A dungeon crawler with randomly generated levels? Yes please. High level of difficulty? even better! Cumulative leveling across all classes? You had me at hello.
Boss Crushers developed by Space Horse will be released on Steam next week, March 15th and there is a lot to love about the game. If you are a fan of dungeon crawlers with rouge-lite game play, then this should be an immediate add to your wish list.
This game is challenging. You are all but guaranteed to fail your first few times attempting to even clear the first level. The good news is, unlike games like Enter the Gungeon, the more you keep at it, the better talents you acquire, and the more likely you succeed on your next attempt. But more on that later.
As mentioned, Boss Crushers is difficult. Not difficult to the point of rage quitting, but certainly to the point where you may need to step away for a few minutes to calm down. the saving grace comes down to the shared leveling and talent tree of your ‘guild.’ This is also affected based on the random power up assigned to your selected class.
Let’s break that down a little further. Talents are shared and cumulative across all three playable classes. The three classes are all casters, so there is already synergy within the talent tree that still allows the freedom to change up classes on a whim.
Additionally, before starting a new game, each class has a randomly assigned attribute or ‘boost’ which can be re-rolled once before committing to your class selection. This is a temporary buff that only lasts for that single play through. An example would be increased experience gained by 25% or more gold dropped from enemies. If you don’t like the buff applied to your preferred class you can take your chance at a re-roll for a chance to get a better buff. When you decide to gamble on the buff, it will change the attribute for all three classes, which may impact which character you end up doing battle with.
Leveling up will occur in game and you can opt to spend talent points right away, or waiting until the level finished; either by death or completion of the level. Leveling is similar to most dungeon crawlers and is based on killing enemies and clearing rooms.
Once a room is cleared you will unlock door(s) to the next areas. The levels are randomly generated so each play through on the same level will result in a different experience. By killing enemies you not only earn experience, but you have the chance of finding incredibly valuable health orbs. These are pretty rare and you will likely go through long stretches without finding any. Additionally, enemies will award you gold which can be spent at the level’s vendor to purchase items such as keys, potions, or scrolls. Keys can be used to unlock treasure chests, potions are used to provide temporary buffs or effects, and scrolls can be consumed to award new skills or buffs.
The ultimate goal of each level is to beat — I mean CRUSH the boss. You can experience this flying solo, or playing with friends thanks to the online multiplayer feature. In order to win, you are going to have to die. Prior to dying you and your buddies will need to take down as many enemies as possible to progress your characters.
There are currently three playable classes in Boss Crushers. All characters are casters and come with a main missile skill which has no mana cost. Immediately upon starting a level, you are awarded with another skill which does carry a mana cost and a cool down timer. Additionally, all three classes have a dash or blink skill, which helps to maneuver out of harm’s way in a hurry. Lastly, each character has an ultimate ability which is charged by using your main missile skill. Up to three charges can be held. It is recommended to go into a boss fight with all three charges intact when possible.
Witch: The Witch moves quickly, and she has the ability to hide and control the enemies. However, she does not inflict very high damage but does have a fast cast time.
Crystal Keeper: The Crystal Keeper inflicts very high damage, but has a slow casting speed in addition to a high cost. He also has low mobility.
Sorcerer: The Sorcerer inflicts high damage and has quick and cheap spells. He has good mobility due to his ‘blink’ ability.
A snapshot of all of the features in Boss Crushers or TL:DR
- Hardcore bosses. Each boss possesses unique mechanics, behavior, and abilities. To defeat a boss, think like a boss, live like a boss, be a boss.
- Random generation of the game environment. Each new run is a new labyrinth of rooms with a unique set of enemies and bosses
- High difficulty level. The game becomes difficult very quickly. You have virtually no chance of winning during your first attempts to beat the game.
- Die to win. Your character is mortal, but each death does not go in vain – your battle experience benefits your mercenary guild
- Random character generation. Prior to venturing into a dungeon, you pick a mercenary with randomly generated characteristics, such as “drunken master”, “peterman”, “pyromancer” or “horsepower”
- Gradual unlocking of the game content. Unlock new items, skills, enemies and other game elements as you progress
- Multiplayer mode. Complete levels with your friends or strangers
As mentioned in the introduction, if you enjoy rogue-lite dungeon crawler games, then you will LOVE Boss Crushers. This is much more forgiving then most bullet-hell rogue-like games, but simultaneously difficult. The fact that dying still helps you accomplish the end goal doesn’t make you feel like you just cleared a stage or a room for nothing. Utimately everything you do puts you in a better position to succeed on your next go round, which is why Boss Crushers is so much fun.
The classes are similar since they are all casters, but they are different enough to each provide different playing experiences. The addition of more classes with different mechanics would be very appealing, which would likely result in new talent tree or guild creation.
Overall, I loved playing Boss Crushers. Every facet of the game appeals to me. I like the art style and shared talent trees. The boss mechanics were fun and not always predictable, which is something I really appreciate. There are so many games that follow a format like this, but default to bullet-hell style that just feels overplayed. This is a different experience which is really quite refreshing and enjoyable. I love the fact that multiplayer is available immediately since it adds a whole new element to the game.
Shared talent trees, nuanced boss fights, randomized buffs, and degree of difficulty are all reasons why I would recommend Boss Crushers to fellow dungeon-crawlers out there. Redonkulous Gaming gives Boss Crushers a score of 8.2/10 and we are excited to see what will be added to the game in the future.
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