Developer: Flying Oak Games, E-Studio
Publisher: Dear Villagers
Genre: Indie Action-Adventure Roguelike
Available on: PC
Version Tested: PC
Official Site: scourgebringer.com
Release Date: February 6th, 2020
Throughout a lot of my childhood and teen years, I never really got into 2D games. I was introduced to a lot of first-person and third-person shooters as a kid, so a lot of my interests were tailored towards that. As of recent, though, I’ve spent a lot more time branching out, and 2D games are a part of that. Most recently, that’s included Fez and Enter the Gungeon (which was a blast…I’m sorry). I was a little skeptical going into ScourgeBringer, though, as it wasn’t a game that piqued my interest at first. After spending several hours working through the game, though, I’m happy to say that I was completely wrong.
In case you haven’t already heard of ScourgeBringer, it’s a 2D action roguelike published by Dear Villagers. They’re best known for games like Edge of Eternity, Hover, and A Normal Lost Phone. You take on the role of Kyhra in a post-apocalyptic landscape. A mysterious entity has wrecked the lands and as the deadliest warrior in your clan, it’s your job to stop it. You’ll travel to many different worlds and fight increasingly engaging enemies, using your quick thinking to approach each room.
Speaking of worlds, the game has done well at creating a distinction between the current three lands. Not only are there unique, well-designed pixel art backgrounds, but there’s also music and enemy types to accompany that. It makes you feel like you’re in a completely different area, crafted with a lot of love and polish. Whoever was behind the art and sound of this game show that they have a lot of passion for their work, and deserve a lot of credit.
There are a few things I wish were added in that department, though, which I’ll quickly go over. For one, there should be a lot more room designs when the game leaves Early Access. What they have is good, but to build upon that would go a long way. The backgrounds should change more as well, as having similar ones on the same world gets a little repetitive. Not something you’re going to notice much as a player, but it would go that extra mile.
Despite how well designed ScourgeBringer’s atmosphere is, though, the gameplay is where things begin to shine. The attacks on the surface are quite basic, with only a few moves that you can do. What makes it more interesting is the combos you can pull off and the skills that enhance your attacks. You can combo together different attacks with your gun, do combo attacks to get more blood (money), and many more. It opens up a lot of room for creativity, especially given the skills and passives you can acquire.
The great enemy designs improve this. A significant amount of the enemies feel threatening, forcing you to have to think quickly if you are to pass a room. The enemies also differ a lot from world to world, getting more difficult as you progress. Given the number of games I’ve played with an unfortunate difficulty curve, it was nice seeing it done successfully. You’ll approach each world with no knowledge of the enemies and not a lot of skills, but as you play, you learn their patterns and get the upgrades to deal with them correctly. It’s a gameplay loop that I never felt got old despite how tough enemies looked at the start.
I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a few criticisms I had for gameplay, though. Some enemies, for example, never really seem to pose a threat to you. Throughout the ten hours, I played of the game, a couple of enemies only ever hit me three or four times. I understand that some need to be easy to kill to be extra income for the player, but I should know what their attacks are. Thankfully this was primarily in the first area and didn’t persist in the other two areas, but it’s still somewhere that I feel should be looked at.
Outside of the enemies, there’s also the amount of content that is somewhat low. There’s currently only three worlds and a handful of different guns & Gifts of Blood (passives). This got me through nine hours, which isn’t bad for a $15 game, but it would be nice to see more. Thankfully though, double the content has been promised in about six to eight months with the full release. I’m personally excited about the content and will be returning to see what’s improved.
Finally, I’d like to touch on ScourgeBringer’s options menu. This game does a pretty fair amount in terms of options, including a pretty unique piece on the difficulty. Instead of having your usual difficulty settings of Easy, Medium, and Hard, you can change the game speed. By default, it’s on 100%, which was used for this review, but you can turn it down if things feel too fast or your reaction timing is on the lower end. I doubt many players will use this, but it’s useful for those that want it for sure. Overall, no outstanding issues with the options.
Verdict: If you’re a fan of fast-paced roguelikes with excellent pixel art and a good score, you have to play ScourgeBringer. There’s a lot of love and polish here with great mechanics, a high skill ceiling, and lots of challenging enemies. When the game gets additional content in half a year, this is going to be one of the best roguelikes on the market.
- Incredibly fun
- Finely tuned
- Well designed art
- Intense score
- Good polish
- Great range of options
- Lack of content
- Certain enemy designs