Blending together different genres of games can be a difficult thing to do, but it can yield some interesting results when done right. Battle Shapers is a rogue-lite FPS with flashy explosions and a sci-fi world for you to explore. Whether its robot enemies swarming around and firing blasters or technological obstacles obscuring the way forward, there’s always something fast and fierce happening. The game is developed by Metric Empire, an indie studio based in Montreal with a focus on creating highly replayable games. A rogue-lite-style game is right up their alley, and sci-fi first-person action seems to mesh well together with it.
Battle Shapers has you take control of Ada, a cybernetic warrior that battles a collection of robot Overlords that have taken control of New Elysium. The Overlords have used their swarm of mechanical underlings to overrun the city and corrupt everything around them, which prompts Ada to spring into action and save everyone. The story and overall visual style are very inspired by the Mega Man series from Capcom, specifically Mega Man X. There’s a stylized look to the robots you battle and the environments you progress through, where technology has an edginess to it that isn’t gritty, but definitely mature.
The game is a rogue-lite, which will have you replaying through the area again and again for new power-ups and weapons. The repetition of each run is part of the experience, allowing you to overcome tough challenges with new upgrades and fight the robot Overlords in big boss battles. Things can get difficult as you move around and blast your way through enemies from room to room, especially when you first start playing.
Enemies will appear in groups and boost each other up often, requiring you to use a little finesse and smart movement to control the area. Most baddies will go down with a few shots, while others require more precise aim and power to bring down before they overpower you. It takes a few runs and picking up some upgrades to make things easier, but eventually, you’ll run through some rooms with ease.
Boss battles can feel a bit cheap at first, especially during the first few runs you go through. Getting to the Overlords can be draining and leave you very vulnerable and unprepared often. In the demo, Volt Colossus is the one Overlord you can face, along with his stage to reach him. Other Overlords will be available to choose from in the game’s level selection, which is very inspired by Mega Man X all the way down to the small intro that the Overlords get before you begin playing. The attacks from a boss are devastating and require you to keep moving and dodging incoming fire, with little to no opportunities for a counterattack. Typical of any rogue-lite, you’ll need to attempt these battles a few times to get the patterns down and the best strategy for defeating them. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely possible with a little patience.
Ada has a bunch of weapons and abilities she can use, all of which have various uses in different scenarios. There are a number of guns and explosive weapons to wield, which are complemented by Ada’s Core enhancements. These are upgrades that allow her to use things like shields, energy blasts, and an array of passive abilities that can help you out during each run. Some perks are definitely better than others, but can still be useful when paired with certain weapons or abilities that allow you to capitalize on their bonuses. The same can be said with the game’s Hacks, which are activated before certain rooms and change up some of their properties. You can have a choice between spawning health pickups, having enemies drop more currency, and even allowing springboards to appear on the ground to jump from.
Although there’s a lot happening on screen, Battle Shapers is a fast-moving game. The game can get pretty hectic with all of the explosions, blaster shots, and enemies appearing on screen at the same time. Ada’s movement is definitely fast like most arena FPS games, which is an asset when you’re trying to avoid attacks and get the jump on enemies. If you have a decent to good gaming rig (meeting the game’s minimum specs at least) then everything should run smoothly. In the early access demo on Steam, there are very few instances where the game slows down or stutters during its more intense sequences.
Battle Shapers has a heavy focus on shootouts, but it also has an interesting element of first-person platforming. Some rooms you encounter will have simple platforming puzzles and spots where you’ll need to time a jump or get around changing platforms to progress forward. These never get too challenging or annoying, but some rooms will definitely require you to come back later when you have specific abilities. They are otherwise impossible to get around without having the right Core upgrade, so you’ll need to run through the Overlord’s stage or complete it before you can come back and follow through. The final version of the game may have more instances of this with different locations, but there are a few spots within the demo that you can find.
If you enjoy playing fast-paced action games with a little spice of challenge to them, Battle Shapers will be something that you’ll enjoy. The Mega Man-inspired sci-fi visuals go nicely with the FPS action and mild platforming, as well as the rogue-lite progression and replayability. While the demo only gives one section of the game to run through, there’s definitely a lot more to look forward to with its final release. Battle Shapers is set to release on PC in the 3rd quarter of 2023.
What do you think of Battle Shapers and have you gotten to play the demo? Do you like games with a roguelike element to them? Let us know your thoughts down below in the comment section!
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