Reviewer when a generous developer recognizes a gamer in me

Fan of indie and single-player games
Currently In-Game
The Crown of Wu
Review Showcase
33 Hours played
A re-release of the overlooked guilty pleasure that we all enjoyed when we were kids, but that no one really owned – the only way to explain poor sales. While this is the same game with a new appearance, it fits in wonderfully with the current trend of developers creating games with retro-style graphics. Regrettably, nostalgia is a double-edged blade.

You start by choosing one of the four heroes. Because this is a fantasy game, the characters are all stereotypes: a barbarian warrior, an axe-wielding dwarf, a female huntress, and a valiant knight. Even though each starts with a different weapon, they all play the same way.

The movement controls have stayed loyal to the game's roots, which means that instead of strafing, pressing left or right rotates the character. Since you can turn more easily with a mouse, this is an odd design choice. Sprinting and jumping are cumbersome; the default jump button is the right mouse button, and running is performed by pressing forward twice. The good thing is that you can change them.

The lock on button is another major source of confusion. You can strafe and have better control over the environment once you've locked on to a target. However, if you need to disengage for some reason, tapping the same button toggles between targets. The only method to release the lock is to push a different button, which is used to sheath a weapon.

The ability to maintain stamina or energy is important. Each attack depletes your stamina bar, and if you're completely drained, you'll be a sitting duck for a few seconds. Whilst hacking and slashing will get you through the first few opponents, you'll soon have to master a more complex fighting system. The primary attack moves are performed by pressing the attack button and one of the directional buttons at the same time.

The moves change according to the character or weapon you're using, and they can be combined into combos. You can also pick up different weapons along the road, so you're never restricted by your starting character. The only limit is that some weapons can't be used effectively if you don't have enough energy. You should also pay attention to the offensive and defensive statistics. A weapon that does more damage is usually bad news for your defense.

I had a lot of trouble with the controls in general. During my gametime, I always imagined myself getting comfortable with the fighting system, jumping right into the heart of the horde, exploiting "friendly fire," chopping off an orc's arm and throwing it at his friend's face! Oh, speaking of throwing: you need to “load” the throw first and then press the attack button to actually throw the object.

However, attempting to perform special moves while fighting multiple foes at once is a tedious experience. You execute a left swipe strike, but the hero attacks with a normal attack. You take a step backwards, and the hero unleashes a special attack that you didn't expect. Let's not even talk about how many times the strikes entirely miss the target. This can be costly because your opponents are stronger and faster than you. And with no gamepad support, performing combos leads to premature death.

Healing items are scarce, and you are only allowed to carry one type of health potion. The other, which heals a smaller amount, is used on the spot, or you will receive a message stating you do not require it. What kind of hero can carry all those weapons but not one more potion? When you add in insta-kill bobby traps and enemies who poison you, you get something that is the total opposite of fun. At this point I’d like to mention that you can save manually but you can’t return to the map if you want to play a different level.

New moves are learned as you level up. The number of experience points you gain is determined by the sort of enemy you defeat. You'll gain very little if it's a small grunt that can be chopped in half with a single swipe. Enemies sometimes show sign of intelligence. Orcs, for example, will either wait for an opportunity or attempt to surround you. The worst opponents are those with shields. When you block their strike, they'll counter with a rapid stab that always hits. But there are occasions when they’re just standing there and won’t follow you. By the way, the game is gruesomely fun. Gallons of blood are spilt, and hacked heads are flying everywhere. Remember how I mentioned "friendly fire" a few sentences back? Once enemies start swinging their swords, they don’t care what stands between you and them. They might even start fighting among themselves!

So far, everything I've written appears to be terrible. However, once you accept the game for what it is and start getting some better equipment, like the orc sword that poisons enemies, the battles get easier and you don’t die as often.

The levels are fairly linear and don't allow for much exploring. While maps do feature secret areas, they are usually not worth it because they only offer health potions or low-quality items. There is, however, one compelling motive to explore: the true ending, which can be discovered by locating six secret runes. You'll have to investigate thoroughly or check the main map because you can't determine which level contains the rune. If a level can be replayed, you've missed something.

I'd absolutely recommend it to new players if this were a remaster with more quality of life options. However, I don't see how newcomers to the game would appreciate it in its current shape. There's nothing wrong with nostalgia, this is still a good game. It’s simply not appropriate for this time period. Having said all that, I couldn’t put the controller down. After every bottomless pit I failed to jump over and after every floor that gave up under my weight, I always went right back for more punishment. And once you get the sword that leeches health? A whole new game.

👍/👎Pros and Cons:

  • Nostalgia hits the right spot
  • Gets more enjoyable later
  • It will take a lot of your time
  • Controls and combat not for new players
  • Cheap deaths
  • No gamepad support
Favorite Game
Steam Replay 2022
Replay 2022

Recent Activity

2.0 hrs on record
Currently In-Game
9.9 hrs on record
last played on Mar 25
32 hrs on record
last played on Mar 25
< >
Majordomo Aug 9, 2022 @ 3:20am 
Hey, I added you because I like your reviews :zaggrin:
GinaTonik Apr 27, 2022 @ 4:58pm 
Still loving your reviews! Keep up the great work! :lint:
Fenryl Nov 7, 2021 @ 1:56am 
Greetings from France to Slovenia ! I have a sudden urge to eat any chevapchichi !
GinaTonik Oct 31, 2021 @ 3:41pm 
Hope it's okay I added you, I wanna see your reviews at the top of my list :D
VonRaven 666 Jul 23, 2021 @ 8:52am 
+ rep friendly and helpfull person. :estusfull: