28 people found this review helpful
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 7.7 hrs on record (5.1 hrs at review time)
Posted: Nov 21, 2018 @ 7:36am
Product received for free

Early Access Review
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Reynard is a roguelite dungeon-crawling action RPG with tower-defense sections that is now out on Steam in Early Access. This is a game that has pretty addictive gameplay and cute graphics, along with plenty of randomized variables from run to run to keep the game fresh for the potential player. The developers state that their influences for this game came from some classic titles, such as The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and The Binding of Isaac. Playing through this game so far, I can definitely see where the developers clearly translated some of those points of inspiration into their realization of this game.

Early Access means that the developers are actively working on improving and adding to the game, and this is a great opportunity for any potential players to jump in and contribute their ideas and thoughts. The developers are active and listen to the suggestions of the players in the discussion boards and they are very appreciative of any feedback. It's great to know that they want to make this the best possible experience for the players while still maintaining the integrity of the game as they envisioned.

Of course that also means this game is far from being perfect, there are some bugs that may cause you to have an unexpected crash, though fortunately this is a roguelite and runs aren't expected to last all that long. In fact there are speedrun achievements for this game on the order of 30-40 minutes, so I imagine a completed run on average should take about an hour. I haven't made it there yet, but I definitely plan to keep trying!

This game has quite a learning curve, and is not casual at all. The gameplay is fairly fast-paced and there are many items that you can find. I just learned that there's a crafting system in the game that I have neglected completely that would change the gameplay and some of the decisions I would make a great deal. I will definitely head back into this game when I have a chance and check out this aspect of the gameplay.

The many items means that your runs will differ greatly from each other, allowing for a significant amount of replayability. The dungeon floors are not very large, and there are rooms of varying sizes with different enemies and other hazards within. I can tell that the maps undergo procedural generation, I am unclear whether the room contents do as well. Though it does seem that everything does go through some randomization process.

Speaking of randomization, the boss encounters are also very different. There are some other roguelites that do this as well and gives the players a chance at a different boss from run to run. So even in the early learning stages when killing a boss seems far and few in between many deaths, the player still gets to learn about the different boss encounters that this game has to offer. I really like this aspect of things.

There is a daily challenge mode, which is fairly common among roguelikes. This game is a roguelite given there are some permanent unlocks available to change how your run starts.

Positives
+Excellent game design in terms of gameplay
+Nice retro-style graphics
+Fantastic music
+Roguelite and thus short runs with lots of replayability
+Bosses shuffled each run, so to introduce more variety for the learning player
+Quite a few different regular enemy types that each have their own movemnt and attack patterns
+Multiple in-game game styles and thus will keep you on your toes
+Simple crafting system with more recipes being implemented by the developers still
+Daily challenges
+Developers active in community discussions
+Reasonably priced to cheap (EA price is $8.99 USD)

Negatives
-Some bugs exist, as expected, as the game is in EA
-Learning curve perhaps too steep for the very casual players

Gameplay
There are action RPG levels within dungeons where you hack and slash away, reach an exit, or head in to exterminate a boss monster. There are levels that are more like an active tower defense, where you build your defenses and need to prevent waves of enemies from reaching the stairs going up.

The fail states are when your HP reaches 0, or if you let your enemies reach the stairs in the tower defense sections.

You start with a standard sword and a bow, and your attacks and movements are limited by your stamina. There are cooldown times for ranged attacks and any special items that you may get along your run. You may find runes with which to modify some of your weapons or armor, while you may also encounter other instances where you can take a risk in order to get a stat upgrade at the expense of something else. All of this is fairly straight forward, and given the random items on each run, you will find that the experience will differ greatly from run to run, allowing for more replayability.

You should be careful about picking up weapons in this game, because you can only have one of each type of weapon, melee and ranged. Picking up a new one will automatically cause the old one to disappear forever, not into your inventory for later. It simply disappears.

Getting to and beating the boss will earn you boss coins, which can be used to unlock permanent upgrades in between runs. There is a duck in the game that you should speak to in order to use your boss coins for unlocking perks with which you can adjust how your game starts. There are also other defensive upgrades that you can purchase with boss coins at the vending machine with the same coins.

Controls
Keyboard or Controller. The controller I used is a XBox One controller, and I had no issues with it. Apparently there are some difficulties with the confirm button on the Steam controller at this time. There is currently no Keyboard + Mouse in the standard twin-stick control scheme, though this is on the list of considerations of the developers. The main reason for players to ask for this consideration is that the ranged weapons requite a certain amount of precision in order to fire, and there's very little, if any, aim assit. There is an arrow on the ground next to your character so you can kind of see where the projectile is going, but the accuracy is not too high.

Graphics
Graphics are adorable and pixelated, the perspective is top-down. Cute game. (The font currently being used could use some improvements, we have found out.)

Music
The music is fantastic, and appropriate as well. It's so catchy and invokes the same era of video game feel as the graphics do. I do not think I will ever get sick of the music tracks.

Audience
This is a game with a steep learning curve and is not considered casual by a long shot. There is only one difficulty level and someone who is not used to playing this kind of game will find a bit of trouble to get better. You may wish to watch some gameplay videos before you dive in, though I still think if you are interested, that you should.

Pricing
Reasonably priced to cheap for this game, EA price is $8.99 USD base.

Conclusion
Reynard claims to draw inspiration from some big-name classics, and it does not disappoint. There is much to see and plenty to do, with many reasons for the player to want to go back to experience more after each run. Even though it's in early access, it gives the player quite a significant taste of the finished product, which is positively enticing.

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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