A Rogue-like Done Right
Necrobouncer is a game that has been on my radar for quite some time. I first saw the trailer for it last summer. It immediately reminded me of one of my all-time favourite games, Enter The Gungeon. If you follow my reviews, I base many of my views on indie games off of Enter The Gungeon and Binding Of Isaac. Necrobouncer ticked every box in regards to looking like a challenger to be counted amongst the worthy. So when I got the news I had to review this game, I was more than pleased. These games are known as Rogue-likes. Roguelike (or rogue-like) is a subgenre of role-playing computer games traditionally characterized by a dungeon crawl through procedurally generated levels, turn-based gameplay, grid-based movement, and permanent death of the player character, and yes, I have played a lot.
Necrobouncer starts up, and the excellent retro-style graphics I adore in my games is ever-present. The music is pumping and has a very catchy beat you nod your head to. So straight away, even before playing the actual game, I had a smile on my face and thought, ‘Oh Yes Sir, Oh Yes’. You start the game and are greeted with a cut scene introducing the playable character. You do not know anything about yourself or what has happened due to the fact you awake in a bar with amnesia. I also like to tell myself that after a heavy night of drinking on a Saturday night. You start with a basic tutorial which again is very reminiscent of Enter The Gungeon, where, as it doesn’t go into great detail on mechanics, it does a reasonably good job of getting you started.
As the necromancer, you are tasked with clearing out the bar starting with the basement. The necromancer or should I say necrobouncer has many abilities, from dodge rolling out the way of attacks to a basic normal close attack, a magic attack that uses mana. Of course, he wouldn’t be a necromancer without the ability to summon the dead like zombies. Your goal for each floor is to kick out, which is putting it nicely (some would say kill) all the enemies, and at the end of each floor, there are kingpins which are bosses. Now, the branching-level design is the added little gem mechanic I initially liked right away. If you have played Slay The Spire, you would know what I mean. After each floor is completed, you can choose a branching level you wish to proceed. Creating a very nice touch. Even though it’s been done before, it still felt very fresh in this style of Rogue-like.
Like most roguelikes, there are items to collect and unlockables like relics that power you up. You start pretty weak, and I found it very difficult, even for a veteran roguelike gamer. So the game begins in favour of having to die and power up, which is a familiar mechanic in these games. Keep that in mind if you are new to the genre. As you progress through, the balancing in the game does favour you more, making you overpowered in most runs, which I would like to see more balanced in the future. The game isn’t all about action though there are a few nice little mini puzzle rooms that give your trigger fingers a break and get your brain working.
I have been very positive overall about this game so far. Are there any negatives? Well, not so much, more just personal preferences and little nit pics. I mentioned a few games within this review Slay The Spire, Binding Of Isaac and mainly Enter The Gungeon. I did this to prove that sometimes copying formulas and mechanics of games and putting them all together, and making your own game sometimes works. In Necrobouncers case, it paid off. We see a lot of indie games now replicate each other, and they all just get forgotten or overlooked. That goes for some AAA titles too. I don’t know the developers of this game on a personal level, but it’s clear they have a love for this genre. I hope they keep expanding upon this game and creating many more games like this.