Brut@l from Stormcloud Games is a roguelike hack and slash with a very interesting look. You’ll see what I mean from the video below. There’s plenty of action in this black and white game with some hues of color here and there, but is it one you should try on PS4? Come read our Brut@l review to find out!
After clicking start a new dungeon, you’ll be able to select from one of the four available characters. You have the Ranger, the Mage, the Warrior and the Amazon to choose from, each with his/her particular skills, strengths and weaknesses. You’ll need to play with all four anyway to get a trophy (more on that later), so pick the one you like the most so that you can get the hang of things.
The game’s controls are as follows. You move around with the left analog stick, and look around with the right analog stick. You can switch items with the D-pad. You block with the L2 button and use the R2 button for special skills, such as throwing your shield. You can activate a dodge by pressing the L2 and Triangle button, Attacks are activated with the Square button, while the X button lets you jump. Finally, the Triangle button is for actions, and the Circle button is for your Inventory. Oh, and if you press the L1 and R1 buttons at the same time you can activate a special move (as long as you have the required charges for it).
For melee combat with the Square button you can trigger single hits, double hits or a three-hit combo. While in combat, blocking will lower but not negate all incoming damage, but you can use a timed block by pressing the L2 button at the exact moment when you’re about to be hit. For ranged attacks with a bow, pressing the Square button activates faster but weaker shots. If you hold down the R2 button, you can unleash a more powerful shot.
A very important part of the game is crafting weapons which can done when you find a Weapon Codex as well as the letters required for using said Codex. You can also enchant weapons by using enchantment letters which will imbue your weapon with them with fire, water or more, giving you an edge over your enemies.
If you manage to obtain potion bottles and can find the proper ingredients you’ll be able to brew powerful potions. The fun part (or what will irritate some of you) is that you won’t be able to know what a potion does until you drink it or throw it at your enemies! Will you risk drinking an unknown potion or will you throw it during battle, hoping it can help you defeat your foes?
During your adventure you’ll gain experience points to unlock new skills for your characters, but do remember that this is a roguelike and that means there is permadeth thrown into the mix. Once you die, you’re gone, and must begin all over again from the start. But all is not lost, because if you can find a God Altar and make an offering that is good enough, you’ll be rewarded with a very valuable extra life.
As I began my journey, my character – the ranger – only had his bare fist and a shield. After noticing a lonely treasure chest, I decided to loot it. Thanks to this I found a key I used to open the large door in front of me… but before leaving the room I started to kick every single object to destroy it and gain experience points. It didn’t take more than a minute for me to start finding letters for crafting, as well as my first weapon codex.
As you explore the dungeon, you won’t be able to know what is lurking in the next room until you’ve actually set foot in there. This means you should always be ready for a big fight, so make sure you recover your health and that you’re not too hungry for a fight. That’s right, in this game you should also watch your hunger bar along with your health bar, so that neither is depleted.
Once I leveled up I was able to enter the inventory by pressing the Circle button to then go into the skills section to unlock a new skill with the point I obtained after gaining enough experience. I went with the Warrior Strength skill that granted me more strength while unarmed, as well as the ability to wield Hammers and Axes. There’s several other skills to unlock, so check them all and see which ones better suit your playing style.
When you do reach the end of a dungeon floor you’ll be told how much time it took you to complete it, how much time in total you’ve been playing, how much of the floor you explored, how many of the monsters you killed, how many items you grabbed and how many of the floor’s regular and enchanted ASCII (the letters) you collected.
The game can either be played in single player or in co-op mode. Co-op switches things around a bit by allowing you to revive your companion by sharing some of your own health – and your co-op partner can do he same. You can also support each other by ganging up on enemies in each area of the screen or split up to take on separate groups at the same time.
There’s a Dungeon Creator feature that allows you to build your own dungeons to share them with the world. It’s very simple to use and being able to play levels created by other players means that there will always be new content for you to play as you hone your skills and work your way towards the coveted Platinum trophy for this game.
I wasn’t expecting to have so much fun with the game, but as soon as I stated playing for my Brut@l review I realized that this is a very addictive arcade-style release that can easily keep you going for “one more level” until you realize it’s extremely late at night and you should probably get some sleep.
This Brut@l review is based on a PS4 copy provided by Stormcloud Games.