ScourgeBringer is a fast-paced and beautiful rogue-lite with adrenaline-filled combat and intense action. Its steep learning curve and high reliance on skill mean you won’t get too far unless you git gud.
ScourgeBringer is kind of like Dead Cells meets Devil May Cry. It’s incredibly fast, and racking up sick combos is incredibly fun. But unlike many other rogue-lites, randomness and builds don’t have a lot of impact on your runs. This is a pure skill, no-nonsense kind of game.
Judgment From the Beyond
ScourgeBringer kicks off with a scary extraterrestrial relic that appears on Earth. You are one of the warriors that enter the relic to investigate. As you are not the first one sent to investigate the relic, you can find logs of other warriors that have gone there before you. These complement the story, but it is most definitely not the focus here.
Your goal in ScourgeBringer is to explore the different areas of the relic and defeat the judges that guard them. Each area is like a world with a unique biome, different minibosses that appear, and one mean judge at the end.
Since ScourgeBringer is also part Metroidvania, areas divide into rooms with enemies, bonuses, shops, and bosses. You usually want to get to the final boss of each area after taking as little damage as possible, so you won’t be spending much time exploring for fun.
Deliverance Is Swift and Goes Both Ways
But taking as little damage as possible is quite a challenge. There are very few ways to regenerate lost health, which means there is little room to make mistakes. Luckily, ScourgeBringer also gives you the means to deliver swift justice without getting hit, at least most of the time.
Your character is armed with a blade and a drone with a gun. You can dash, slash, heavy-hit, and use the drone to shoot enemies from afar. During Early Access, you had to use one of the analog sticks to aim and shoot enemies, but in the final release, the drone can automatically shoot at one enemy, making it much more useful.
It’s incredibly easy to chain combos. You can quickly dash, wall jump, and send enemies flying into each other to cause devastating damage and clear rooms with ease. When you get in the zone, it’s almost like a meditative experience, and only rarely does it feel like you’re mashing the slash button like there is no tomorrow.
But as you get lost in the combos, you become vulnerable to attacks. Since health in ScourgeBringer is scarce, every hit hurts. Even though you gain techniques to deflect projectiles and dodge enemies, it is hard to become absorbed in your exciting combo since you always need to watch your back.
ScourgeBringer brings a wide variety of accessibility options to make it possible for many different players to enjoy it. You can tune the game to your liking, from different text sizes to control over the game’s speed and projectile speed. I hope many other games will adopt similar accessibility options, as they are most welcome.
Blood for Blood
Upgrading your character is a key part of rogue-lite games, and as such, it plays a role in ScourgeBringer. Unfortunately, some of the upgrades are scarce, making it difficult to progress if you’re not yet exceptionally skilled at the game.
As you slice and dice your way in ScourgeBringer, you collect two kinds of Blood, one that lets you buy temporary boosts for your current run, and one that lets you buy permanent upgrades for future runs.
Most boosts you can find or buy during your run don’t have much of an impact. Some of them will increase stun time, some will make you deal more damage when you’re low on health, and very occasionally, you’ll find ones that heal you or increase your max health. However, since the game keeps you short on health, most of these don’t help as much as they could. When given a choice between a boost that heals by 1 HP, or one that reduces the reload time of your drone-gun by 5%, I tended to take the healing, even though it was ultimately useless.
When it comes to the permanent upgrades, they’re a little more fun to collect. Some of them add new moves you can use and can significantly help your survival chances. Every one of these upgrades feels meaningful and grants a sense of achievement.
It’s the beautiful pixel-art and shredding guitars that bring the scourge of ScourgeBringer to life and help it stand out from other games. Our character is nicely animated, which is vital since there’s so much acrobatics they can do. The levels and enemies are also very unique and interesting.
The metal tracks that accompany your battles put you in the right mood to slay monsters. The music even winds down a little when you get hit. That way, whenever you get hurt, even the music lets you know that you’re no longer “in the zone.”
ScourgeBringer is an incredibly fast and responsive rogue-lite with satisfying action and pretty pixel-art. It has rocking music to back up the action, giving you the energy to slice and dice monsters with ninja-like agility.
When you’re in the zone, it’s an incredible mix of high adrenaline slashing, dodging, and shooting. But because the game is heavily skill-based, it can be just as easy to get the air knocked out of you with just one projectile.
Developer: Flying Oak Games
Publisher: Dear Villagers
Release Date: Oct. 21, 2020
Our ScourgeBringer review copy was provided by the publisher.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.