Brutally difficult dual-stick shooting done addictively right!
Two things first:
1) This is a singleplayer review. If you're curious about multiplayer, read another review.
2) I didn't really care for Binding of Isaac, was moderately engaged by Hammerwatch, but mostly don't dabble in dual-stick shooters. What attracts me to this game is how it demands players to strive to a high level of skill while still maintaining the unforgiving difficulty that characterizes classic roguelikes. You're gonna die a lot and it's gonna suck, but the juice is worth the squeeze.
3) If you're ♥♥♥♥♥ing about not being able to shoot diagonally, I recommend you play a SNES game or two and suck it up, big boy.
- Wide variety of monsters and bosses, with nice touches of randomized customizations
- Surprisingly large selection of fully developed character classes
- One metric @#$%-ton of chievies (yeah, c'mon, nobody's going to play 150 hours)
- Sweet procedurally generated level designs with a delicious crunchy pixel-art style
- Loads of relics, potions, and blessings, with a well-integrated dungeon shop
CONS / Devs, please take note:
- Bosses are pretty uneven. Sometimes you'll get hulking brutes you can easily down, sometimes you'll get one-shotted instantly. Would be nice if they were a bit easier, but maybe it gets a bit more reasonable after leveling up a bit.
- PLEASE PUT IN A MINIMAP. I absolutely @#$%ing hate being chased around the map by the last monster of a wave just because I want to find that statue or dungeon that spawned. It's not a huge fix, won't break the game, and trust me, a lot of people will really appreciate it.
~~ Note for Roguelike Aficionados ~~
Stats and skills carry over after death (except temporary boosts, of which there are many varieties). I know what you're thinking, "Son, I am disappoint! I raised you to be a godlike 1337 rogue hardcore permadeath maximum difficulty pro, not some respawning filthy casul!" That's what I thought too, at first. Then after my 50th death without even getting to the second stage (and with a fair bit of skill, mind you!), I realized that I needed those XP levels to just... stick with me. You can probably guess that it does turn into a bit of a grind at that point, but that's where the game's charm kicks in.
Each character class has 4 unique abilities to learn and over twice as many passive skills. I tried the Viking and the Pirate, but ended up playing as a Pyromancer who I named "Solitary Eye". There is something distinctly gratifying about kiting around a bunch of high level monsters who could kill you in 3 or 4 hits and then igniting the ground around you in an enormous inferno while you spray jets of fire from your fingers at the largest beasts and summon meteors to crash down all around from the heavens... and they all die at once. You get XP, wade around in some blood, maybe grab a health orb if you're lucky (you won't need 'em though, you dangerous kiting expert, you), and pray for some of the more powerful basterds to drop keys.
Keys: keys are what you want. But be warned, having a bunch of keys and then finding no loot caves or chests to open, then getting merked by a stray lightning bolt you weren't paying attention to... that's gonna tick you off. A lot. Especially when you find 3 chests in your next play through and no keys. The loot dungeons, puzzle (and insanely dangerous) dungeons, and crypts filled with coins or crazy bosses... mayne, they're just really sexily implemented.
If you DO play the game in hardcore mode, you're probably Steven Hawking. Get a life.
~~ Opinionated Stance ~~
I waited until this game was on sale to buy it because I am below the poverty line. If I were more financially privileged, I would buy this at full price with no hesitation. I don't know much about the devs other than that this is a port that used to be based on a cash shop, but if they manage to smooth out the remnants of cash shop grind features, I would happily buy the DLC as well.
8.5 / 10
for fans of
- frustrating roguelikes
- dual-stick fantasy
A+ would fight giant rat with speech impediment again