Beacon is a top-down roguelike shooter that aims to deliver a twist on the genre by giving you the ability to change your DNA on death. These can have effects to not only your stats but also mutate into different ways which can affect how you play the game overall. Does it work? Or in a sea of roguelike games is Beacon just a flash in the dark? This is our review of Beacon.
As I started to play Beacon the first things that impressed me was how both a controller and keyboard and mouse felt great to use. Getting controls to work correctly on keyboard and mouse for a top-down shooter can be hard, but in this, the team behind the game have succeeded. The various weapons, gadgets and the dodge roll worked well either way, but I felt it was easier to play with a keyboard. The more you play, the more weapons you may come across with various stats and abilities (my current favorite is the flame pistol which leaves behind pools of flame). Having these choices with weapons which act differently means you need on controls that not only feel well, but work and they do.
The main thrust of Beacon is that you’re stranded on this unexplored planet trying to build a beacon to get home. But you’re going to die, a lot. Thankfully you have your handy dandy clone machine which can pop out a new you to go back into danger. Although the next time, you may be a bit different depending on what DNA you may have picked up and decided to combine yourself with. This will not only give you stat boosts and possible negatives, but it can also provide you with ability mutations and change your physical appearance. I lucked out with getting a skill that had a chance to slow down time on a critical shot, and it was convenient in a game where the pace can suddenly ramp up with several monsters being dropped on you, and you have no way to leave the area. Considering that currently there are five levels available in Beacon (each of which is randomly generated), this helps to spice things up in the game and can lend itself to being a replayable game.
It should be mentioned that since Beacon just launched into Steam Early Access, they have only a certain amount of things in. Five randomly generated levels, over 75 different weapons and 75 different mutations, over 35 enemies with eight champion variants, three boss fights and a world that seems to hold more questions than answers currently. They’ve released a road map for future updates which would add more playability to the game and some nice features like daily challenges.
The art style of Beacon is a can offer beautiful views of the environment one moment then suddenly be bright and menacing as you’re dodging balls of flame and other unwanted ways to die. The lighting sets the mood for this landscape and the team behind the art and graphics have done an excellent job of showcasing the different places you travel through, whether it’s a dark cave lit with neon green glowing pools of alien junk or the remains of an alien corporation base. This is paired well with music that flows throughout the game.
The company provided a game key for review purposes.