I’ve played a few missions now. It’s an interesting mix of X-Com style tactics, Into the Breach deterministic combat, a deck builder, and probably a few other things.
Each scenario has a main goal, and optional sub-goals. Importantly, you can replay any level to get the sub-goals later on when you’re more powerful or better equipped. This isn’t apparent until the overworld map appears after beating the second mission, but now I can see what they’re going for here, and I like it. For example, the first mission has you killing a bunch of low level enemies, but you only get the sub-goal if you take no damage. At first this doesn’t seem possible, but you can either play with the AI logic to keep them away from your most vulnerable character, or go back to it after a short time once you can put a gem into your fortify ability which includes all allies within 1 square - then the objective is simple.
I’ve had one timed mission so far (the second one). It’s a challenge to beat before the timer runs out, but it’s not a fail state. And because you can replay the mission, you can go back and try to beat the timer for the reward later on. I was a bit concerned about the timer missions, but if that holds true for all of them, I’m quite happy with that.
Combat is definitely puzzle like insofar as there’s a particular way of doing things if you want to get all the sub-goals. If you just want to beat the map, it’s a bit more open - at least, in the early stages, not sure how exacting it will be later, but the devs are clearly going for the optimal solution being very challenging and requiring very careful planning given knowledge of the map. There are spellbooks that give you bonus abilities, and often these are the key to getting all the objectives.
Incidentally, it’s quite obvious how much they’ve been influenced by Into the Breach! Yet these are hand-crafted scenarios, not procedurally generated, so the possibilities for deviousness later on are quite high!
So yeah, I like it a lot so far, but I’m still in the early stages so it remains to be seen how it holds together later in the game.