You awaken in a strange place. Your head is pounding, your memories are hazy and you don’t know how you got here… The only direction to go is some sort of elevator that leads you up to a bar that is not open for business yet… but they’re hiring! So, given your sturdy stature, you become a bouncer in this establishment.
Necrobouncer is a 2D Dungeon Roguelite-Crawler where you raise the dead, claim hundreds of relics, kick out enemies and get stronger every time you beat an unwelcome guest… that is if you survive for long enough.
Developer: Alchemy Sheep Publisher: Ravenage Games, IndieArk Genre: 2D, Indie, Action, Roguelite, Dungeon Crawler Release Date: December 8th, 2022 Reviewed on: PC Available on: PC Copy was provided by HomerunPR.
Honestly, it’s rather simple in what it does and is somewhat easy to learn. I found the entry barrier for Necrobouncer to be not too high, actually. The game is still difficult, don’t get me wrong, but the difficulty comes mostly from how combat works and not from in-depth mechanics and a high skill-ceiling – as it’s the case with a lot of other games in the genre.
This is a good thing, in my opinion.
Combat is simple yet challenging. You have a normal attack button, a projectile you can shoot that costs energy… and you also have an ability based on your class. The starting class summons Zombies that latch onto enemies and explode after damaging enemies for a while but another one utilizes lightning and feels more mobile at the cost of less maximum health.
As you traverse the basement floors to evict unwelcome guests, you accumulate experience that levels up your character and unlocks perks related to your class-related ability. At the same time, you also unlock and/or find relics that grant you generic upgrades such as more damage against bosses, more maximum health, or more energy.
Theoretically, you could get powerful builds with special effects being applied to enemies when you cast or damage them. I had one run where I got pretty tanky and summoned enemies when I got hit… at the same time, more pick-ups would spawn in the room and I’d deal more damage the lower I was. So, I would take hits deliberately when there were health pick-ups available to then spawn Zombies that explode on contact.
That’s just theoretical, though. In reality, I would have loved to see more synergies for the game but at the same time, I’m not sure how that could be implemented… Maybe your projectile attack could split into different mini-projectiles or you could have reduced cast time on your ability or something… but that sort of stuff could turn out really strong.
As a side note: If you’re a streamer… this game has Twitch integration which is quite interesting!
The added challenge for Necrobouncer is due to cast times and delays, mostly, but also due to the different rooms in the game. There are different rooms with a variety of objects such as killing all enemies, dodging traps or destroying crystals that spawn enemies.
At the same time, attacking sort of locks you into your combo if you queue up a lot of attacks, meaning that you might get hit if you’re too eager. Dodging briefly stuns you, using your ability takes a little while, and there are other sorts of little things like that that on the one hand make the game harder but on the other hand also make the game feel sort of clunky.
This could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing. Clunkiness adds difficulty but it also is… clunky. You get it. If the combat was more fluid, it could turn too easy, so I think a degree of clunkiness is needed… but more than anything, I believe that the Necrobouncer lacks hit feedback. That’s something that definitely needs to be added to the game.
I mean, when you get hit, you don’t notice too well. I’d like to see a flashing character sprite that is more indicative of you losing health or maybe an effect like in Forager where the game kinda zooms in when you get hit, very briefly. Again, it would add more clarity to the game and not make it necessarily easier but rather, fairer.
At the same time, hitting enemies doesn’t feel incredibly powerful. I’d love it if there were some SFX for hitting enemies. Little things that make it more rewarding. In the SFX department, Necrobouncer is a little lacking but I’m sure that sort of stuff can be added easily.
Overall, though, Necrobouncer is a hoot. It’s challenging but the skill ceiling isn’t too high. I’d imagine that it could be a good entry point into the genre for people completely new to games that are sort of like “Rogue”. Not to mention that the pixel art is cute and that there are plenty of interesting ideas in the game!