Blaugust 2022 – Going Across the Obelisk

Posted on August 29, 2022 by Aywren

Back when I was searching for other games like Talisman, I ran across one called Across the Obelisk. This turns out to be a rougelike deck-building RPG. Though it seems many compare it to Slay the Spire (which I haven’t played enough to confirm), the first vibe I got from it was Darkest Dungeon, though without the dark insanity elements.

Knowing that my sister was into Darkest Dungeon, I showed her Obelisk – it had just come out of early access with a 1.0 release and was still on sale. A day later, we’d decided to pick it up as a game we could co-op together. The game allows for between 1 and 4 players – each player can control a character. If there’s less than 4 players, someone will have to pick up a second as characters don’t appear to have an AI player capability.

We’ve put about 10 hours into it and are just scratching the surface of what the game is still. Like many rougelikes, it takes time and failure to build up characters. Some things are held over after a failed run, but most things are not.

Obelisk hands the players four characters to start with – pretty much your standard Tank, Rogue, Mage and Priest combination. You can unlock more characters as you progress by discovering them on maps and completing their quests. We finally unlocked our first character earlier today, and were quite excited about the progress.

Ten hours in, we’re at the point where we are fairly consistently clearing the first map (I’ve heard it called the First Act) and moving into the second. We were able to beat two big boss fights back to back today, which was a real accomplishment compared to some of our earlier runs.

You gain strength through unlocking cards which you can add to an attack deck that you’re building. You can also purchase items (weapons, armor, relics, etc) to help boost stats and defend against attacks. However, cards and items are wiped each time the party dies.

What does carry over are attribute points, which you use to build your characters up. You also keep the unlocked cards you’ve discovered with the stipulation that you have to purchase them and their upgrades all over again to add to your starter deck.

Depending on your score from the previous run, you receive gold and crystal currency at the start of the next. You use this to re-purchase cards for your deck and items for your characters.

Sometimes you also find supply boxes while you quest. These are used to unlock perks within the town – such as lower costs to buying and upgrading, a pet shop, and more. Town perks also carry over from game to game even if you lose, as do things like pet unlocks.

Battle is very much turn-based, pulling cards from your deck to strategize against enemies you come across. The map unfolds somewhat dynamically, events changing from run to run. Some things you’ve unlocked in the past do see to carry over the next time if you choose a similar path.

The battle setup and the art style are the things that remind me of Darkest Dungeon. It’s been a while since I’ve played that game, but Obelisk seems far more forgiving that DD ever was, which I think is a good thing.

I can see there’s certainly a lot of depth in how you can build characters and decks in this game. While I could write a lot more about our experiences, I think I’ll leave it at this: We’re having a lot of fun with this game, working to build up characters and learning the ins and outs of co-oping it. It’s a game I don’t regret picking up and hope that we can continue to dive deep and understand the challenges and secrets it holds!