I am a massive fan of indie video games as they are often some of the most creative when it comes to story, art, and game mechanics. Indie developer Flying Oak Games offers the latter with their latest game ScourgeBringer which I had the pleasure of trying out on PC Early Access. This fast-paced free-moving rogue-like platformer is a mix of clean platforming and fluid combat that utilizes mouse controls to create a unique and sometimes frantic gameplay experience.
ScourgeBringer follows the protagonist Kyhra as she explores a post-apocalyptic world filled with weird robots and bug-like enemies. The game doesn’t really give you a lot to go off story-wise as the main point of the plot is that Kyhra has to uncover the mystery of her past. However, this doesn’t really take away from the overall experience of ScourgeBringer because the main draw is the combat and platforming.
Controls are relatively simple and straightforward, with the player being able to perform the basic move, dash, double jump, melee, and shoot options. The complexity of the gameplay comes from how the mouse is utilized in combat.
Players control the direction the character dashes, melee attacks, and shoots based on the position of the mouse cursor, which allows for you to effectively stay in the air comboing enemies without ever touching the ground. While taking some time to get used to, eventually I got the hang of combat, and it felt very satisfying completing rooms perfectly without getting hit or touching the ground.
The rogue-like elements for ScourgeBringer are done well. When you clear a room, there is a chance that you earn an item drop that can increase your damage, max health, or a variety of other boons. You also gain droplets of blood from enemies that you can use to purchase buffs and weapons. You lose all of these when you die as is typical of rogue-like games, but death is not the end as you can purchase skills form a skill-tree that offer abilities to improve Kyhra to strengthen her for future runs.
Dying never felt like too big of a setback since combat is fun, and you can clear rooms very quickly due to how quick combat is meant to be. On top of that, some of the skill tree abilities you unlock offer cool features that encourage comboing enemies.
There is a lot to like about ScourgeBringer, and there are only really two things that fell short for me. During my time with the game, I didn’t feel like there was enough variety when it came to the items that dropped/were available for purchase, and the story didn’t seem all too interesting to me. However, the combat system is where ScourgeBringer really shines, and it is executed so well that the two things I mentioned didn’t really matter too much to me.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with ScourgeBringer and plan to continue playing since it’s an enjoyable and satisfying game. It rewards practicing and improving, and every run had me noticeably getting better and better, which I think is essential for rogue-like titles. This adventure already feels great despite still being worked on, and I am excited to see how it develops further.
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