Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

[Review] Descenders – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Rage Squid
Published By: No More Robots
Categories: Cycling, Roguelike
Release Date:  11.06.20

This is a new one, a roguelike fashioned in the form of a cycling game. At least from how the career mode plays it seems to me to be a roguelike. A curious combination. There’s been a nice trend of having games about people cycling lately too, which is a nice change of pace after so many motorcycle games.

There’s no real big main menus to think of. You’re just left to chill on your bike in a nice little campground, your hub to say. You can ride around, play on the ramps, go on the buildings, whatever. This is all purely for fun and to goof off though, you’re going to want to go into a career mode to actually start playing the game for real.

The goal, get to the end without bailing. This is the same every time, but the stage variety is different each time, it’s randomized. You’ll also get a random bonus challenge each. Ride dangerously, land perfectly, flip all around, and one I really like, never let go of the acceleration/pedals. You never really have to do each challenge, but it ends up being in your best interest as it can gift you an extra life point to protect you from bail outs and in some cases, helps with sponsorships and boss levels. While the first level isn’t your choice and you’re just dropped in, every level after that lets you choose in a web of levels. Stats such as trick opportunities, steepness, how dangerous they are, etc… are all shown off. Some levels exist purely to heal you once finished, some gift more Reputation points, which eventually turns over into adding a crewmate, the game’s power ups. Some help you with taking less damage with serious bailouts, even you out at high speeds or in the air, or even let you drop from higher heights. Some go a step further and cut back in obstacles or add more trick ramps. Especially with the Boss Jumps, these crew members help tremendously. Once a boss stage is finished, you get access to a new area and a new set of levels with their own obstacles. If you can beat a boss stage’s bonus challenge on three different runs, you can even just get a shortcut to the following area.

In the odd chance you’ve exhausted this mode, you can ride around in a set of bonus stages or even create your own. I can safely say I am terrible at the bonus stages. You get a construction yard with you attempting to get to the top, a collection of WipeOut/Takeshi’s Castle inspired stages, and a grand mountain to name a few. These all test your skins in things that aren’t racing and maneuvering in a straight or mostly straight line and they taught me I am really quite bad at doing so. That said, I love how the game tries to broaden it’s horizons.

You’re gonna start pretty bare with customization items, but slowly earn more and more. Be it from just playing, getting enough Rep, to even being sponsored. Do enough sponsor challenges and you can get a sponsor, do challenges after that for the sponsor and you can unlock gear. My goal was to make the ugliest, gaudiest cyclist ever. All starting with a goofy Santa Hat.

It might have been the first thing you notice, but the game is constantly online unless you turn that off. This isn’t a DRM, but more of something to add to the immersion. You’ll just see other players everywhere you go, which is a really cute touch when you see how they’re all equally as skilled (or not skilled) as you. Nothing you do or that they do can inhibit your gameplay, but I noticed in a few stages, it makes the framerate jittery, so if it’s not entirely important to you, just turn off the online mode. If you want to play with real people willingly though, the game does have a decent multiplayer mode.

There’s something wonderful that a roguelike can be made with anything nowadays, especially a game where you ride bikes down hills. It doesn’t help that the game is pretty fun on top of that.


Buy Now: $24.99 Digital – $39.99 Physical



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