Bravery & Greed is out now and we’ve had our wrinkly hands on the final release to find out if the rogue-lite brawler is as promising as it looks.
I always find rogue-lite games a bit of a mixed bag, while many fail to grasp me, Rogue Legacy and Don’t Die Minerva both grabbed me by the dangly bits, but I would have loved to have seen co-operative options like the fantastic Castle Crashers.
Step-Froward Bravery and Greed, a dungeon crawling, side-scrolling, battle bashing, dungeon crawling beat-em-up, sums up the genre perfectly, some parts leave me wanting more, and others leave me wanting to turn off, uninstall and never look at the game again.
When you start off, there’s not a lot of direction, you and a few mates are having a pint and decide to head to the Drawven Sky fortress to earn some loot, after choosing one of the four classes, you head to the tavern for a quick tutorial on how to use them. There’s the Mage who’s more of a ranged character, with weak attacks, balanced by the ability to summon a large familiar (creature) who’s more than happy to bash some skulls for you, there’s also a fireball which is probably my favourite projectile, but I found juggling between keeping at range and controlling the familiar made the wizard quite a complicated character to use.
Next up is the Rogue, a pretty well-balanced character with a bow for ranged attacks and quick agile close-combat, together with the ability to go invisible to close in (or build distance) to your enemies, he’s not a bad little character.
The third is the Amazon, she’s great up close and has a mid-range boomerang-like projectile, which made her my second favourite class.
Finally, who, in my opinion, is the best by a mile, is the Warrior, a big beefy guy with a sword and shield, he can’t do much at range and his shield replaces any hope of a projectile, but it’s great for defending against ranged enemies, and with a powerful standard 3-hit combo and the ability to charge forward with the shield, he’ll quickly close any gaps to enemies, the big bonus is, this guys a real tank and will make short work of anyone within a few steps.
After deciding on your chosen hero and checking out the tavern and tutorial, you’ll be off to the ice-caverns, where Bravery and Greed starts to come to life,
Each approach is a fresh procedurally generated stage, which will share the same theme and boss but the layout is completely different each time.
Initially, in true rogue-lite fashion, you’ll probably die fairly quickly, with nothing more than a handful of gold to show for your troubles.
All the gold you collect is added to a greed-o-meter, which rewards you with equipment and enemy unlocks, perks and arcanum cards.
Equipment and perks give you buffs such as increased damage, mobility improvements and sometimes a modifier for a combo or weapon, and like enemies, once unlocked in the greed-o-meter, they’ll start appearing in the game to make future runs easier or harder (or just more exciting).
The Arcanum cards play a massive part and are usually give and take, such as The Fool, which allows a respawn but takes 40% of your gold, or Justice, which introduces Elite enemies capable of improving other opponents on screen, but giving you a permanent +3% health when you defeat them.
It all adds up to slowly but surely becoming more powerful and having better equipment and perks at your disposal, there’s still a random nature to what you find, which means there’s more in the hands of RNGesus, than in titles like Vampire Survivors which restricts you to a handful of weapons and powerups from a selection of many.
Thankfully, you’re never alone for long, with NPC allies often around to help you as well as 3 human friends can all join you on your adventure.
You’ll also find equipment that can summon shadow versions of enemies to fight by your side, so even without friends (or random strangers) in your game, you’ll rarely be alone. The most effective though was finding a cage that you can open to release the ally who will fight beside you until their awful energy bars diminish, they’re not the strongest, but they are a great distraction and having an NPC by your side when you head into a room with a lot of enemies can be a real game changer. These guys can also be on the receiving end of some perks, so you can boost their damage output as well as add healing buffs to make them stick around longer.
They’re still not going to last long against the big bosses, but if they can distract them for a minute, you can concentrate on dealing a lot of damage.
Sadly, there’s just not enough of these bosses, no mid-level mini-bosses, just the big guy at the end, who usually uses a handful of attacks, sure enough, they’ll stomp you into the ground at first, but once you learn their attack patterns, they’re not nearly as tough as they should be, especially with a few mobility and damage buffs under your belt.
There are a few online modes, but the bread and butter is a cooperative adventure, where up to 4 people can adventure towards the dwarfen gate. There are no class restrictions, so if you’re used to using the Warrior, you’re not going to be forced off class, there’s a total of 10 colours available to help tell the difference if multiple players are using the same.
Multiplayer works well, it’s stable and the only disconnect I had was the host leaving, but the issue I found, was it often took quite a while to find a game, I feel Co-op is Bravery & Greed’s strongest weapon, but its lethality is ultimately dependent on if people are playing it.
Graphically, there’s plenty to enjoy, true to the SNES era, there are the sharp pixelated characters and environments, with more than enough differences to instantly tell who and where you are, I do feel it could have aimed a little higher, maybe the smoothness and clarity of titles like Rogue Legacy, but overall the animations are good, and even with a lot of enemies on screen, I never found myself losing track of what was happening.
Audio is another positive section, again glancing back at the late 90s, It feels, looks and sounds like a retro game, but with the true rogue-lite nature and cooperative play, it offers enough modern features to help it stand tall.
Another area we like to cover is value, standing at £15.99 it’s great value, there’s plenty of game to be had and it’s reasonable enough that you might be able to persuade a friend or two to pick it up as well, to really make use of those co-operative features.
So that’s a lot of positives out of the way, I’m sure you’re wondering, what’s wrong with it…
Well, unfortunately, it’s difficult to describe, there’s nothing specific, but for me, I just didn’t find myself as engrossed in the story, characters, world or gameplay as I have in other similar titles.
Castle Crashers had humour, Rogue Legacy was unique, with smooth and responsive gameplay and Vampire Survivors just had a really addictive streak with complete mayhem on screen.
Bravery and Greed isn’t as fluent as any of those, many of the attacks and combos have a slight delay which was like jumping over unnecessary hurdles. Occasionally combos would flow perfectly and chain together multiple groups of enemies, other times Id be taking a lot of damage, because I’d done a diagonal attack and then had to wait a split second before I could do a standard 3-hit combo.
As well as this, it just didn’t feel like the characters had any real personalities, which honestly left me feeling like I couldn’t give a toss if they get to the Drawven Gate or die trying.
There’s no doubt Bravery & Greed is going to appeal to a lot of people, and the option of the 4-player co-op is a real highlight, I really hope the developers work to make combat a little more fluent because the pace of combat and the overall pace of game just feels a little mismatched at times.
Bravery & Greed