ScourgeBringer is an early access game on steam by Flying Oaks Games That emphasizes twitch gameplay and fluid combat while rewarding that effort with the ability to make your character stronger as they continue to battle demons in an ever changing world full of demons. Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself though. Let’s break down what makes, and at times breaks, this game.
This game really shines in art direction. The pixel work is a glorious throwback to the 8/16bit aesthetic with the added bonus of a modern games limitless palate for it’s canvas. That said the colors are more muted save for character and enemy sprites which in turn 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.
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 too it and let’s face it: did you really need something robust for an arena fighter? Doom sure didn’t and neither does ScourgeBringer.
ScourgeBringer is a randomly generated map explorer meets arena fighter. In this regard it does fairly well. Animations are fluid, combat is polished and rewarding for those who learn it’s finer intricacies, and you get to restock via challenges and a store. There is also an experience system that awards you points for a skill tree to further develop your character. Each area has a mini boss to fight that unlocks the main boss of that floor. It’s very Binding of Issac only with emphasis on sword play.
With all these great things about the game I must sadly admit that is where the positives end. First a minor gripe: It’s only one save file. There is no way to say purchase this game for your family and separate progress for each user. The only known workaround is to change the name of the save files to reflect which one is to be loaded on boot up. Again it’s a minor gripe and with the games price of around $15 depending on your country It’s something I can easily live with. However the most glaring issue is with it’s pacing. It is a gauntlet out the gate and there are several areas to explore each time. If you somehow fail one of your attempts, you will be sent back to the hub world to start from the beginning once more. For a game that focuses on arena style gameplay it’s a huge step back in game design to not have the option to save that progress and quick travel later. No ability to continue where you left off; just some points to give to the alter for some skills and another go at it. think dark souls but instead of continuing where you left off when you die, you go back to the very beginning and now everything has changed. It’s a frustrating choice that could be easily remedied by having a separate mode or difficulty that separates this mechanic and offer the normal mode to be more user friendly and offer checkpoints and fast travel between sections. Definitely not pick up and play friendly like the overall concept and gameplay would have you believe. It’s one flaw in a sea of perfection that sadly eclipses it’s many accolades.
Do I recommend ScourgeBringer? If it was on sale I’d certainly give it a look but the way it is as far as accessibility is concerned… There are other options that tick the boxes but sadly nothing ticks all the boxes the way it does. An overall fun and unique experience ruined by a lack of checkpoints. Hopefully The developer takes this as an opportunity to correct it’s biggest flaw and make this diamond in the rough worth putting on your finger.