Posted: April 13, 2014
*Review edited for release... still nothing but good things to say about it!*
There is tons more I could say about this game and how much I enjoy it than what is in this review, so free to message me on Steam if you have any questions. I highly recommend this game if you're looking for something new in your roguelike/dungeon-crawling experiences... it was *the* most polished Early Access Alpha I had ever played, and is even better now that it is released.
Very nice and consistently styled, even in the character screen. The choice in what a friend of mine put as "playful yet macabre" is spot-on, and a very nice change of pace from other roguelikes (not that those are bad, but FMR is a unique breath of fresh air).
Everything from the music to the effects is lovely and fitting to the visual theme. Moody, atmospheric, ethereal, magical, mysterious, spooky... that is what comes to mind while playing and it's a joy to listen to! Some of the tracks really remind me of the greatness that was the soundtrack for Psychonauts (my favorite game of all-time).
Smooth and intuitive when using the keyboard+mouse (controls are customizeable as well, so you can play however you want). I don't play games this twitch-reliant with a controller, but feedback about it in general has been very positive.
The randomization, pin/item/relic/Loa/leveling "build" system works really well but isn't so random that you're screwed if you get bad drops. Since your core setup is however you want to do it (and very easy to experiment with), there is enough consistency to do theorycraft and gameplay mastery... a *very* nice change from the *completely* random roguelikes. I love randomization, but it's nice to have something to play that is a good mix of random and static.
The variety in gameplay is great, giving a pleasurable dose of strategic fighting and completely chaotic shmup-style play. Because FMR has this kind of variety, you never really get sick of it. Just when you're tired of one style, you roll a level that's totally different. I'm over 125 hours into it as of this writing, and I'm still not even close to be tired of any of it.
Progression is incredibly satisfying, but I'll speak more to that below.
While the game is most commonly categorized as a roguelike (or rogue-lite), I see it as a mix of roguelike, bullet-hell/shmup, and dungeon-crawler. It's a fantastic mix, and adds a ton to the scale and variety of traditional roguelikes.
Some may find their intital play sessions to be too easy, but the difficulty curve is not even remotely a cakewalk later on. If you feel it's too easy, just keep playing... later difficulties/quests are *much* harder and varied. You'll soon find yourself cursing (joyfully) at failed runs. Because of this, I do *not* consider this game a rogue-lite... if anything, it's just one that isn't ultra hardcore in the start and eases you into the insanity. A perfect game to introduce someone to the genre, but has enough hardcore craziness to keep even the most experienced of players happy.
Difficulty in this game is where the real progression and satisfaction resides. Leveling/etc. is a nice way to ease the player into the various mechanics of the game, but the meat of it all is in the variety of difficulties you unlock. Don't expect to be carrot-and-sticked the entire time with pointless leveling and unlocks... instead, expect to get your satisfaction from mastering incredibly difficult situations that (in the later difficulties especially) require perfected playing skills.
Level modifiers, difficulties, level palletes, mission objectives, mobs (and their variations), bosses, items, Loas, etc. all have a great amount of variety already, and further post-release patches are planned which is just icing on the already delicious cake. I was already very happy with the content amount in the early alpha, and that has far more than doubled between then and release. Because of the amount there is, and because of how it's sectioned out between the different quests, you always have a ton of choice depending on your mood and a helluva lot to experience, master, and be surprised by.
A quick note: I am in the credits for the game for the QA work I was voluntarily doing (a nice surprise, so thank you devs!). I am not a developer or paid contractor for this game and have no bias in that regards... I just love testing, and the community was silent during a time when they really needed feedback so I stepped up. My review would be exactly the same even if I hadn't done testing for it.