Described in the first moments of the demo by Uppercut Games Programmer Evan Zachariadis as an Arabian Nights, Indiana Jones Roguelike, I was pretty much all in from the first moments.
Full of gorgeous cartoony environments and characters, myriad traps and tricks, and the best feeling whip I’ve ever encountered, City of Brass is immensely fun to play.
City of Brass puts you in the role of a treasure hunter, delving into the cursed titular City of Brass in search of treasures and perhaps a means to lift said curse. Each run is randomized, in rogue-like fashion, to a certain extent, but you’ll always start off with a whip in your left hand and a scimitar in your right. Your basic goal, outside of survive, is to collect treasure as it serves as your score as well as your currency (an element/mechanic I love seeing in games).
Within the city, you’ll find a number of genies who will act as vendors. Well, maybe not all of them, as only most Genies are friendly. You’ll be able to use your collected loot to buy new gear, purchase upgrades, unlocks secrets or acquire protective amulets. In addition to your treasure you also have three wishes in each run, and are able to use one of those wishes to upgrade what the genie might be offering, unlocking a powerful weapon, piece of armor or ability
Combat in City of Brass feels fantastic. The sword is powerful, and fantastic animations help lend it a feeling of wieght. The Whips animations aren’t quite as spectacular, by my goodness does it make up for it in the sheer amount of fun it is to use. You see, the whip is location sensitive. Aim the whip at a skeleton’s face, he’ll be stunned. Aim it at his sword-clutching hand; he’ll drop the weapon. Aim it at his feet; he’ll fall to the ground. It works incredibly well, and immediately makes you feel heroic. You are also able to pick up and throw explosive vases,lob bricks, blow enemies up, set them on fire, or force them into the many, many traps that fill the level. Theres a natural feel to the movement and melee City of Brass, and both the blade and the whip feel incredible. After only moments in the demo, I was sliding, leaping and vaulting into combat with reckless abandon and ease.
But then the dervish shows up.
Oh yes, you cannot just take your time. No, no, no, that would be far to easy. If you drag your feet in the process of exploration or plundering, your time will run out and you’ll begin to be pursued by a dervish, a very tough enemy that’s essentially a death sentence.
Then you die, and start all over again, back at the beginning of a new labyrinth of ruined streets and plazas.
If you want to make it even harder on yourself in this new run, you can encumber yourself with things called Divine Burdens, which are global modifiers that change enemy abilities, spawn behaviors or multiply environmental hazards. More risk, and more reward.
All in all, I’m incredibly impressed by City of Brass, and very eager to dive back into the titular city, whip in hand.
City of Brass is currently available on Steam Early Access, and will be available on PC, XBox One andPlaystation 4 on May 4th