STAFF REVIEW of ScourgeBringer (Xbox One)

Sunday, November 22, 2020.
by Heather Webster

ScourgeBringer Box art ScourgeBringer is the latest solo roguelike platform game from the developers Flying Oak Games & e-Studio. The game is officially described as “Set in a post-apocalyptic world where a mysterious entity wreaked havoc on all humanity", and ScourgeBringer puts you in the shoes of the deadliest warrior of her clan: Kyhra. Help her to explore the unknown and slash her way through ancient machines guarding the seal of her past, and maybe the reclamation of humanity. The story opens in a post-apocalyptic world ruled by a pillar that rains fire down on the cities. The few last remaining habitants believe it cleanses the earth of its sins. You play as Kyhra, a warrior who is the chosen one to defeat the Scourgebringer.

Through the first few areas of the game you learn the basic moves and controls. I also found it hard to pass up the chance to try and hit the little various sized bells tied with red ribbon. I haven’t figured out the purpose yet but its fun to try anyway. Eventually after you pass the “training rooms” you find yourself at the Chiming Tree, where you meet Garu, a mystic from a past expedition. He is there as a guide to give you hints as to what you should look at, discover or obtain in order to move the story forward. This area then becomes your respawning point and basic “base camp” type area for every new attempt when you eventually die and restart. Every attempt you start out with eight lives, and when out of lives you then get told your stats for that attempt (how long you played for, what number attempt it was, and what “judged” you.)

In each attempt it appears that Kyhra’s goal is to navigate a maze of rooms/chambers, discover her history and hopefully save all of humanity. Find the basic map and you get the general knowledge of what’s on the other side of the door you choose. Find the full map and you see which direction continues to more options after the next room. Once you have defeated all the enemies in each room a selection of doorways become present and it's your choice which direction you go in. Gameplay continues in the same general manner unless you reach a boss level which has much more challenge.

Within the storyline there is a quest to find the Nexus computer which contains the logs and the data entry from the previous explorers, the only trick here is that you have to find the lost logs within the levels to help continue the story and put together what might have happened to everyone prior to Kyhra's adventure.

The controls were super responsive and smooth, though sometimes resulting in a bit of button mashing to get the swarm of enemies coming at me with an arsenal of moves that help jump from one enemy to the other without even touching the ground. Where one continuous combo can take out an entire room and give you a false sense of security, and just when you think you can take a break more enemies will spawn out of nowhere. It really kept me on my toes and added a bit of adrenaline and excitement to playing ScourgeBringer. I really enjoyed being able to run up walls, double jump, slash, smash and dash through the enemies in each room as well. But I'll be the first to tell you that I enjoy doing that in most games where it makes you look good.

Another unique element in combat is the ability to use a smash attack that lets you hit bullets back at your enemies as long as you have activated that skill in the tree. Be aware of your attack strategy with the smash attack though because timing and availability are a factor to its use. It can be risky but also rewarding, especially during the boss fights where a well-timed strike can do large amounts of damage as you send back a barrage of bullets.

“Practice makes perfect” is a saying that comes to mind when playing ScourgeBringer, as you may end up replaying the first few levels of the game quite a few times, as you simply can’t grind your way through this game; Improvement is the way to get through and progress further in Kyhra's journey.

In Scourgebringer the boss challenges have 2 stages. First you must defeat the Guardian(s) that spawn randomly in each area of the room. These are less of a challenge before the big boss of the level known as a Judge. Judge Blood is earned from defeating the Judges and guardians and comes with different abilities, HP increases and other things; one of which is a combo meter that rewards speed and variety. The faster you defeat enemies and the more types of attack used, the more the combo meter rises, which in turn increases the drop rate of regular Blood that normal enemies drop.

All in all, I think anyone who plays either roguelike's or platform genres will enjoy playing ScourgeBringer. I found it an entertaining game for when I wanted to get in a game and smash some bad guys, even for a short period of time. As an action platformer, ScourgeBringer is a really great example, even if it is a bit short. As a roguelike, it checks the boxes but doesn’t really do much else that's unique. Give ScourgeBringer a shot if you like either of these styles of games and want a challenge, plus it's on GamePass as well.

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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