Escape the Prison-World!
Roguelite has become as common as a cold. The descriptor either fills prospective players with warm fuzzy feelings of never-ending adventure or the exact opposite. Many have grown tired of the genre which has enjoyed quite the renaissance, especially on the Nintendo Switch. Azurebreak Heroes from Piotr Powroziewicz is one of the often-overlooked titles in the genre. Let’s shine a little light on this title and see if it has the goods to be the next legendary entry in this genre.
On the surface, Azurebreak heroes is your typical looking retro-inspired 2D action RPG. Visually, they have pulled off an aesthetic that feels right at home between the 8 and 16-bit generations. Bright colourful worlds breathe life into the flat landscapes. When docked everything is crisp and presents well. The minimalistic animation suits the game well as it adds to the overall charm. However, all the bright and cheery is not without dread. The enemy design, while not great does lull gamers into a false sense of security as the foes do not appear threatening. This is a lie.
Control-wise, Azure is simple yet effective
Combat is limited to a melee (or ranged attack based on class), a block, and a dash. L and R can be used with selected perks. Each of the 6 playable characters (1 at the start) has its own skill tree thus progression path. This adds to the replayability but also adds to the fun as you learn new perks, and strategies. Everything is responsive albeit limited. The dash, for instance, works the majority of the time but its effectiveness is limited due to the distance you can travel. Oftentimes, when you become overwhelmed a well-timed dash just, is not enough to remove yourself from an area. Understanding your character build and equipped perks, will be your saving grace. Learning to utilise your special abilities. Managing the UI is simple. When played in handheld mode the small text can become a bit of a nuisance but can be worked with.
Audio-wise, Azure unfortunately is a mess
By default, the music was turned down low and that should have been the only warning anyone needed. The OST provided is just not up to par. To be fair it really just isn’t that good overall. The accompanying SFX do little to erase to horrors that your eyes are forced to endure. Everything on display does the bare minimum to qualify as effort. This is a shame. Azure having its simplistic approach would have benefited from a lovely backing score.
Value-wise, Azure is a decent offering coming in at $6.99/£6.29 on the eShop. While the world never feels fully immersive what is on offer is intriguing. While the story will not grip you or lure you back the satisfying gameplay loop will. Every run feels unique as the randomness of the item and perk generation makes every room possibly your last. Unlocking new heroes and perks in hopes of finding the right combination is addictive and somewhat satisfying. While there are better titles available Azurebreaker Heroes is not without its merit and deserves a look.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Nintendo
Release Date: 19/11/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Action, RPG
Developer: Piotr Powroziewicz
Publisher: Silesia Games
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop