CITY OF BRASS
By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on February 7, 2019
A story about a cursed city and a great challenge every single level? Is that what I hear you asking for? Well, no need to look any further, because City of Brass might just be the game for you! City of Brass transports the player into a cursed city and the question is if you will learn from the folly of the former citizens, or share their doom?
You see, long ago, a tribe of people build a beautiful city in the middle of a desert and thrived like no one had before. But, as is often the case when there are humans and riches involved, enough is never enough! Greed twisted the once beautiful utopia into a cauldron of despair and desolation. Realizing their doom was nearly upon them, the wealthy citizens sought to enslave a mighty genie ad, in doing so, signed their own death warrant. Now, years later, you enter the city; a cunning thief, looking for riches. As you play the game, you'll need to reach the heart of the city where, or so you are told, untold riches await.
Before you start your adventure, you can choose whether or not you like to play the tutorial level, which explains the basics of the game. Well I don't know how much experience you have with a whip and a katana sword, but I found it very useful to have the opportunity to try them out a bit, before the real challenge started. You can use them to your advantage in different ways to your advantage. Beside hitting enemies with your whip to stun them or finish them off with your katana, your whip can also be used to collect treasure. You can also use both arms to push enemies away from you, but the most awesome move, and my personal favorite, is definitely using your whip to pull enemies towards you when there just happens to be a trap between you and the enemy in question. But be careful when moving and fighting around traps, because these infernal contraptions can also hurt you.
For those among you that are looking for a more than decent challenge, there's good news: City of Brass is positively filled to the brim with traps and dangerous creatures, both of which can end your life in a blink of an eye. But the cherry on the pie is definitely that this is a rogue-lite game and dying means starting over from level 1, no matter which level you reached before you died or whether you had a save point. You see, save points are only meant for taking a break, so you can continue your game later. And while this is no problem, you can only continue from that save point as long as you don't die after loading, which resets every save point and kicks you back to square one. The main goal is to collect treasures (which can be used to buy items, gear and other upgrades) and survive as long as you can and reach the exit before you run out of time... or life!
The great thing about this concept is that entering the level a second time, resets the game so the level will be completely different. Things get relocated; enemies, traps, doors and even Genies! Genies? Yes, Genies! The Genies are helpful creatures that act like a shop in this game. Whenever you come across one, you can use the treasures you found along the way to buy upgrades, gear and other helpful stuff. The first time I entered level 1, I was able to buy some health when I came across a my first Genie. The second time I entered the level, I had a lot more money and was able to buy things like moving silently or have extra defense on my armor. After playing a couple of rounds, I collected a lot more money and was able to buy some boosters that greatly helped me during my quest.
As you make your way through the game, you can invest your treasures and spend them on new weapons or gear. You can also buy protections and other useful stuff that will help you be more safe during your adventure. Another fun thing to use are the so-called Blessings and Burdens. These game changers let you tailor your experience to your own preferences. Remove the time limit? No problem! Increase your health or damage? Why not, just go for it! On the other hand, maybe you're looking for an additional challenge and want your enemies to respawn or deal more damage. This is also a possibility. While the blessings (options that make your life easier) are selectable from the start, the Burdens (things to make your life harder) must be unlocked by completing certain challenges before they can be used.
The history of the ruined city is told and expanded upon at the start of every new level. If you come across the withered remains of one of the city's previous inhabitants, they will often have a sign in their hands, which tells you more about what happened to the city all those years ago. So no cut-scenes or videos that might slow down the game's pacing. City of Brass clearly revolves around challenging gameplay, and believe me when I say this game is hard. You have to keep an eye out for enemies, traps and how much time remains before you're trapped in the City forever. Plus, you'll have to do all this at the same time while traversing the beautiful but truly dangerous Persian environments. Besides avoiding traps and evading or slaying enemies, it is also wise to always keep an eye out for hidden passages. You don't want to miss out on extra loot, am I right?
After five rounds of trying, I was still hoping to complete the first level one time or another, and miserably failing to do so. This could either mean that the game is really, really, REALLY challenging or I really, really, REALLY suck at surviving. But, after round seven, my moment of victory finally arrived; I managed to reach the exit of level 1! I was jumping for joy on my couch. After clearing the level, I felt so cool! "Damn, I'm good!" echoed through my mind for a few seconds, but after that short time of feeling absolutely glorious, it struck me; if the first level took me seven tries to complete, what heinous tricks would await me in levels to come and, more importantly, how many tries would I need to ever reach the heart of the City?
So, to conclude this amazing and wild ride, City of Brass is a game for those brave souls among us who are in search for a really good challenge. It will take you to a beautiful but dangerous Persian city, where you can use about everything to your advantage, but beware: the same objects that you can use, might just damage you as well. So be quick, be smart and stay alive!
CITY OF BRASS
February 7, 2019 (Nintendo Switch)
May 4, 2018 (PC / PS4 / Xbox One)