might be one of the first games that actually makes me feel that way.” -Jesus20456
“I love Siralim 3 because every time I play, I feel like I’m making progress. Even after 175 hours, I still have useful goals I can work towards every time I sit down to play. No individual task feels daunting, but there’s always more stuff to do.” -DuckTapeAI
“Siralim is great because it has so much depth but I don’t feel overloaded and like I must heavily theorycraft. I just see an item or [creature] and think if it fits my team or not. With every feature unlocked in the story I wanted to hug the developer” -TDE3000
While traversing the realms deeper and deeper, you will collect Sigils, which unlock Itherian realms. Itherian realms look like the normal realms, but they include Itherian creatures and bosses that grant you the ability to level up your talismans. The Sigils even have certain advantages and disadvantages, which may give you an increased percentage of scoring sweet loot! Be sure you’re ready – each Sigil can only be used once, and if you fail, you will be brought back to the central area. Even the normal realms are upgraded for end game- objects called Nether Crucibles will start appearing in realms, which offer their own and just as cool- if not better- rewards than Itherian realms. The end game is a huge game changer in Siralim 3 – it almost feels like a new game with new rules, all with sweet new loot opportunities.
Let’s get one thing straight. Siralim 3 consists of repeating the same game functions over and over. This is highlighted by the fact that the game comes equipped with pseudo-code macro functionalities. It’s there to make everyone’s life a little easier, even if you only use simple macros. If you don’t enjoy grinding in video games, then Siralim 3 likely isn’t for you, but this experience loop feels very different from the others that I have played. I personally don’t think the grind feels bad, and it’s not every day you find reviewers putting 30+ hours into a title. There’s something truly great about Siralim 3.
Sure, it doesn’t look the best with its simpler top-down 2D graphics style, but sometimes it’s not about the looks. It’s what’s under the hood, and Siralim 3 has a hell of a lot underneath its hood. There are just as many elements that this review glossed over that were actually included. Siralim 3 has simply become that game that I want to play while half-watching TV or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, while craving a deep team-building session, where I reassess all the creatures and make some heavy-hitting substitutions. Siralim 3’s GREATness is in its ability to build simple upon simple, ending up with something truly unique and far, far from where it originally started.