Kick Some ASCII
Platform - PS4, PC
Developer- Stormcloud Games
Publisher- Stormcloud Games
Release Date- 09/08/2016
Review code supplied by Stormcloud Games
With perma-death, weapon crafting, potion brewing and an onslaught of enemies to face, can you survive Brut@l?
Brut@l is a procedurally generated multi level dungeon crawler that you must hack and slash your way through. Your main goal is to get as far into the monster filled dungeon as possible without dying. You start this quest off very basic with you bare fists to punch the monsters to pieces but you can craft new weapons using the ASCII characters that you pick up through out the dungeon levels. Before you can even think about crafting weapons you will need to find a recipe first which will tell you which characters you need. This is where a problem arises – characters are randomly placed in the dungeon so you may end up completing the first few levels without a weapon at all! This can be difficult but this does encourage you to explore every corner of each level of the dungeon. You can just run through each level to the end but this removes the fun and will make future levels very difficult. It is your choice though.
Another random feature of the game is the potion system. Like the ASCII characters, you will be picking up raw ingredients that can be used to create potions. The twist though is that they are just labeled by colour at first and not what they do. The only way to find out what they do is by using them. Some will have positive effects, such as extra damage but there are a few that have negative effects like blindness. The first go is always a risk but once you know what they do, each will be labelled for future reference. If you do not fancy trying random potions on yourself you can always throw them at enemies but what you see as a positive for yourself will always be a negative when applied to an enemy.
Brut@l does offers multiple classes to play as; Ranger, Mage, Warrior or Amazon. They all have different skills unlocked from the start but as you level up you can craft your perfect character. Want a warrior that has incredible ranged attacks? You can do this with no problem at all. Your character has three weapon slots that can be changed on the fly. This allows for quick tactical changes to your play style if you are struggling with certain enemy types.
The gameplay is very simple – you hack, slash, dodge and block. Simple it may be, it is very satisfying to play especially when you have a crowd of enemies around. Dodging is a work of art in Brut@l. It is smooth, responsive and will easily be your go to move to get yourself out of trouble. There is nothing more hilarious than sliding under a larger enemy and smashing them in the back. The only pitfall I discovered was that you can easily miss an attack and end up dancing around enemies. You do not have to struggle through the dungeon alone though – grab a good friend, some snacks and enjoy some co-op dungeon crawling on your couch.
Brut@l is heavily influenced by the rouge-like adventure games that released in the 80’s, such as Moria and this is very apparent in the presentation department. Each level of the dungeon is made up of simple ASCII characters with certain ones representing different elements. Even the pools of liquid, brightly coloured they may be, contain characters that represented them in the original games. Even your character dons the infamous @ symbol on their shield. And if you want to feel all nostalgic, you can press the touch pad and you will get to see the entire map in it’s 2D glory!
On top of the main game there is the excellent creation tool that allows you to create your very own dungeon filled with traps and monsters than you can either play through yourself or share it to the world.
Brutal is a perfect tribute to Rouge like adventures of time gone by. Fans will live all the tiny details that made these special in the first place. The combat does feel like you are skating on ice sometimes but it is so satisfying the nevertheless. The randomness and blind brewing of potions may put a few players off as you can really never plan ahead but this is what makes Brutal stand out. It may not be perfect in every department but it is a hell of a lot of fun and isn’t that is why we play games?
Who Should Buy This
- Rouge-like fans
- Players who enjoy a challenge
- Players who love that "one more go" feeling from a game
Who Should Avoid
- Dislikers of Perma-Deaths
- Players who do not like to take a risk
- The art style is really not for everyone
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Mad Scientist with a passion for gaming!