Another day, another retro styled game hoves into view. It is feeling a bit like Groundhog Day over here at TheXboxHub Towers, with more of these type of games appearing each and every week. We’ve seen good examples like Vampire Survivors, we’ve seen less successful ones like Primal Light, and now I have to cast my beady eye over another.
Under the spotlight this time around is Bravery & Greed, a “Beat-em-up, Roguelike Dungeon Brawler” coming from Rekka Games and Team17. So, is it a case of the more genres the better, or does this game try to do too much in a limited space? Let’s go into the dungeons and find out.
Story? Well, not really, to be honest. The opening scene sees four heroes sat in a pub, they decide to try to go and hunt down some treasure, and being both brave and greedy, they set off in an attempt to get rich. Or, more likely, die trying! With a refreshingly simple approach to the narrative – Ie, get money – the scene is set to go and fill our boots.
Presentation wise and Bravery & Greed works the retro angle, presented in a side scrolling platform kind of view. There are platforms, enemies and various traps to overcome, and while the graphics on display are unlikely to stress the Xbox Series X, they do the job. Animation and design of the heroes and enemies are all pretty good to be honest, and while the baddies do suffer from a case of ‘different colour = different baddy, honest!’, the presentation does work fairly well. It is most definitely a 16-Bit looking game, with good sized sprites running about the place, while the bosses that we eventually find and fight are pretty much screen filling and look awesome. It’s decent in terms of the audio too, with lots of sword thumps and magic whooshes to listen to as we go through the levels.
Bravery & Greed looks and sounds nice, yet what about the way that the game plays out, the roguelike loop that we need to make sure is nailed on? Again, here the news is good, with a very well placed mix of exploring and combat to get involved in.
If we start with the exploring part, this is common to whichever class you choose, and with the dungeons seeming to be running a random layout, they are always challenging. Basically, we spawn into the starting room, and as we move about – left, right, up or down – the mini map in the top left of the screen is filled in. As we explore, we find not only enemies to teach the error of their ways, but a lot of other things as well. There are shrines where we can choose a path that we want to follow, from a choice of four. Once you have chosen that path, you can then unlock further perks based on the choice you made. As an example, if you choose the Path of Darkness, one of the perks you can choose will heal you every time you pick gold up, but make other healing items less effective. Every enemy drops gold when defeated, so this seems like a great idea – at least until you reach a boss and have no more gold drops! Picking the right path, and a well considered mixture of perks is a key part of the strategy.
Also, as we explore, we will find chests with new gear in, boots and gloves, even magic wands can be found. In a nice move, when you reach the end of the run, new items have a chance of appearing in subsequent runs into the dungeon. There are a whole host of other things to find as well, with keys and hidden rooms, teleporters and merchants to chat to. You won’t be short of things to do.
Now, as we wander about the place, the inhabitants of the dungeon make their displeasure plain by attacking us on sight. Dictated by which character we choose is the need to dissuade foes from attempting to harm us. There are four classic character roles, with a rogue type character, a magician, a barbarian with a big sword and a Templar kind of guy with a sword and shield. Each character has a main attack and a secondary, ranged attack, be that a chakram or a bow. The magician is an interesting character, as his ranged attack summons a big ghost looking thing that runs about the level and attacks when you do, but not necessarily in the correct place. He certainly takes some getting used to, lets’ put it that way!
Being a simple soul at heart, the barbarian woman with the big chopper was my character of choice, and her chakram throw is a pretty good ranged attack. The combat is very exciting, and while the basic enemies aren’t much of a challenge, the bosses are a different story. The dodge move you have at your disposal is your friend here, that’s for sure! Learning the boss patterns is vital, and while having friends along helps to split the aggro, it also seems to make the bosses stronger, so again, it is very much a double edged sword.
You can also tweak the way that combat works by assigning Arcana to your run, be that ones that make the enemies stronger, but give you a lot more gold when beaten, or something like The Fool, which will revive the party once when they die, costing a very reasonable 40% of the gold you have collected if you have to use it. As you go through, more Arcanas are unlocked, and so making the game play out the way you want is pretty easy.
Bravery & Greed has a very robust multiplayer mode, with the chance to play couch co-op or with friends online; either way works very well. The net code is strong with online play, and while it can be confusing to watch someone else attacking when you have been used to single player mode, the fun and challenge of playing with others is where the game comes alive. I haven’t been able to get into a game with randoms yet, but it is early days, and playing with friends is always more fun anyway, what with all the banter that goes with it.
And then, in addition to the story mode, which is where the majority of my time was spent, there is also a survival mode, where waves of enemies spawn in and need to be sorted out.
All in all, Bravery & Greed is an example of a fusion of genres done well. The graphics may put some people off, but I urge those folk to give the gameplay a try – the loop of fighting and exploring is pretty compelling. The challenge is real as the game goes on, especially as the stronger bosses make their presence felt. With every run being different, the challenge found in Bravery & Greed is certainly a long term one.
In fact, I’ve very much enjoyed being brave and greedy, and if you give what Team17 and Rekka Games have produced a try, I think you might do as well.
Bravery & Greed is on the Xbox Store