By Josh Speer / August 28th, 2015
I really had no idea what I was getting myself into with Necropolis. Created by Seattle-based company Harebrained Schemes, all I really knew about it was it’s dark cell-shaded art style and purportedly brutal combat. I quickly learned far more about the game, and better yet, was utterly charmed by it. And while I didn’t delve into the plot too much as I played, I can summarize the basic idea. Essentially, a mad mage took his secrets and treasures into his grave, and your job is to plunder them. Your entrance is guarded by an artifact called the Brazen Head, featured above. This mystical creation creates the Necropolis you must plunder, and like any good roguelike, the game is different every time you play. However, the Brazen Head isn’t helping you out of the goodness of his heart. Oh no. See, those who fail to survive their descent into the Necropolis become a part of it, their life forces perpetuating the ever-changing maze of madness. But if you’re brave enough, maybe you will reach the final tomb of the mad mage Abraxis, confront him, and live to tell the tale.
Luckily, the game gives you all the tools you need to succeed. Using third person over-the-shoulder camera and fluid movements, such as a dash and slash attacks, you can devastate most of the monstrosities lurking in the depths. I found that with a bit of timing, you can avoid nearly any attack. The trouble comes when you are assaulted by a horde of beasts. However, you can also occasionally make use of the AI and trick monsters into killing each other to save you the work. Regardless, once the deed is done, you are encouraged to loot their corpses. Besides trinkets and gold, you can also pick up your foe’s discarded weapons. You’ll likely need a stronger tool than the weapon you start out with, though it does the trick in a pinch.
What I especially loved about the game, besides the tight controls, were the graphics. They look like The Wind Waker, but seen through a dark looking glass. Which is fitting, since the game is a parade of death and violence. It also reminded me in some way of the classic game Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, which is a high compliment from me. I loved Soul Reaver, and fully expect I’ll love the final version of Necropolis. If you like what you see, Necropolis will eventually be available on Steam, and potentially on consoles as well. Just as long as my XBox 360 controller is supported, I will be a happy camper. For those looking for a Dark Souls with an easier threshold to start, and lots of replayability, you should definitely keep this one in mind.
3rd person viewbrutalHarebrained SchemesNecropolisPAX 2015PAX Prime 2015rouge-likeSteam