15/11/2020

๐Ÿ•ท️ Scourgebringer | Switch Review by Dr Congo Fighting | "Get ready to find out a bit about a hard but rewarding rogue-lite platformer" ๐Ÿ•ท️ @FlyingOakGames #IndieGames #GameDev

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Pull up a seat, charge your joy-cons, and get ready to find out a bit about a hard but rewarding rogue-lite platformer.

The game opens with some contextual backstory. Your character, Kyrha, is a highly trained agent of death, armed with a sword, a little droid-cum-revolver called Blast.32, and a haircut last seen adorning the bonce of Lion-O from Thundercats.

I don’t think I’ll be spoiling much if I tell you that Kyrha is tasked with saving her world through dispatching a large number of enemies in an attempt to complete “The Ordeal”. Or that many have tried and failed. And of course, that she’s going to be better at it than her predecessors – because you’ll be doing the driving. Who’s a clever little thing? That’s right - you are. 

Go and get yourself some biscuits, you’re worth it. 

Now, just in case you’re getting caught up in the messianic complex, or think that like John Wick, you’re going to hand everyone their backsides whilst sustaining minimal damage and avenging your dog, hold on for a second. Because that isn’t going to happen. You’re going to die. A lot. And so far I haven’t seen a dog anywhere.

In each procedurally generated map, there are several rooms. In each room, bad guys. In waves. You need to defeat them to open the door to the next room, so let the flashing of the blade and the spitting of bullets begin! Well, kinda. 

This really isn’t a game for button mashers. 

Scourgebringer is a hard game that rewards you for the effort you’ll need to put in to master the controls. It requires skill. You start with a measly 8HP, so if you fail to manage your resources well enough, poor little Kyrha is going to have a bad time. Repeatedly.  

Learning the attack patterns of your enemies, moving accurately and striking with the right attack at the right time are absolutely key, and you’re probably going to want some upgrades to help ease things along. 

Thankfully, each time you successfully slay an enemy, Kyrha will collect some blood, which she can use as currency with merchants she finds in some rooms. These merchants are characters who have previously attempted “The Ordeal”, and serve up little bits of narrative to help the story along. 

Spend your accrued blood on better guns, healing items, and buffs to give yourself a stronger chance of survival. But the upgrade fun doesn’t end there. Every time you respawn, you’ll arrive at the foot of the upgrade tree (really, it’s an actual tree). Presuming you’ve survived your previous runs long enough to kill a boss, you’ll have got your tiny 8-bit hands on some Judge Blood. And this is where you spend it. 

Upgrades here are very useful – you might want to acquire more base HP, or the ability to reflect bullets back at enemies, or the ability to fast travel between rooms you’ve already unlocked in the current level – there are plenty to choose from and you’ll need to kill a bunch of bosses to unlock them.

And that killing is fun! 

At first, your move set is somewhat limited. Kyrha can double jump as well as dash jump to reach higher spots. Slashing with her katana slows her descent and allows her to almost float in place, dealing damage to the variety of nasties in front of her. That’s to say nothing of Blast.32, whose long-range shots help take out the bad guys from a distance. Once you start to put it all together, that’s where the game really begins to breathe. 

The enemies, perhaps unsurprisingly, become more varied as you progress through the levels towards your goal of completing “The Ordeal” – and you’ll need every hard-earned skill at your disposal to dispatch them. 

Walk into a room, assess the threats you’re dealing with, and open the correct can of whoop-ass. Avoid damage. Deal it back out in spades. Get it wrong, and try again. 

In fact, maybe I was wrong about the whole John Wick thing. 

Because much like him, with the right upgrades, a lot of training, a little helping of luck and some smart manoeuvring, maybe you could channel a bit of Baba Yaga and save the day (if not a dog), after all.

8/10

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