Developed By: Flying Oak Published By: Plug In Digital, Eastasiasoft Categories: Roguelike, Platformer, Action Release Date: 10.21.20
You know how Batman The Animated Series had all of it’s backgrounds on black paper as opposed to the norm of white paper and was dubbed Dark Deco, Scourge Bringer gives off those Dark Deco feels that despite not being new, feels unique and novel enough to be more eyecatching than the pastel pallet that floods the indie scene.
Scourge Bringer is however at it’s core, something that is not novel in the indie scene or on the Switch, it’s a roguelike. It’s more action game than RPG, it’s fast, and the music literally rocks, something that not enough roguelikes all have together though. From the moves they let you have, you can never once touch the ground while fighting, something I absolutely love. You fight four groups of enemies with quite the variety in each. Xenos being the small common threats to quickly destroy, Alpha Xenos being bigger, and more detailed versions of those, now more of an actual threat and that take quite the beating, Guardians, the game’s minibosses, which to my experience can be mostly optional, but are well worth the time for the loot they drop, and finally Judges, the game’s bosses. Majority of the rooms that host the Xenos purely get the job done as arenas, but do feel like they start to blend in until you get to a new area after defeating one of the Judges.
The game is fun, but doesn’t really open up until you meddle with the game’s literal skill tree. Being able to use your strong Smash move to knock back enemy projectiles, while also recharging your own projectile, the BLAST.32. Allowing you to have a strong slam attack when you need to quickly attack an enemy from below. Even fairly typical upgrades like more health and fast travel. I’m usually opposed to when games lock behind all of the exciting moves behind upgrades, as you almost always just feel weak in the beginning (see Astral Chain), but Scourge Bringer is fun with or without these upgrades, they just make the game even more fun.
The game has three sorts of currencies. Blood, earned from fighting, the most common. Judge Blood, which you’ll need to have for the Skill Tree. And lastly…your own health. Blood and health is used at stores led by Greed and Lefamu respectively to heal, have upgrades for a run, even changing the weapon type for your BLAST.32. There’s always a bit of irony to giving up 2HP to raise my max HP by 2. Of course, this isn’t the only way to get upgrades, as you’ll occasionally get them from enemy drops, you’ll always get them from Guardians, a nice little person named Peppy gifts them to you, some rooms just have one laying around, and challenge rooms that host more than the typical one or two waves reward them at the end. How are the actual upgrades though. Well, typical is a good word for them. There’s a lot of stat upgrades, which I don’t think I even noticed half the time. The upgrades I liked were the ones that required you to do specific things to boost your stats more and more. I mentioned not touching the ground earlier, and there’s a powerup that rewards skillful play like that. I love when games incentivize you to play a little unorthodox. You can also track down Altars of Blood once per area, these give you the meatier assistance and are absolutely free. My favorite of which is giving you double your blood count or giving you Judge Blood for how many spots on the skill tree you’ve upgraded.
With how swift gameplay can be, the music having a bit of a thrash feel is right at home. When playing an action game, having any sort of metal as the soundtrack usually fits right at home, it just gets you in the mood to play and play aggressively…though it might be a good idea to sit things calmly at times, especially when attempting to deflect attacks and fighting bosses, as playing mindlessly can just lead to a quick death.
While the story of “mysterious aliens invade and a chosen one must fight back” is a bit generic, the game is so stylish in how it presents itself, it doesn’t really bother me. The titular Scourge Bringer being a mysterious entity does contextualize the randomness of everything though, which I like.
It’s challenging, it’s fast, and it feels good. While I wish some parts of the game didn’t feel like they were in the background, it has what I love to see in action games
Buy Now: $16.99 Digital – $29.99 Physical
*Game Download Code supplied for review purposes