Scourgebringer is an aggressively fast-paced platformer roguelite built around very fast and fluid combat. If you’re into going into rooms and absolutely slaughtering everything that stands in your way, and feeling like a badass while doing it, this is definitely a game to look into.
You play as the blue-haired sword-wielding Kyhra and are tasked with going into the Monolith and putting a stop to the apocalyptic invasion on Earth it’s causing. Along the way, you’ll meet several characters that have been trapped in the Monolith for an undescribed amount of time, with no ability to get out, even though severe injury or death. You’re the only one that can save Earth, and you’ll do it by hacking and slashing your way through the Monolith’s many areas, from sewers full of gas-spitting pipes to the chamber of living walls.
There is a skill tree system that you have to use to unlock most of your attacks and skills. Luckily it only takes a few hours to unlock 100% of the tree and I find its’ addition to be kind of unnecessary.
Your moveset (once you have all of it unlocked that is) provides for a decent arsenal of attacks to seamlessly tear through enemies. Your light attacks are very quick and function as your primary, and you have a smash attack that can stun enemies and reflect bullets.
There’s also a drill attack that functions as a mobile smash attack that’s incredibly useful for cutting across the arena without worrying about taking damage. A special fury attack can slash all enemies on screen, dealing tons of damage and working well for emergencies. Along with the sword you have several guns to choose from that run on limited, rechargeable ammo to deal quick damage from afar. These guns consist of things like assault rifles and grenade launchers, and each has 3 passive slots to give them extra passive bonuses.
Content & Run Variety
Scourgebringer’s run variety across the 6 areas is unfortunately pretty poor. I like that there’s a good chunk of enemies the game chooses from each area and that you have to deal with specific enemies a bit differently (such as the flies in zone 3 that explode on death or the robotic enemies that don’t take as much damage from projectiles).
Each area has a bit of a theme to how its’ enemies are built. For example, the fourth area has walls that you and the enemies can both shoot through, and most of the enemies here shoot bullets but don’t have much health. In the fifth area, most rooms have the ability to screen-warp to the opposite end, and also several enemy types shoot bullets that boomerang back on themselves. Your approach to each area has to be just slightly different which helps with the repetitiveness caused by poor variety in other aspects of the game.
Almost all upgrades in Scourgebringer are simple stat upgrades. Most of your passive collection is going to slightly boost your stats in one way or another. There’s nothing that changes the gameplay loop or causes much decision-making, making Scourgebringer feel more like an arcade game than a roguelite.
Scourgebringer is already pretty difficult out of the gate, but if you’re wanting more of a challenge the game offers a ton of difficulty modifiers via its anti-skill tree mechanic. Once you beat the game for the first time you unlock a separate skill tree that’s accessed from under the hub area. This tree has a wide variety of modifiers from larger zones, higher enemy hp, enemy waves spawning sooner than normal, or even a floor is lava gimmick. If you’re someone that likes to continually challenge themselves, there is a lot of replayability through this system.
The presentation of this game is absolutely fantastic. Hitting things feels impactful and violent, the metal music that plays during combat is as quick as the gameplay, and the ambience in-between fights fits the eerie sci-fi feeling of the levels. The pixel-art is gorgeous to look at and everything is perfectly coherent to look at; I’ve never lost track of where my character is or had to deal with bullets blending into the backgrounds. There are also a decent amount of accessibility options including adaptive difficulty and game speed options.
You would think that due to the cons mentioned, Scourgebringer would fall flat as a game and not be worth the time at all. However, I found that the core gameplay loop, combat, and enemy design are so incredibly satisfying that I can’t seem to stop playing. The poor run variety ends up not mattering as much because I’m having too much fun slicing through enemies and causing chaos. I don’t think the game *needs* to have super strong run variation. It lives or dies on its’ core mechanics, and I think the game knocks it out of the park to be a really solid roguelite entry.
Slicin’ and dicin’
+ Satisfying combat
+ Incredible presentation
+ Tons of modifiers and accessibility options
– Poor run variety