Brut@l (Review) PC

Brut@l (Review) PC
Review Score:

Brut@l offers a new twist to the classic, roguelike genre, complete with ASCII-style graphics and a ASCII graphical user interface (GUI). When you first launch the game, you instantly have flashbacks of Nethack and Slash’em. Granted, Brut@l plays along the same lines as a traditional roguelike, but with one exception – the combat is more fast-paced and action-like.

Brut@l uses every known gameplay mechanic from the roguelike genre to enhance its gameplay. This includes perma-death; randomly generated levels; randomized loot; and even randomized mobs (i.e. NPCs) to fight as well.

There is a total of four character classes to choose from when developing your character — Warrior, Amazon, Mage and Ranger. Each character class has its own strengths and weaknesses. The Warrior and Amazon classes are more suited for beginners. While these classes rely on up-close, melee-based combat, the characters themselves are much stronger and can take multiple hits without dying. The range-style classes are much weaker and must fight from a distance.

I feel the rogue class should have been included in the game. While the Ranger class does a good job of filling the gap, it’s still just another ranged (i.e. missile-style) class that is very similar to the Mage, sans the ability to cast spells. Plus, the rogue class is more suited for stealth and lock picking chests and doors. Brut@l would be an even better game if the developer could implement the rogue class during a future update. Besides, it would help balance out the game more.

As a rule, roguelikes only allow one game to be played at any given time, which means you must play that single character until you either beat the game or meet your demise. Brut@l’s gameplay steps outside the parameters of the genre by allowing the player to have four concurrent games running at once. This means you can start one game with an Amazon character and later start another one with a different class.

Everything inside the game world can be destroyed, including barrels, pillars and other objects that stand in the way. Some objects can be destroyed for experience and items.

Staying alive not only takes strategy when dealing with multiple mobs, but you also have to worry about traps in the floor and degrading tiles that crumble beneath your feet as you walk across them. In fact, it’s quite difficult to jump from one crumbling tile to the other. One wrong move can result in your character plummeting to their death, ruining hours of hard work. As the game’s name implies, the gameplay can be ‘brutal’ and very unforgiving.

The in-game mapping system is comprised of ASCII. As it stands, this mapping system only shows how much of the dungeon you have actually explored (there are no additional features during the map phase). Plus, viewing the map is an excellent way of pausing the game, especially if you want to take a quick break from the action. Fans of the classic roguelike genre will appreciate the map system. It identifies the enemies around you by their classic alphabet symbols. It’s subtle things like this that make Brut@l such a great game to play.

Weapons and other goodies are not handed to you in Brut@l; if you want a stronger sword (or a weapon at all), then you are expected to craft it out of materials that can be gathered throughout the dungeon. Starting out is not an easy task; you have your bare hands and a torch, if you can find one on the first floor. If you can’t find any materials, you must punch and kick your way through each enemy until you acquire something.

Brut@l has a co-op feature and a ‘dungeon creation’ system. The dungeon creation system is rather fun; it allows you to design your own dungeons. The customization feature is so elaborate that you can even choose what enemies, loot, and destructible items spawn in each room. You can even design the layout of the dungeon too. Problem is, the player must use in-game currency to ‘buy’ the items needed to build their ideal dungeon. Creatures, items, and even simple pillars can’t be used unless they’re purchased. So while the game gives you the freedom to build the ideal dungeon, it limits you by how much in-game currency you have earned.

The game also includes an online Global leaderboard that ranks players on the number of monsters they have killed; it’s a great feature that encourages competition. Some players have been grinding for a long time, so working your way into the Top 10 is a challenge in and of itself. If you’re not up to challenging the top players on the Global leaderboard, you can always sort the leaderboard by ‘friends’ on your Steam list for a more personal challenge.

The graphics are impressive. The 3D environments add a modern touch to the roguelike genre. And even though the graphics are designed to resemble ASCII, the player will notice a visual change to their character when equipping different types of armor, boots and weapons. It’s a nice feature that adds to Bruta@l’s appeal.

Brut@l is what you would call a ‘coffee break’ roguelike. You don’t have to invest a lot of time and energy to get somewhere. You can start playing immediately because the controls are simple and easy to understand. Plus, there are no barriers or incredibly difficult learning curves that would stop new players from enjoying this incredibly fun game.

James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
Platform: PC

System Requirements
OS: Windows 7 or higher
◦ Processor: 2.0GHz i5 or better
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: Graphics card with 1 GB of Video RAM (requires DX9.0 or higher)
DirectX: Version 9.0
Storage: 2 GB available space
Sound Card: Any compatible soundcard

Developer: Stormcloud Games
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Price: $14.99

Review Score
The ASCII-style, 3D graphics add a modern twist to a fantastic classic genre.
The music is subtle and very easy to listen to, unlike some games where the music drowns out the entire environment altogether.
I am a big fan of the roguelike genre, and Brut@l has earned a special place in my heart. I wish the combat was less action-based, and more turn-based; but otherwise, the gameplay is perfect.
Brut@l is simply brilliant; it’s a fun game that anyone can pick up and enjoy.
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