33 people found this review helpful
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 12.8 hrs on record
Posted: Dec 3, 2018 @ 6:02pm
Updated: Nov 26, 2019 @ 1:37pm
Product received for free

Early Access Review
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Gerty is a fantastic top-down roguelite with twin-stick action that seeks to challenge the player, even within your selected playing style. The game has a polish and a feel that can only come from many iterations of play-testing and a desire to improve on the part of the developers, despite it being released into Early Access. The developers made available a demo that anyone can try before deciding to dive in for the purchase. A single-boss that is currently available leaves some to be desired, but the four unique playable characters, procedurally generated stages, plus a huge selection of unlocks as well as challenges will give you fresh perspectives each time you play, not to mention the many deaths that will make each victory feel oh so sweet. Sit back and take on the challenge alone, or get a group of up to 4 friends and play couch-coop to really take advantage of this feature-packed indie gem.

Gerty is a serious and challenging roguelite twin-stick action game that just released to Steam in Early Access today after being in development for the past 4 years. It features non-stop action with procedurally generated stages, unique stages and tasks, fully destructible environment, as well as local coop that supports up to 4 players. Even though the game is only in Early Access right now, it is well worth your time and money, and the experience is totally worth it.

The plan for the game is to have two worlds with multiple stages and a boss level in each world. Currently the first world is complete and that has enough content and replayability that you would hardly find it unreasonable to call it a full game. Runs will take around 20-25 minutes currently and when the second world is complete, it should take about an hour. The only setback is that there is only one boss, instead of a randomized set of bosses, so that you might find yourself wishing for more bigger and badder enemies.

Despite that, the regular enemies are no joke either, and any of the smaller attacking grunts can quickly dig your shallow grave. With an need to constantly decide where you will go and how you will get there, the game forces you to make rapid decisions regarding your best plan of action. You also need to decide when would be the best time to earn your income, in the form of Juice that is available on the map, as you can destroy the environment and mine the Juice for yourself. But you also need to watch your six, because if you mine too deep in, that same path can also be your only quick way out.

The four different playable characters are not just sprites for show, each one has unique abilities and characteristics to challenge you in many different ways. All of them are members of the elite mercenary group trying to rid your mining colony of the hostile alien force. The most obvious difference is the preferred fighting range, one is melee only, one is long-range, and the other two are mid-range. But once you start playing, you realize that all of your strategy that works well for one character will likely drive you to early deaths for the others, should you be stubborn about trying to play through in that same manner.

There are various locations where you can upgrade your offense or defense capacities on most of the maps, along with stashes of Juice for mining, as well as other ways you can improve your capabilities and skills. Plus all of the enemies that you kill will give you experience. Leveling up in this game is so important in each run as you can earn perks every few levels. Which items you choose to purchase from run to run and which perks you decide to go with will significantly affect your run every single time. The reason this is not a roguelike, but a roguelite instead, is that you can unlock items and available perks in between runs. Otherwise, each run is more or less independent of your previous ones.

Each run features many instances of best split-second decision making, from lingering in a level to earn more experience/Juice though by facing more dangers, or to jump out early and risk taking on the next challenge with fewer resources/equipment/upgrades. The different stages of the first-world that is available at the moment undergo randomization, but the different in-game tasks are presented to the player from the initial parts of the stage. At times you need to wipe out your foes, when other times you need to face incoming on-onslaught from multiple directions just to survive. You just have to play it to see it for yourself.

Controls
Keyboard and Mouse or controller works very well. The key bindings are customizable. Of course if you were to gather friends and play coop, others will definitely need to get used to the controller. The default bindings are rather intuitive and easy to learn.

Graphics
Even though the view is top down, the visuals are limited by line of sight in a very logical manner with a continually changing fog of war. The sprite animations involving digging and aiming were recently updated to be more fitting. The graphics are 2D and not terribly exciting, but they work very well with this game.

Music
The music is pretty awesome for this game. I have no qualms about listening to the game music while playing.

Audience
Any twin-stick action game lover will find many enticing aspects of this game. Even though the game is designed to be very difficult, there are five different difficulty levels available for selection and you will be able to unlock almost everything just through playing and replaying, even if you don't get too far each time. For those looking for a challenge, the middle difficulty on Normal is rather difficult, and there are two more difficulties above it. This is not to mention all of the different unlockable challenges that take some serious skill to complete.

Pricing
Initial Early Access price on launch today shows a base price of $14.99 USD. While this may seem a bit high, especially given the shortness of each run, the replayability of what is available does justify the price at this time. Anyone questioning the price can look at the demo to get a good feel for the game.

Positives
+Continuous action
+Limitless replayability
+Well-designed
+Great soundtrack
+Five difficulty levels that make sense
+Four unique playable characters
+Up to four player couch coop
+Very polished for day 1 of Early Access
+Achievements

Negatives
-Single boss available at the moment, with plans to have another world created and another boss before the game is complete. I really wish that the game can feature several different bosses that show up randomly for the first world, and perhaps several more for the second world.
-To go along with that, there are not many enemy types at the moment, hopefully more will be added in the second world as well.
-Base price a bit high, as it is at a mark that will repel many potential players, especially for an Early Access title.
-Achievements is in the positives column, but also here, because some of them are unattainable until the game is complete.

Conclusion
Gerty may be my favorite indie game to come to Steam this calendar year. Even though it is currently in Early Access, the available content and replayability warrants your time and attention. I understand that the base price of $14.99 might be a bit off-putting for some potential players, but a demo is available for anyone to try. So give it a go. I absolutely recommend it!

I received the product for free. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.
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7 Comments
YQMaoski Oct 13, 2020 @ 7:26am 
There are progressive unlocks to give some replay value, but the low variety of stages due to small worlds make it less so. I think I played the initial world maybe around 10-15 times when I first got my hands on the game and then again at a later date, thus the 12 hours total play time.
Two Clicks Oct 13, 2020 @ 7:22am 
Shame its so short! Even 5 hrs would be okay for a dollar/euro or two.
YQMaoski Oct 13, 2020 @ 6:23am 
Length is definitely an issue here, it more feels like a short burst old-school arcade game. It's got a second full world now and out of Early Access, so each run will take probably around 45-60 minutes at my own playing pace. For whatever reason I really loved my first experience with this game and that impression stayed with me throughout my time playing. There's something satisfying about the way the mechanics of the game came together.
Two Clicks Oct 13, 2020 @ 6:17am 
Another informative review. The game is too short for me. From your experience it reminds me of Livelock only that game seems a tad more substantial in terms of content. Still it was already on my wishlist.
Hedsmun Dec 25, 2019 @ 10:04am 
Just found this game, looks pretty cool and I agree with American Tragedy - great review YQMaoski!

Being on sale I will probably get this before Jan 2.
YQMaoski Dec 4, 2018 @ 2:49pm 
Thank you very much!
American Tragedy Dec 4, 2018 @ 1:04pm 
Great review man!