Title: Warm Snow
Release Date: January, 18 2022
Reviewed On: PC
Warm Snow by BadMudStudio is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t judge a game by its name. No, Warm Snow is not just water. It’s actually a very descriptive title. A strange phenomenon occurred in June during the 27th year of the Longwu Era. Snow fell from the skies, which was warm to the touch and did not melt. Those that breathed in the “Warm Snow” lost their minds and were turned into monsters. With a premise like that, I couldn’t bring myself to open up this review with a bad pun.
Warm Snow is a Roguelike action game set in a dark eastern fantasy world. You play as Bi-an, a warrior on a mission to take down the Five Great Clans and restore order to his world afflicted by the Warm Snow. Think Hades set in the East if you’re unfamiliar with Rouge-Like’s. This top-down 2.5 d Hack-n-slash features procedurally generated levels.
Similar to the aforementioned Hades, players are tasked with defeating all enemies in the area before choosing a branching path that contains its own unique weapons or power-ups. Again, each room is filled to the brim with monsters, but players can collect passive and active power-ups along the way to make encounters easier up to the final boss of the level.
The gameplay feels crisp with tight hitboxes. A significant part of the combat arsenal allows you to utilize flying swords. Flurry mode opens up new combative options turning the swords into a ranged weapon. When executed, the sword can be placed and recalled, so keeping track of the sword’s location when they drop and the timing until you can use the recall again is imperative to master for greater effect.
The other ability is hidden strike; this mode is more effective for melee-style runs and boosts your attack combat. There are three other Sects that change up playstyles and weapon abilities and enhancements. Another integral aspect to taking down your enemies is using the Break system. A red symbol will appear upon inflicting enough damage to an enemy, and the next hit will deal significantly more damage.
Throughout the game, you find Fragments of Truth. These collectables not only tell the story and lore of the adventure but are used upon death to visit a lovely and prominent smoking ghost merchant to re-incarnate with permanent boosters, abilities, and strength. Further, your weapons skills can be imbued with magical properties such as lightning, fire, and poison by collecting artifacts.
The sheer number of loadout combinations is staggering. Weapons all have their own rarity, ranging from common to impossible status. There are numerous skins with different attributes, qualities, and enhancements. But they all play as swords, so that variety may be limited in that aspect.
There are also Relics and artifacts that you pick up that only last for that single run and are lost upon death. Your character has four skill slots to use these Relics: Core, Power, Agility, and Skill. There are over ten different relics, and each relic has four other uses in these slots. In addition, each has additional attributes depending on which power-up slot you use. The number of options is almost overwhelming. There are also legendary relics available, and upon attaining a new relic, you can switch and repurpose each relic as many times as you see fit.
The action is frantic and addicting. While the difficulty, in the beginning, seems slightly overwhelming, you are soon granted access to multiple healing gourds that replenish nearly half your health, and your permanent additions to the upgrade tree enhance your attack, HP, and gourd abilities. Plus, right before each boss fight, you get to visit the Merchant, where you can buy health, legendary weapons, and relics.
However, the gameplay never really feels as rewarding as others in the genre. There are clear influences on the gameloop, but the narrative doesn’t isn’t something to invest in as much as the act of clearing dungeons is. Some localization errors contributed to this, but this didn’t impact my experience. This is due mainly to the high difficulty that continually tested my skills across the multi-stage boss fights and dozens of enemy-filled rooms.
While Warm Snow may not have the polish that other roguelikes feature, there’s plenty to keep you playing for hours on end. The combat system gives players freedom during encounters with rewards that offer a deep level of character customization, hoping that your next run will last a little longer. I’d call this game a hidden gem, but don’t let it be hidden from you for too long if you have a roguelike itch to scratch.
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