Editor: Diane Hutchinson Editor@girlgamersuk.com

Songbringer

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 10 - 2017

Sci-fi Zelda? Why not?

 
When you throw around the suggestion of a game that puts The Legend of Zelda into a sci-fi setting, it really is no surprise that gamers will sit up and take notice. This was the hook for Wizard Fu Games’ Songbringer when it launched a KickStarter campaign, and unsurprisingly it was very well received. Now, the game is available on Xbox One, PS4 and PC, bringing top-down action adventure in a procedurally generated world.

 
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Procedural generation really can’t be avoided in modern videogames. The idea of near endless variety thanks to a random set up can be quite enticing, but at the same time randomly generated levels can feel a little impersonal, and there is the chance that whatever you liked the first time around will simply not be there in further playthroughs. Wizard Fu drop the hammer right there and go for the best of both worlds. The procedurally generated world in Songbringer is generated using a six letter word. Use that same word again, and the same world will be created. Not only are players able to have the same experience if they wish, but they can take different approaches to the same world, or even try the worlds generated by other players just by typing in a word. All in all, that’s a very cool idea.

 
These random worlds look nice too, with a pixelated art style that seems to take influence from games such as Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery. It’s a good look that allows plenty of atmosphere in the game, along with character for the main hero and his allies. The monsters are varied and quite plentiful, and there are some nice big bosses to deal with along the way, all of which look suitably unique thanks to the visual style.

 
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But where have all of these monsters come from? Well, you can thank Roq for that.

 
Players take control of the absurdly named Roq Epimetheos who has somehow found himself stranded on the planet Ekzera. He also lost his shirt, which is a shame. Anyway, Roq just wants to get back to the titular spaceship, Songbringer, but stumbles upon a magical sword during his early exploration. Much to the frustration of his skybot companion, Jib, Roq pulls the sword from the ground and, rather predictably, awakens an evil force that just happens to be hell bent on destroying the galaxy. It will be down to Roq and Jib to find a way back to the Songbringer, and also save the galaxy along the way.

 
The story is perhaps not the highlight of the game, but the overall tone seems to be quite tongue in cheek, so it is all entertaining. Roq has a glib attitude and spouts one liners with alarming regularity, while Jib plays the more serious sidekick. There are plenty of laughs to be had in Songbringer, but it won’t necessarily be the main reason for playing.

 
The gameplay will consist of ample exploring and fighting enemies. The random nature of the worlds means that players using different words will have different experiences, but for the most part they will explore the world and find dungeons, each of which has a boss that must be defeated. There is plenty of loot found all over the place, and the worlds also have their fair share of secrets. One way of finding these is by meditation, which also happens to heal Roq slowly. Even the psychedelic cactus that Roq uses for quick healing can occasionally reveal something interesting.

 
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Players will spend a lot of time fighting monsters as they explore both the overworld and the dungeons. The combat in Songbringer is a little simplistic. For the most part, Roq just swings his sword wildly, which lacks precision and the ability to deal with the huge numbers of enemies that can occasionally threaten to overwhelm the player. Roq unlocks some other abilities down the line, such as the use of bombs, or a boomerang top hat, and can later combine elemental powers with his equipment to further bolster them in combat, and also make them useful in different situations.

 
It is the exploration that will keep people coming back to Songbringer. There is a lot to find in the game, and it is quite easy to get lost thanks to the sheer size of the world. Add the fact that players can mix up the world for their next run through, or even collaborate with others on the same world, just adds to the interest. There is a trippy, new age theme running through the game that simply won’t appeal to a lot of gamers, but the familiarity of various game systems in this strange adventure will surely attract more than it turns away.

 
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Songbringer is a game that throws some new ideas at some old ideas and sees what sticks. The resulting bundle of ideas is good fun and offers near endless replayability, but the uninteresting combat and weird overall flavour of the game could leave players having their fill after only a couple of runs. If you like action adventure and don’t mind experimenting with psychedelic cactus, then Songbringer could be the game for you.

 

 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 



 

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