So, a while back, I wrote a review on a game called “Adore”, which at the time has been a Creature-Collector Roguelike game where you tame monsters that fight for you all the while you’ve got to kite enemies and strategically manage your creatures to not let them die miserably.
The game had an interesting premise, cute art and lots of cool ideas… but I haven’t really played it much in a while and hence, I decided to give it a try again to see what the new updates were all about.
For starters, the game no longer really is a “roguelike” in the same way that it was before. I mean, it’s still a dungeon crawler I guess with some degree of procedural generation but there are no more power-ups. Instead, you simply buy power-ups at a vendor.
While you previously would find artefacts at a vendor within the runs that would grant you these temporary upgrades for those runs only… you now can get them before each run, equip whatever you want… and you don’t lose them or anything. This makes the gameplay simpler but it doesn’t exactly improve it. If you have a lot of money now after you’ve purchased a few artefacts, there aren’t really many uses for it either…
At the same time, in the dungeon, you may find a pad or two where you can gain essences just like previously… but it doesn’t exactly feel as if they serve a real purpose.
You get the essence to capture targets and you may gain a stamina boost or more health through it… but it really feels as if this is just a relic left from previous updates and the old systems…
As you go on, you’ll capture creatures that then can be brought back to the “refuge” where you can upgrade them to form synergies, which feels like a rather dumbed-down version of the synergy mechanics from before.
Previously, you’d lose your creatures as you returned from a run. At one point, I think you got one free creature at the beginning of each run to take with you and stuff. There was a level-up system in place and creatures that took too many hits, died.
In this version of the game, creatures still level-up (which is more meaningful given that you get to keep them forever) but if they reach one hit point, they don’t die but rather get “cursed”, meaning that any damage they take is transferred to you. To remove the curse, you can simply leave them back at your base of operations for a while and they’ll be fine… Honestly, a bit disappointing?
The art is still stellar for the game and the combat still has the original feel but I frankly don’t really know what they intended with these changes.
The runs aren’t long either. You go and explore a relatively easy dungeon, come back with resources (oh no, there’s grinding now!) and then you go back in for no reason in particular.
It sort of feels as if they wanted to lean into the ARPG genre but they didn’t really hit the mark. This version of Adore feels like Dark Souls 3 but without the hack and slash and without the loot… or the story… or the visuals… and without any special synergies or set bonuses. So, basically just an empty husk of an ARPG.
And yet, the developers are adding more zones and late-game mechanics when I found it utterly boring to get through the first dungeon. I don’t know if this is the right direction to take the game into and in the end, it’s the developers’ decision… but some Steam user reviews state that they bought the game early on in the Early Access and that they’re now disappointed that the game changed so drastically.
Plainly, I liked the old Adore and was a big fan of the Stamina changes that the 0.3.0 update introduced. When I then started playing again, I felt as if I’m playing a different game – and I don’t think that it necessarily is “a better game”… It feels like a less polished version of the core gameplay that got me so attached at the time.
Stuff like the synergies being dumbed down and the artefacts being permanent really killed the vibe here for me. I may play some more of it and hope that it gets better later on… I’ll also ask on the Adore Discord about how other people feel about Adore’s changes.
Frankly, my old review is no longer relevant. The game I recommended two years ago no longer exists and I probably will need to edit the post and change my approach to Early Access titles. I’ve seen games change over time during EA but I’ve never seen a change for the worse.