It’s kind of a thrilling chase, not quite a wondrous place and I don’t think you’d be taking your princess on a date here.
City of Brass
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS4, Steam, Xbox One
Release Date: 8/2/2019 (Switch) Out Now elsewhere
Age Rating: 12+
Genres: Action, Adventure
Developer: Uppercut Games
City of Brass is a first person rogue lite game from the creators of BioShock set in a world reminiscent of Arabian Nights (Hence the Aladdin puns, please tell me they hit?) The difference with this one is that while rogue lite intends to be challenging, I’m sure they’re not intending you to rage quit and force play through’s of the game.
What do you do?
The City of Brass is summoned to appear in the desert, you see that the city once thrived in the desert thanks to djinns. They would however break free from their masters and turn the city into chaos. What is left is a city haunted by ghosts, skeletons and all manner of beastly enemies.
As there is no specific back story to your character you aren’t actually far off being Aladdin, in that you aspire to attain as much treasure and riches as you possibly can from within the Golden City. The difference here is that you’re not doing to impress a princess, but more so to satisfy your own greed. While attempting to steal and find as much treasure as you can through the 12 procedural generated levels you must battle all the ghastly enemies now left patrolling the City of Brass.
There is a timer on the levels, you need to get to the end of them before the clock hits zero. For all the treasure you find the time increases though. The longer you survive and more treasure you find the higher scores you get at the end of the level which will go towards unlocks.
The permadeath results in this game being painful, frustrating and quite rage inducing. Not to mention the sounds from the enemies that you attack being really annoying, and having to square off against them again and again after deaths is just…. oh boy.
Bioshock Influences then?
Well kind of. Yes this game was created by some of the veterans from the Bioshock series at Uppercut games. And I think upon first seeing your character for the first time the inspiration is rather obvious. The first person view attacks with a whip or a sword for some reason just the way the attacks panned out reminded me straight away of seeing your hands from Bioshock. Not that uncommon in games of course, but it just seemed to hit me straight away.
But that certainly is the only influences that have come across from Bioshock to this game. Sadly…
Look and feel
So as mentioned you play the game with a sword and a whip. The whip is pretty fun and does actually make taking down enemies a bit easier as a hit to the head or face dazes them temporarily given you enough time to slash them away. The key issue here being hitting the enemy in the head of face. I played this version on the Switch and it was quite excruciating at times getting to aim correctly. The controls in general felt like tank controls from the original Resident Evil, but not in a good way at all. It was really difficult to aim attacks and considering this game is a race against time, really janky when moving and turning.
In terms of the look, it has to be said this game certainly isn’t that bad. The procedural generated levels can put out some rather varying results with some bright sunny levels in market or city areas.
The creators must have been aware of the challenge of this game as you can vastly alter the experience upon unlocking and buying bonuses. They vary from the decreasing the health of the enemies on the levels or even decreasing the number of enemies. They can be purchased with the gold you attain from the levels at random genies scattered throughout. There are also extras you can buy that you’ll have at the start of the level like more health and even scrapping the time clock. It’s quite funny that these are within the game, it kind of implies the developers knew that this game had a heck of a difficulty spike.
Pros and Cons
+ Not a bad looker
+ Procedural generated levels are pretty nice for replay-ability.
– Painful to control
– There’s challenging, then there’s City of Brass
– Due to it’s rogue lite nature no real story or character connection
– Given how challenging it is, I doubt replay-ability would be a thought
Pain. Very challenging even for it’s genre. Procedural levels means there is options for replaying the game, however at the end of the slog I couldn’t imagine doing so. There are the blessings that do ease the game up slightly. Honestly the intro training level kind of set me up for what I had ahead based on the controls being a slog, then when you finally enter the game properly and fall to the traps or enemies, yeah you know you’re in for a tough time. Visually rather quite a nice game, but that can’t make up for the clumsy controls and rock hard game.