By Jason Quinn / April 4th, 2017
I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way. I’m not the biggest fan of the “roguelite” genre, or other genres picking up those elements and slapping them onto themselves. I find luck to be too much of a deciding factor in them. Finding good items and such. Not finding good items can lead to a miserable experience in some cases. In other cases finding really good items means the game loses all challenge. The ones I do like are the ones where the game feels good to play right off the bat, and you don’t feel underpowered. Badass Hero feels like one of the good ones.
Badass Hero is a 2D platformer/run and gun with roguelike elements from developer Awesome Game Studios. As usual with roguelites, stages are randomly generated. Each stage is composed of a variety of different “rooms”. The rooms aren’t randomly generated, but the way they’re laid out is randomly generated. Spread throughout the stage are random items to pick up. After a couple stages, there is a mini-boss or boss fight.
As with roguelites, death is permanent in Badass Hero. However, there is still some kind of permanent progression. As you kill enemies, you can earn points to level up your character. You can spend points on different skills to make you a bit stronger or make surviving easier. This means that even if you have a bad run, you can still probably level some skills up. You can also take points back and put them in a different skill if you don’t like the one you’re using. This makes the process stress-free and encourages experimentation. There are also shops you can spend points at in levels, though inventories are random. Early levels in roguelites tend to be pretty boring, and you feel like you’re just going through the motions. This upgrade system is nice as it spices up your default abilities, so it feels less repetitive.
Movement abilities consist of a double jump, a dash, and an air dash, so you have a great deal of control over your character. Of course, you have a gun to shoot and to compliment that you have grenades, which deal significant damage and are useful for taking out groups of enemies. There is also a special move you can use, and the default one currently freezes all enemies on the screen. There is a combo system that keeps track of how many enemies you’ve killed. Go too long without killing an enemy and the combo will reset. There are actually skills you can upgrade that work based on having a certain combo score, so this encourages players to play fast and dangerously.
The game recommends using a keyboard and mouse, but it does fully support controllers. I tested it with a wired Xbox 360 controller, and it worked well. Personally, I preferred using a controller. You can re-bind controls, but not in the game itself. When the game is starting up you need to hold down shift, which opens up a separate program that allows you to change it. They do plan on implementing the ability to change bindings in-game, though, so this is just a temporary solution.
Badass Hero has a comic book aesthetic to it that I really like. Stages are laid out like comic book pages, with the rooms being panels. There are even comic book type borders to each of the rooms. Each “world” you play is like its own separate comic book. If you took some corny ’80s/’90s military comic and turned it into a game, it wouldn’t be a far cry from this. There are different worlds with different aesthetics. The first one available is a jungle and one you can unlock is a military base. There isn’t too much of a story to this game yet, but these games tend to be pretty light in that regard anyways.
Currently, the game is a bit lacking in content. Character customization is minimal, and there’s not a wide variety of weapons available or enemies to fight. I don’t know if I’d say it’s worth a purchase just yet. The content that’s in the game currently is good for maybe a few hours. Most of the weapon pickups I’ve seen are just an SMG, shotgun, and sniper rifle, so it’s a bit lacking in variety. However, the core gameplay is pretty solid. If you like roguelites or 2D shooters and want a good mix of both these genres, I’d at least put this on your radar.
Awesome Game StudiosBadass HeroEarly AccessPCplatformerrogueliterun and gun