Reviews

Songbringer Review – Scream for Me Dungeons!

Wizard Fu games have decided to give players a Sci-fi based spin on the dungeon crawling adventure genre in ‘Songbringer’. Complete with procedurally generated dungeon for a bespoke looting experience, Double Eleven have published a Steam Punk love note to the Zelda’s and Metroid’s of yester-year. Surprisingly, this reviewer has no issue with that at all…

Songbringer involves a protagonist with no shirt and a top hat exploring a decaying planet that himself and his personal floating droid ‘Get Good’ in. Straight off the bat players are introduced to a shiny sword in a cave. After all, it’s dangerous to go alone.

Swords, Swords and Swords!

Whilst combat starts off quite basic in Songbringer. The game soon levels up its available arsenal with bombs, different sword abilities and more. Unlike previous game entries in the genre, Songbringers’ various weapons and abilities are of more use in the field than in dungeons. This is due to the unpredictable nature of the games procedurally built dungeons.

“Oh, Excuse me” “No Mina-at-tor!”

Whilst having a series of dungeons generated especially for players gives the sense of fresh exploration and customisation, navigating them can become quite challenging. The HUD map is set into squares which don’t match up with the game. This is easily explained away by each area of a dungeon being a separate room, but still doesn’t excuse the oversight of navigation in a dungeon crawler. Players are able to mark the maps, but it doesn’t really count for much.

Puzzles… Really?

Hunting down loot and key items… such as keys in game can sometimes deliver a bit of a flat experience. Instead of navigating a series of well thought out puzzles to unlock the area with a key, half the time it’s just lying in plain sight. Puzzles in Songbringer don’t really provide much of a challenge either, coming across as more of a hurdle than anything else. Such are the cons of procedurally generated Dungeons.

Boss battles are nice and beefy, but manage to keep players engaged with a balanced difficulty curve. There are areas of wilderness and dungeon that can be very over saturated with enemies at times which can be a little unfair, but can be overcome with a bit of elbow grease. The wealth of monsters / aliens in-game are quite refreshing to witness with variating attacks and movements to keep fighting fresh.

“Hmmm, maybe my trusty sorting Hat can choose!”

Space Bants

Songbringer delivers solid character building for our protagonist and his companions, delivering tongue in cheek ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ type humour throughout. It’s great that an indie developer gets that these two factors go into creating a fun environment for characters to bounce off each other via the script.

Graphically, Songbringer is quite creative in its execution by manipulating blocks of pixels to provide a simplistic and stylised approach to this dungeon crawling adventure. All of the games special effects are also rendered in the same fashion bringing a cyber-synergy to Songbringers visual structure. What stands out is the smooth animations and frame rate throughout, this extra polish makes Songbringers style and execution shine in the bit realm.

All the dubstep is present in this games soundtrack, solidifying its Steam Punk sheen by introducing natural and almost tranquil undertones. There isn’t really a soundtrack quite like it on the eShop at the moment. Players can look forward to bit chip heaven smashing their way through Songbringer, which oddly sound realistic at the same time. Go figure.

“Just to clarify, our protagonist is wielding a Power Sword, Topless and in a top hat fighting a Super Dragon. Yep.”

Verdict:

Graphics and Presentation: 4

Gameplay: 3

Sound: 4.5

Overall Score: 3.9

Songbringer officially brings the noise. With that being said, the procedurally generated dungeon mechanic brings fresh areas but at the same time dulls the preverbal Nano Sword. Puzzles and hidden loot can be forfeit at the mechanics’ expense. However, Songbringer presentation and soundtrack brings the ship back around!

Platforms: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam

Release Date: 31/05/2018

Price: £15.99

Publisher: Double Eleven

Developer: Wizard Fu Games

Pegi Rating: 12+

Review copy was provided by Publisher

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