There’s nothing quite like slashing and dashing your way through enemies in a game, especially when it comes to roguelites. When done well, it feels so effortless yet ever so satisfying — no matter how many times you’ve done it. With that said, roguelites have followed a particular formula lately that’s as follows: Pixel-art art style, tough-as-nails gameplay, and procedurally generated dungeons. For me, I’m not in the vocal but small group that’s been shouting, “All roguelites are the same!”, but I have noticed that I’ve had a tough time finding one that really excites me.
However, at GDC 2019, I believe I found a roguelite that I definitely need to keep an eye on, and that’s Dear Villagers and two-person development team duo Flying Oak Games’ upcoming free-moving roguelite platformer ScourgeBringer.
ScourgeBringer has players take on the role of Kyhra, a fiery white and blue hair, ninja-like female character who has a badass katana and a deadly gun in her arsenal. It’s up to the player to help Kyhra explore the unknown in a massive procedurally generated dungeon, and to slash, blast, dash, and smash her way through ancient machines, which are all guarding the seal of her past, and quite possibly, the redemption of humanity. These machines have been spreading something called the “Scourge” which has been killing off citizens. During the GDC 2019 closed-door demo, no further story snippets were revealed, but the publisher did mention that ScourgeBringer will have mysteries to uncover and tons of lore to explore, like mementos of previous explorers that failed to make out of the dungeon alive.
Survival is of the fittest in ScourgeBringer as each area players set foot in requires players to essentially fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Enemies will spawn at a moment’s notice, head right towards the player, and even fire projectiles that need to be quickly be avoided. Also, the game’s giant bosses bring on quite a fight. It’s easy to say that ScourgeBringer isn’t a game where players can just mosey about without any problem at all, it’s a frantic thrill ride that will test put any player’s roguelite skills to the ultimate test. Death is inevitable, but during my time with the game, I never felt that it was ever too “cheap” or “unfair” — I simply didn’t have the skills yet to truly survive.
While ScourgeBringer is a pretty hardcore roguelite, it’s simple and fluid controls are without a doubt easy to learn. Rapidly dashing, wall running, slashing, and shooting in the game is as smooth as butter. Getting a hang of the game’s movement was no problem for me at all, and I quickly fell in love with it. Being slick and deadly is clearly what will draw in players to ScourgeBringer and will most likely lead to some epic speed-runs. But novice players shouldn’t avoid the game, however, as the publisher did mention that the developer intends for ScourgeBringer to be enjoyed by all players, so we’ll see how that exactly plays out with the game’s full release.
Even though there’s a lot I like about ScourgeBringer, the weakest area for the game would have to be its art style since I think it doesn’t bring anything new to the “indie pixel art table”, so to speak. With that said, the visual effects, like the quick flash that occurs when dashing, are very well done, and it also helps that the game has a killer, high-intensity soundtrack that matches the game’s overall feel so well.
It seems like ScourgeBringer will be coming in hot into the roguelite scene when it releases on PC and consoles sometime soon. With its fast-paced action gameplay, fluid and easy-to-pick-up controls, and rad soundtrack, I think fans of the roguelite genre and even those curious about what roguelites are all about should make sure to check out ScourgeBringer.
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