Arboria is an action role-playing rogue-like title that sends you to the underbelly of Durnar to fight for your god and save the Father Tree. As a Yotun, or warrior of your tree-like tribe, you must battle creatures for resources and if you die, appease the god or suffer the consequences. Each time you die, you can give the resources you collect to hopefully have the god bless your next run with better Yotuns with good abilities, but if he’s unhappy, he will give you some of the worst Yotuns of the flock. The atmosphere and characters are dark and gritty, which is a change from most rogue-likes today. I got instant nosgothic vibes with some Viking stuff thrown in. There are quite a few items about this game, being early access, that I hope the developers address before release. The core item that really needs some love, is combat, as right now it feels very sluggish and unrewarding. Read on for more of our Arboria early access review.
I’m drawn into any ARPG by how either fluid or deep the combat system is. This system while taking a note from Dark Souls-esque games, gets about halfway there. Chaining combinations for what should be one-handed weapons seems very slow and “bulky”. Heavy and Light attacks do not chain well together and even when you charge the heavy attacks, they don’t seem to do that much more noticeable damage for the risk. The element aspects of combat are interesting with all 3 giving some kind of an advantage, but fire almost always was the best choice. When you start mixing in your special ability, it starts getting a bit smoother, but some of the alternatives like the shield, felt more or less worthless as there was no counter system, it just blocked damage. Luckily the mana system was pretty forgiving, but almost every attack was sluggish, making you have to take risks just to finish off an enemy before they likely got some damage on you.
The first thing that stood out to me, was the respawn mechanics. When you die, you have to give up your resources to appease the god, if you don’t, you could end up with no additional attributes or even worse, near-sighted or color blind. Colorblind was pretty big, as seeing the elemental colors of enemies can play a large role in dispatching them quickly. I didn’t quite get some of the upgrading systems as you go deeper into the levels, but it felt like your mechanics didn’t scale up very well at the start, as 3-4 hits from an enemy would likely kill you. There seemed to be quite a few aspects of upgrades or changes you could make to your character, but it required you to be a higher level, which I wasn’t sure how to raise my level or what affected it.
There are quite a few different weapons, the one you will see the most starting out is the axe. The more interesting thing about the weapons is the “powers” or your “Q” and “E” on the keyboard. These provide a variety of things such as shields, ground slams, or blasts. This can help with pesky ranged enemies, or if you get piled on. Sadly, that is where the weapons end, while they look cool and definitely are symbiotic, they lack depth across the types. The axe and sword, for example, feel no different, almost the exact same combat moves. Luckily when you pick a Yotun, they can come with passive traits that may make you favor one weapon over the other.
This game is still very much early access, so it is expected that there are things that could use a bit of work. I think the IP and story could really be a hook, harkening back to the days of Soul Reaver darkness, but the combat is what should keep you coming back. If the combat was more fluid and players could more easily tell the distance of attacks both from the Yotun and enemies, this game could be a lot of fun. I loved the little nuances of the tribe and the fact that if you don’t appease the god after dying you could even end up with a Yotun who’s colorblind. This is an interesting title that Dreamplant Studio is developing, it just could use a bit of love in the combat department, to make the combat a bit more deep or chain attacks together better.
Compare to: Dark Souls, Dead Cells
Thank you All In Games! for a chance to take a look.