With roguelikes akin to Supergiant Games’ Hades garnering essential acclaim in a crowded style, ScourgeBringer makes an attempt to make a reputation for itself with a barely totally different strategy. Primarily developed by two-person French studio Flying Oak Games, ScourgeBringer is an action-platformer that avoids the glut of choices offered by titles like The Binding of Isaac to as a substitute encourage mastery of its controls. The game succeeds on this, nevertheless it feels constrained by its adherence to different roguelike staples.
ScourgeBringer is intense, even by style requirements. Players are dropped into an apocalyptic world the place a mysterious technological bastion has worn out a lot of humanity. A messiah-like lady named Kyrha with fiery white hair trains her entire life and is shipped to redeem humanity by clearing an Ordeal inside ScourgeBringer, whose chambers change every time she’s killed and introduced again.
This set-up is serviceably intriguing, with the air of a grimdark Horizon: Zero Daybreak within the divide between ragged, tribal people and their technological menace. Kyrha meets her predecessors in ScourgeBringer, now shopkeepers or guides, and there may be lore in deserted journey logs. In an interview with Game Rant, Flying Oak Games co-founder Thomas Altenburger stated a driving narrative was necessary, and the duo employed Narrative Designer Pia Jacqmart to flesh out its world. The game evokes the old-school aesthetic of Tremendous Metroid, a comparability particularly apt within the first realm, the Entangled Ingress, the place eerie background music accompanies any space not embroiled in fight.
Nevertheless, story isn’t on the forefront. It primarily serves as a justification for why the lead character is so bodily adept. Kyrha enters ScourgeBringer with a katana and Blast.32, a robotic companion and revolver that may rework into totally different firearms. The game is a 2D platformer wherein Players journey between procedurally-generated rooms round 5 foremost realms; each room containing one-to-two waves of enemies with various patterns and weaknesses.
Traversing feels a bit like Useless Cells and makes use of related permeable ledges, however Kyrha has a floaty soar, runs up partitions, and dashes by means of the air. She will be able to sprint, melee assault, and fireplace Blast.32 in full 360 levels whereas shifting. Repeatedly slashing her sword makes Kyrha fall slower, whereas jumps and expertise usually replenish after assaults ala The Messenger. There’s additionally a wholesome dose of Hyper-Mild Drifter in that ammo replenishes as Kyrha hits along with her blade.
Players acquire blood from enemies, which can be utilized throughout a run to purchase therapeutic gadgets, new firearms, and stat buffs; the game’s foremost collectables. Many profitable runs are constructed on incremental five-to-ten p.c buffs for stats like sword power or stun likelihood which might be earned from totally exploring every realm, discovering secret chambers, and taking over bosses or problem rooms (which give Players four-to-five waves of enemies as a substitute of two).
Whereas roguelikes akin to Enter the Gungeon present scores of instruments to shake up every run, ScourgeBringer solely has alternate gun sorts and blessings. One blessing from an honest pool might be chosen out of three choices in every realm, every conferring passive talents like boosting harm when low on well being.
Mini-bosses (Guardians) and the realm boss (Judges) moreover give Decide Blood that can be utilized on a talent tree. The talent tree is what makes ScourgeBringer shine, as upgrades add assaults to Kyrha’s arsenal or modify how she interacts with the world. A few of these really feel important, akin to a talent that lets Players mirror enemy bullets in any route utilizing their heavy slam. These might be deactivated for individuals who desire the minimalist design.
Whereas expertise assist the game get extra advanced with choices, they do not essentially make it simpler. ScourgeBringer is a tough Game, with each realm like a warfare of attrition because of low beginning well being, waves of enemies, and excessive store prices (together with one which makes use of well being as foreign money). Encounters shift its music into excessive gear, with the primary realm’s Metroid ambiance giving solution to Doom’s heavy steel. Every realm has its personal vibe, like a swampy chemical plant with banjo tunes, however all of them retain this vitality dichotomy.
Precision controls make the game really feel like an egame, as Players use their rising prowess to enter a move state, pouncing from enemy to enemy, racking up combos to extend blood haul with out taking harm. It is satisfying to turn out to be a seasoned ScourgeBringer participant, with crunchy visible results like bosses exploding into clouds of blood droplets denoting hard-earned triumphs.
Game Rant was offered an Early Entry copy to arrange for the interview with Altenburger, which up to date to the discharge version at launch. For comparability, it took 20 runs to beat the primary realm’s Decide in Early Entry, and just one on the total launch. A few of this may be attributed to enhancements and added mechanics, nevertheless it’s a powerful indicator of how ScourgeBringer encourages mastery.
By way of controls, the game is well-designed however feels caught within the center floor between PC and console viability. The purpose of a mouse results in unbelievable assault precision, however it may be awkward to activate expertise like dashes with one’s pinky (utilizing default settings) if Players aren’t used to traumatic hand-eye coordination. Having assaults mapped to controller buttons looks like it might clear up this consolation difficulty at the price of precision.
The egames comparability additionally feels correct as a result of just some will probably discover it value attaining a high-tier degree of play. It is satisfying to turn out to be good on the Game, however not notably enjoyable to undergo it as soon as each enemy sample has been discovered, because the concentrate on management mastery leaves subsequent rounds little to distinguish themselves. Solely a handful of creatures exist in every realm, and the identical Decide guards their exits. The music will get outdated quick, notably with the Entangled Ingress’ jarring dissonance being the most typical to expertise.
This repetitiveness paradoxically will get worse the additional one will get. Encouraging Players to clear the whole lot for added buffs does assist construct mastery, and there are enjoyable threat/reward parts to choices like battling a Guardian early for buffs. Nevertheless, it is time-consuming and monotonous in early realms particularly, and as Players unlock expertise that allow them re-roll retailers and carry blessings between rounds, they’ll pigeonhole themselves into “successful” methods that finally slim the scope of every spherical.
None of that is unhealthy per se; there are Players who will love a Game that is mechanics-driven with a excessive talent ceiling. However this may not work for everybody, to not point out these with disabilities. Even appreciated accessibility choices like auto-attacking and infinite well being do not completely negate the game’s core issue as a repetitive action-platformer.
Its supposed viewers can also discover navigating stage hazards can gradual the frenetic tempo to a crawl at instances, and end in seemingly unfair deaths. The Pac-Man gimmick within the ultimate foremost realm, with partitions that allow Players, enemies, and bullets move by means of to the alternative facet, can be disorienting sufficient that it may not really feel value getting ok to succeed in the tip.
All that being stated, Flying Oak Games has expressed its intent so as to add content going ahead, which can repair a number of the repetitiveness. The soar in content between the Early Entry version and the ultimate launch was strikingly optimistic. But even when these modifications don’t broaden the game’s area of interest enchantment, there’s something particular right here for individuals who need a mechanical expertise that may deliver a few fluid, satisfying move state. For everybody else, the game ought to be a blast to observe at GDQ.