By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on February 2, 2017
I sure do like surprises, especially when there's a game involved. This time, the surprise comes in the form of the game Brut@l; a dungeon-crawler, brought to us by Indie developers Stormcloud Games and Rising Star Games. Brut@l is very different from games you have seen up till now and I absolutely love it! Let me explain why.
Apart from its solid gameplay, Brut@l really stands out because of its graphics. The main color is black and details of the characters, items and objects are highlighted by bright colors. It does remind me quite a bit of the old Tron art and, as you can see from the images in this review, it looks amazing. Apart from the aforementioned movie, I only know this use of colors from theater and dance shows (in the dark with UV lights), not from modern games. I must say though, in Brut@l this choice of art style really paid off! And please, do pay attention when you smash objects; they even break into ASCII symbols! Moving ASCII art: brilliant!
During the intro of the game, an image with a controller appears on your screen, along with the words: "By the Gods, use one of these", which made me happy instantly! And I'm yay-ing for two reasons here: One, I'm very happy with the controller support. And two, if the developers use a line like that, the rest of the game must be awesome!
You'll start by picking a class. You can either be a Ranger, a Mage, a Warrior or an Amazon. After you've decided what you are going to be, it's dungeon time! Just one room with a door, which can only be opened with a key. You'll discover a chest and if you break it, you'll find the needed key and continue your way. Soon it's time to meet your first enemy. Let's smash him to tiny parts, shall we? But wait, what's happening? Where's my sword? I am a warrior, so where is my sword?!
Like a true hero you must earn your stripes, or in this case your weapons. By collecting materials and blueprints of weapons, you'll be able to build the most awesome weapons. Up till that moment you have to save your ass by using your bare fists. And I must say, my bare fists surprise me. The first time I died, I didn't die because of an enemy, but because I made a silly mistake...
I died because I fell off a cliff! I know, I know; a stupid mistake and totally my own fault. "Did I save, or was there auto save?" I hear myself think. But dying is really the end of your game. Brutal isn't it? So dying means you'll have to start all over again. Powers, items, weapons, everything is gone. And, because the dungeons are procedurally generated, the next time you start the game, the dungeon will be completely different. So, the replay value of this game is very high, because you'll never enter the same dungeon twice. Plus, since you've already seen a part of the game, you do actually have more knowledge about what might cross your path (enemy-wise), so use this knowledge to your advantage.
For some reason, I wasn't bummed out at all when saw that I had to start all over again. True, it happened when I had just completed the first floor of the dungeon. But in most cases, this is reason enough for me to stop playing and never touch a game again. And now I was like: "Okay so that's how this game works" and I happily continued playing. You can actually save when you want to exit the game, so that can be an option, if you don't mind exiting and loading all of the time.
Of course there are ways to prevent yourself from dying. Creating weapons is one, but you can also spend skill points in the upgrade menu. And when you find an empty bottle and specific ingredients, you can brew potions. There are several colors of potions you can brew, but there's a catch. The game doesn't explain which powers the potion contains. It can be a good one or a deadly one. The safe way to try out its effect is to throw it at an enemy. But, as you don't know what the potion does, you might just end up accidentally healing him instead of dealing damage. You can also try it all out on yourself, but if it deals damage... you get the picture. And, the same as starting all over again when you die; Trust me, these little game mechanics only increase the fun!
There are no two ways about it; Brut@l is an awesome game for the fans of dungeon crawlers! It adds a new kind of game with outstanding graphics to the genre and offers a coop mode. You don't have to be a very experienced gamer to enjoy Brut@l, but at the same time it's challenging enough for the seasoned players among us. And you're getting smarter every time you play a new dungeon. There is tons of fun to be had when playing the game, alone or in coop mode and I would heartily recommend it to everyone who likes to have just that! So use your brain, be smart and be brut@l to your enemies!