Scourge Bringer Review
Game Octane was given a copy of this game for use in this review. All content contained within the article are the sole thoughts and opinion of the author and has not been influenced or doctored in any way.
A long time has passed since I first got my hands on Scourge Bringer, the randomly generated, arena based, exploration game by Flying Oaks Games. Now out of early access and released for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Windows, Linux, and Mac, has the test of time brought a more enjoyable experience or is it much the same? Read on to find out!
*Since some aspects of the game were unchanged, as well as some of my opinions, portions of this review will be word for word taken from the first impressions article. I made sure to replay Scourge Bringer thoroughly before coming to write this review and that effort will be seen in the article. Game Octane was also sent a copy of the game for review however all thoughts are of my own and were not influenced in anyway by anyone.
Scourge Bringer really shines in art direction. The pixel work is a glorious throwback to the 8/16bit aesthetic with the added flare of modern gaming’s buttery smooth animation and limitless palate. That said the colors are more muted except for character and enemy sprite. This makes it much easier to differentiate what you can interact with.
Music is also a highlight despite it’s simplicity. it helps with immersion and it lets you know when you need the adrenaline or if it’s cool to take a break. That is if by “break” you mean “A sense of unease despite telling yourself it’s safe”. leaving the music on, while writing key points as I played, certainly kept me itching to check back despite knowing the room was cleared.
As for the story? It’s simple enough. Something shows up, it’s a bad thing. a clan of people spend generations fighting it, you are the last hope. That’s really all there is to it and let’s face it: did you really need a sophisticated back story for slaying hoards of monsters in countless, connected, tiny arenas? DOOM sure didn’t and neither does Scourge Bringer. A
As you are composed of about 90% illuminated hair you might be surprised to know the little guy you control is in fact, a acrobatic assassin that prefers to kill out in the open rather than the shadows. You can shoot, you can stab, you can slash like a man possessed. anything goes when routing your enemies. Are they far away? give em the ol’ dash attack and make them suffer. Run up the walls if you have to! Did you kill the monster too fast? No problem! Just dash to the next one and give them their eviction notice. They come in waves anyways so you might as well fly while you make them cry. Overall a pretty satisfying combat experience. Just be careful because mindless hack and slashing will find your hurting real fast. The monsters are kind enough to let you throw the first punch though so take a deep breath and calculate your assault.
One particular change I enjoy is health items drop more frequently. It used to be much harder to heal and as such being very careful was far more important than running in, guns blazing, which I struggled very hard not to do thanks to the frantic and adrenaline pumping direction the game pulled you in. Now it’s OK to channel your inner berserker and trash the place in style and messy grace. Difficulty has also been adjusted as I swear enemies have a different amount of hits needed to be slain then before and the barrage of waves early game has been lessened, new players will certainly enjoy how much more intuitive getting accustomed to the gameplay is thanks to these subtle but far reaching improvements. That said Scourge Bringer is still very much a relentless barrage of of pain for those uninitiated and careless in their movements. You character will die and often. Luckily that is part of the core game mechanics as the hub world Allows you to spend your collected blood on skill tree goodies to make subsequent attempts easier and more rewarding. Just bare in mind that loosing means resetting your progress in that area and the rooms will be randomized again. Luckily the polish i wrote about earlier makes this far more manageable than when it was still in early access.
Basically what it sums up to is: Exploring a randomized area, kicking a whole lot of ass, possibly buying items from the merchant that somehow beats you to every new place you come across, taking out the mini-boss to open the main boss room, and if you are lucky, maybe you win and move on to the next area. If you don’t you can get stronger and try again. What more could you want? Ok; maybe not be so brutally hard but at the same time it’s kinda endearing.C+
Scourge Bringer went from a very promising, albeit frustrating experience I dropped after an hour to a game I want to keep coming back to. A true testament to holding judgement on a game before it it’s finished. It also illustrates my biggest pet peeve with early access: it can paint a real bad picture in your mind from it’s lack of polish or things that eventually would be added or omitted. Luckily the game is fully realized now and if you want a quick and satisfying evolved arcade experience, Scourge Bringer is here to bring the SCOURGE of your boredom. B