MidBoss (Review) PC

MidBoss (Review) PC
Review Score:

MidBoss is just one of the many new roguelikes to appear on the Steam platform. While similar to the classic game NetHack, Midboss offers a unique twist that no other game in the genre has. Many of you may remember the classic version of MidBoss, which is still available DRM-free via the game’s official website. This version is not nearly as polished as the Steam release, and in some ways it pales in comparison. It’s missing the polish that makes the Steam release so great.

For starters, Midboss deals with permadeath differently than other roguelikes. Even though you can die, there is a feature that allows you to possess any creatures that are within proximity of your body. For example: The imp form you start with grants you the ability to possess. The difficult part about possession is that every time you possess a creature, you start over from level 1.  Each character (including your imp form) has their own character level, so you have to level each creature along with your main human form.  

The ability to possess creatures has its advantages and disadvantages. For example:  If the body you’re possessing dies, you will be turned back into an imp. You also get to keep any skills the monster had as well. This process can be repeated until you have amassed a large collection of skills. From there, you can use these skills to survive through the game. Just remember that different creatures have their own skills, and they must be possessed before those skills can be taken. This means you might have to play different creatures multiple times to not only get certain skills, but to level them as well.

MidBoss can be a brutal and unforgiving game to play. It can take many hours to master and even longer to explore its dungeons. The deeper you go inside each dungeon, the harder things become. Despite MidBoss’ difficulty, it can be considered a coffee break roguelike. This means that gamers new to the genre can still pick up the game and play without any prior knowledge of roguelikes. 

MidBosses’ combat system functions like other games in the classic roguelike genre (i.e. Nethack, Slash’em, etc.). The grid-based environments in MidBoss operate like a game of pen and paper D&D. There are useful tool tips that help you identify each item found inside the game’s vast environments. 

The Graphic User Interface (GUI) is simple and very easy to understand; there is no learning curve whatsoever. You can either use the keyboard, mouse or a combination of the two. With an easy to follow tutorial that appears at the beginning of the game, MidBoss makes a smooth transition from the tutorial to the game with nothing lost in the translation, so you are never left hanging, trying to figure out what to do next.

MidBoss has procedural generation (randomly generated) levels that change every time you die or start a new game. This guarantees that you will never play the same game twice. Thanks to this feature, Midboss’ replayability is close to endless.

The randomly generated maps guarantee a fresh, new experience every time you play the game. This also includes different weapons, gear, potions, scrolls and food.  What makes this feature so great is that you never know what to expect. You could easily end up with a rare, high level item or even an Epic piece of loot at the start of the game. But then there are times when you don’t find anything; it’s all based on luck.

It should be mentioned that like Diablo, weapons and gear can be found by destroying the environment. Aside from killing monsters and opening treasure chests, you can also destroy bookcases, barrels, etc. Inventory space is limited, though, and it can fill up fast. Luckily, there are merchants deep inside the dungeon to sell your unwanted items to.

The graphics are absolutely stunning. Everything from the sprites to the tiles on the floor contain a high level of detail. In fact, they resemble a highly polished 16-bit RPG from the heyday of gaming. It’s all woven together by one of brightest (and cleanest) looking color palettes ever seen in a roguelike.

As mentioned earlier, MidBoss is a coffee break roguelike that is easy to pick up and play, but very difficult to master. You will find yourself dying, and dying often (even before you make it halfway through the dungeon). Don’t be surprised if you die at the start of the game or on the second floor, which is only a few minutes in; the entire game is based on trial and error.

Roguelikes are designed to be hard, and this is where their replay valve factors in. Midboss by Kitsune Games is no different. Once you get the hang of things – and learn how to survive – you’ll find yourself traversing the deep dungeons and battling monsters like a pro in no time.

James ‘Daripper’ Pittaro
Platform: PC

System Requirements:
MINIMUM:
OS: Windows XP (Service Pack 3)
Processor: Dual Core 2.0 GHz
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: OpenGL 3.0+ support (2.1 with ARB extensions acceptable)
Storage: 300 MB available space

Developer: Kitsune Games
Publisher: Kitsune Games
ESRB: N/A
Price: $14.99

MidBoss Official Website:
https://kitsunegames.com/games/midboss/

Review Score
Graphics
Beautiful 2D sprites and backgrounds enhance the experience.
Sound
The in-game soundtrack keeps you in the groove, as you plunge deeper and deeper into the underworld.
Gameplay
One of the most enjoyable roguelikes I have played this year. MidBoss may look simplistic on the surface, but it's actually a very involving game that takes a lot of strategy to beat.
Overall
In the beginning, Midboss was a DRM-free only release. Now that its available on Steam, Midboss will finally receive the recognition it deserves.
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