This indie roguelike by Grimorio of Games has the player revive fallen foes to form their own personal army in a tragic anime romance.
Grimorio of Games’ roguelike hack-and-slash dungeon crawler, Sword of the Necromancer, recently dropped onto digital stores, with a free demo showcasing its premise and gameplay. Following a young thief named Tama as she tries to revive a princess named Koko, the gameplay revolves around Tama using the titular Sword of the Necromancer not only to fight her enemies but also to revive them and have them fight alongside her as allies–a relatively novel feature for roguelike video games. Players will be hacking and slashing their way through various monsters and demons across many dungeon floors while recruiting those same monsters to Tama’s cause.
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The story revolves around Tama being tasked to protect Princess Koko after a failed attempt at robbery, where they eventually grow closer emotionally. When Koko is unfortunately killed during an escort, Tama blames herself and tries desperately to revive Koko at the cost of using the forbidden powers of the Necromancer Sword. Fans of Shadow of the Colossus may find interest in this game for having a very similar premise of wanting to bring the dead back to life, no matter the cost.
Like other roguelike dungeon crawlers, the player is thrust into a labyrinth of enemies with several chambers and floors to explore and collect items, ranging from powerful weapons to useful items like potions. Every floor is guarded by a powerful boss guardian with their own unique movesets and designs. The ultimate goal of the game is to become powerful enough to defeat the guardians that keep the Sword of the Necromancer from reviving Koko, a goal made easier by allowing the player to revive their slain foes to form their own personal army.
In a system borrowed from other dungeon-style games like Demon’s Souls and Crypt of the Necrodancer, Sword of the Necromancer has a system where if the player dies, they lose their equipped weapons and monsters but retain at least half their experience points. The game also has an optional co-op mode where a 2nd player can jump in and assist Tama in their adventure. There is also a strong focus on the romantic backstory between Tama and Koko, with further progress into the game revealing more about each character’s story and how they got to this point.
Sword of the Necromancer is not the first game to utilize defeated enemies in gameplay, with older games such as Shin Megami Tensei, Persona, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and even Metal Gear Solid 5 using similar concepts, going even further in-depth with them. Very few games of Sword of the Necromancer‘s genre, however, utilize such a feature, so the act of forming your own personal army of undead turncoats is enough of a novelty to make Necromancer stand out from other roguelikes.
Early Steam reviews indicate that despite the roguelike genre’s reputation as being very challenging, Sword of the Necromancer is not actually very difficult. Praise is given to the beautiful anime art style and fluid pixel animations, while criticism is given to certain gameplay mechanics, such as the inability to hold more than four items, with one of them being permanently occupied by the Necromancer Sword and individual monsters taking up slots themselves. Some would argue that this encourages players to utilize the Necromancer Sword’s primary function more often, but others will argue that it defeats the purpose of having dungeons with multiple items to begin with.
Sword of the Necromancer is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Microsoft Windows, and Nintendo Switch.
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