First off, this is not a SRPG; I played this because after Arc the Lad Collection, I was really carving something much more strategic.
I do consider Exorder to be “SRPG-Adjacent.” Just like in Wargroove or Advance Wars, there’s no character progression of any sort. It does have a unified plot though. For this reason, I mainly recommend Exorder if you’re more a fan of strategy games, rather than RPG games.
I’m not as well-versed in TBS games as I am with SRPGs. There may have been other TBS games released prior to Advance Wars, but Advance Wars is the one with which I’m most familiar, so that’s the one to which I’m going to draw some comparisons. Just like in Advance Wars, gameplay in Exorder revolves around gold management, hiring troops, and controlling houses on the battlefield (houses in Exorder are analogous to cities in Advance Wars). The main difference is that in Exorder, characters don’t have a flat 10 HP.
Although the campaign isn’t incredibly long, it is (mostly) designed well. I’m not a huge fan of the main story; it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very memorable, either. Gameplay is where Exorder shines. At its core, you have solid unit design and map design. Some maps will have you control two parties of characters, while others are more classic skirmish maps where you and the enemy try to capture each other’s bases.
I’m not a fan of battle 5, though. The objective changes on you at the last minute, which gets frustrating because naturally, you’ll strategize around the displayed objective (survive 10 turns), and you’ll have no idea that you’ll need to kill all enemies thereafter. You can’t really strategize well if you don’t know what your objective is.
Another frustration involves battle 9. Here, the enemy will have access to better troops, while you’re stuck using weaker ones. It just doesn’t feel fair when you and the enemy are both spending 200 gold on the same troop, but theirs is stronger than yours. Battle 9 is still possible, but it’s more arduous than it needs to be. A difficulty selector would’ve been a welcome addition to Exorder; unfortunately, the game only has one difficulty setting.
Exorder has a few other flaws, too. For one thing, you are unable to take back moves even if your finger slips. This can be annoying. For another thing, the game has a solid core system, but probably could’ve benefited from even more unit types, and perhaps a longer campaign. Like a lot of other indie games, Exorder is good, but limited. I have to at least commend it for feeling fairly fresh, though. Originality is the thing I value above all else, and here, Exorder performs well.
In total, the game has a 12-mission campaign, 8 challenge maps, and a multiplayer mode which you can do locally or online. There’s a fair amount of content here. I think for anyone who really enjoys solid TBS gameplay, the multiplayer mode can provide hours’ worth of entertainment. Exorder has some maps which can accommodate up to 4 players!
Personally, I’m more of a RPG gamer at heart, so Exorder is not the perfect fit for me; I finished the campaign and then sort of lost interest. Don’t get me wrong, though – it is a good game. It’s one that I’d recommend to anyone whose preferences lean more into pure strategy games. It’s just not one that will strongly appeal to anyone interested in the “RPG” end of the “Strategy-RPG” spectrum.
Console: Switch, Steam
Developers: Solid9 Studio
Buy Exorder on Steam