Developed by Stormcloud Games and published by Rising Star Games, a self-professed “re-imagining of the classic ASCII dungeon crawler”, Brut@l allows players to select from four different classes to combat twenty-six levels, featuring a multitude of enemies.
Each playthrough is entirely randomized in regards to level layout and weapon availability. The game utilizes permadeath to add to the difficulty. It is possible to earn lives and save the game, but the save will be overrided the moment you run out of lives and you will be forced to start over. The aesthetics of the game emulate a simple old school design with a revamped futuristic style. Everything is made up of letters and symbols.
Gameplay is fluid and intuitive as long as you are using an Xbox controller. The main objective is to find as many letters and items as possible. The letters, codexes and letters necessary to craft each weapon are random so you might need to smash every crate and enemy and explore every room on that level to find that last letter. It is surprisingly satisfying to be able to smash pretty much every object you encounter. This is also how you gain XP, which is necessary to level up and gain new abilities. This game very much demands varied gameplay styles in that you must learn which weapons work best against each enemy, which can be hard to do in a crowded room. In my experience, potions were pretty helpful in completing levels filled with difficult enemies. The problem is that their effect is randomized every time and the only way to find out is to drink the potion or use it on an enemy.
Regardless of skill, the player is also heavily dependant upon luck. You could be an archer and not find a bow until level 6 or you could find the best weapon in the game at level 1. You may not receive the enchantment needed to open some doors until a later level. There is a hunger mechanic so rationing is a must. This is not to say that the game is impossible, but it can be more difficult depending on your luck. I found it to be quite entertaining to play through multiple times and see how much my luck affected my experience.
Twenty-six levels might not sound like a lot at first, but I found that they began to blend together as I progressed. I found myself so focused on trying to find a key or letter or food that I wasn’t even sure what level I was on anymore. The soundtrack also adds to this sense of timelessness, which as far as I can tell on a permanent loop, but I didn’t feel annoyed by it.
Another cool feature is a create your own level mode. You can upload these levels for others to play, but you must prove their validity by completing them yourself.
Overall, I would say that Brut@l is something every kind of gamer can find entertaining in and worth your money.
Here is the BRUT@L Warrior Trailer:
Brut@l is available on PC via Steam and other digital retailers.