Strategy puzzler Absolute Tactics scratches my XCOM itch, until the characters start talking

Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy (opens in new tab) doesn’t waste any time when you press start. Smash through a simple tutorial and within a few minutes you’re an amateur general, frantically issuing commands to your motley crew of D&D archetypes. Combat plays out as a dance, lunging forward to deliver crushing blows and recoiling back to pass out combat buffs to your squad. Unfortunately, that dance can lose a lot of its momentum when knock-off Edward Elric protagonist Huxley flips his shounen switch on and takes you back to 2005.

When I muted the music, ignored the story, and threw up an episode of The Rehearsal (opens in new tab) on the other monitor, I found Absolute Tactics’ groove: it’s a comfort game, ideal for when you want to move units across a chessboard battlefield and knock down some knight-shaped pins. 

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