The other day, I stumbled across this cute little Rogue-lite Hack and Slash game that is incredibly fast-paced and challenging but fair. On top of being rather minimalistic and quite easy to understand, it has a surprising amount of synergies and elements to it that make it a lot of fun and quite replayable which is why I wanted to write a quick review on Neophyte by RegalPigeon!
Developer: RegalPigeon Publisher: RegalPigeon Genre: 2D, Indie, Hack and Slash, Action, Roguelite Release Date: December 27th, 2021 Reviewed on: PC Available on: PC Copy was purchased.
This game came to be in an incubator of sorts named “Quarterly Made Games”, a game development collective based in Hong Kong where developers try to finish personal projects in three months. Hence, it may not be surprising that Neophyte looks quite adorable but not incredibly detailed or flashy. You play as a mage of sorts that is equipped with two (and later more) spells of sorts that you utilize to defeat horde after horde of enemies. These enemies range from simple skeletons to archers, golems, mages, rats and even flying laser turrets! After successfully beating the wave thrown at you, you’re rewarded with bonus stats, some passive perks or ability slots, as well as a range of spells that you may add to your repertoire to equip and try out.
The spells themselves range from basic damage spells like fireballs and lightning punches to more elaborate spells like beams, AoE abilities, mobility spells and other effects that cost mana but are rather powerful. Some of these have high cooldowns or cost a lot but equipping the right combination and kiting your enemies can be incredibly rewarding once you find a combination that suits your playstyle. As you progress through each stage, you can select a few different stat upgrades that can further enhance your playstyle. In one run, I was summoning these flaming chakrams around me and moving through enemies, so I tried to get a lot of dodge chance, movement speed and damage resistance to plough through the enemy masses… In another, I created a powerful crit and attack speed based build that inflicts arcane damage with a lot of its spells but also ignites enemies whenever I did critically strike. In yet another, I was bombarding enemies with fireballs and shooting a laser beam at them before repositioning myself with a quick teleport to safety.
Neophyte feels incredibly satisfying and rewarding with lots of possible builds that are entirely random. Your passive effects can further enhance your existing build or open up the path to changing up your playstyle completely, mid-way through the run. You can freely change your spells before each stage, allowing you to experiment freely before making a tough call. And in the end, even the most powerful run can succumb to unlucky movement. If you’ve played Vampire Survivors, then you may know already how hard it is to escape from enemies that follow your every move and turn. While kiting them can be quite easy with some weapons, it gets harder with another loadout. Neophyte feels similar in a way, making the player plan out every move strategically so that you don’t end up getting backed into a corner but since you actually have to aim your spells and fight your way through the hordes in contrast to VS’ survival-focused formula, Neophyte adds a lot more difficulty to something that seems relatively easy to onlookers. And I love that.
Overall, I’ll have to say that Neophyte’s paid demo version (available on Itch.io) has a lot to offer for how little the game costs. It is quite unique in some of its synergies and creates some incredibly fun runs that I personally enjoyed a whole lot. If you have one dollar (or more) to spare and want to support RegalPigeon, feel free to check out the itch.io page yourself and maybe get the demo yourself! If you want to, you may even wishlist it on Steam where it will release in Spring 2022.