A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Although Kyrha's ultimate goal is to fight her way through the ScourgeBringer artifact to hopefully save humanity, it's mainly just a reason to explain the constant fighting.
Positive Role Models
Kyrha is a strong warrior, but doesn't have much room to develop as a character. Instead, she's more of an instrument of destruction, living and dying time and time again for the sole purpose of killing her foes and collecting the blood of those that fall beneath her blade.
Ease of Play
Although the controls are simple enough to pick up and play, the game starts off hard and the difficulty just goes up from there. It makes for a hefty, though not insurmountable, challenge. There are options in the game's settings to make the things a bit easier, such as slowing the rate of enemy fire and even making players invulnerable.
Violence & Scariness
The game's a steady stream of non-stop action and violence. Kyrha is like a force of nature, whipping around the screen with her blade. Most defeated enemies simply disappear from the screen in a flash, leaving behind droplets of blood for Kyrha to collect. The game's pixelated graphics and fantasy style does help to reduce the overall impact of the constant violence.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that ScourgeBringer is a downloadable post-apocalyptic action game available on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, as well as Windows, Mac, and Linux based computers. Players must navigate as series of connected rooms, dodging hazards and eliminating swarms of enemies using a variety of melee and ranged attacks. The game's easy enough to pick up and play, but has a consistently high level of difficulty. Violence is constant, with some pixelated blood splashes shown onscreen. In fact, the collection of blood from fallen enemies is a key component of play, used as currency and to upgrade the skills and abilities of the player.
Is It Any Good?
There's recently been a resurgence in popularity of old school, retro-styled action games that can challenge the skills and reflexes of even the best gamers. ScourgeBringer isn't just the latest game to follow this formula, it's also one of the best, scratching almost every itch fans of the genre have been craving. For starters, this is a difficult game and players are going to die … a lot. If this was in an arcade, it would have an insatiable appetite for quarters. And with its randomly generated maps, each new life means starting a chapter fresh with new surprises around every corner. Thankfully, the developers decided to have a little mercy on players, offering options in the Settings to adjust everything from the reducing the enemies' rate of fire or overall game speed to increasing the player's life or even making them totally invulnerable. Admittedly, this last option is a bit of a cop out and will disable achievements, but it's also a nice way for newer players to acclimate themselves to the overall pace of the game before trying it out on the default settings.
ScourgeBringer's story is a bit clichéd, but it does provide at least a bit of motivation for players to be hacking and slashing their way through the ancient structure. Just don't try to make sense of everything, as there's a lot of the plot that feels like its missing. What it lacks in story, though, it more than makes up for in style. Its bright colors and pixelated style feel perfectly suited to the classic gameplay. If there's one real flaw to be found, it's that it can get quite repetitive in longer sessions. This is especially true when facing down some of the more challenging bosses. After all, losing a life means restarting the chapter and working your way all the way back to where you were, only to get knocked out again and starting the cycle over. It does make for a real sense of accomplishment when players advance deeper, but it can be frustrating and maddening in the long stints between successes.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.