Bravery and Greed is a rogue-lite, beat ’em up, multiplayer, dungeon crawler. Developed by Rekka Games and published by Team 17, the game does serve as a great introduction to the rogue-lite genre because of how bite-sized the game is. Yet is Bravery and Greed worth your time? Read our review to find out.
The story is straightforward, it is all given away in the opening cutscene when you boot up the game. The cutscene plays every time before you even hit the main menu and it’s easy to skip it especially since it really only needs to be seen once. Although, the cutscene does get your attention when the character starts off by saying “Listen up!” The scene takes place in a bar with four people sitting at a table. There is an Amazon, a Warrior, a Rogue, and a Wizard. The Rogue tells the other three that he heard from a Dwarf that there is a secret cave with a lot of gold in it. So much gold that they would be richer than kings. All they have to do is locate four runes to open the portal inside the cave. And that’s it! It’s off to the races and you can play as one of the four character classes.
There is nothing much to write in this section. The game has a decent sound design. Footsteps are heard very well and there weren’t any audio glitches, especially with multiple enemies on screen. The soundtrack sounds like your standard-issue sword and sorcery fare. Although this isn’t true, but in my memory, it feels like the game has only one song in the soundtrack. The main menu song seems to be the only song I can remember how it sounds like. When I reviewed my playback I noticed that the songs in the levels are set to a lower volume than everything else. I believe it makes sense for the genre because I think it could be distracting especially if someone is trying to make a good run. Also in general, the songs for the levels are designed with a more mellow tone to them when not in combat.
There is also not much to say in this section because the game is either in the category of pixel art or sprite based. Either way, both art styles are not graphically intensive. Seeing this game run at 1080p or 4K wouldn’t produce much of a difference in my opinion. On the plus side, the game runs very well (and it should be expected). I never noticed any stuttering or lagging, no matter how many elements were on screen. I will give credit where credit is due because the game has very good animations, especially with facial expressions. I appreciate that, and for a game that has little dialogue, it’s important to express character wherever you can.
Bravery and Greed is at its core a simple game. The game opens with a tutorial that takes about three minutes and then it lets you go! The game gives you a rundown of how to platform your way around and tells you what buttons do what. A to jump, hold A to jump higher, how to climb, how to drop through platforms, how to attack, etc. The game also has a second optional tutorial where a character tells you how to play as your character of choice and shows you what is special about them. At their core, all characters have the same moves such as a three-hit combo, a dash, a projectile, an aerial attack, etc. However, each character has special attacks and strategies specific to them and it is a good idea to be familiar with your character class and their styles, especially their defensive options.
The next thing to learn is modifiers. It is easy to wrap your head around these things because you can choose whether to interact with modifiers or not. At every level, you can pray at an altar that unlocks one of four upgrade paths, one can upgrade your health, another can upgrade your offense, another your skills, and the last one can pass along negative effects to enemies. After that, there are three items you can pick up in a level and that is a wand, boots, and a necklace. Each of these items can give you a specific modifier to your character such as increasing their speed or giving a double jump etc. Finally, there are Archanums. Every time you die you unlock an Archanum that you can choose to activate at the start of your run. Some Archanum can make the game harder, some easier, and others a little bit of both. One of the Archanums I chose to activate early on was the ability to be revived at the cost of gold.
Now that you have that under your belt you are tasked with beating five levels in one run. At the end of each level is a boss fight akin to a Mega Man boss fight. You have to memorize attack patterns and game-winning strategies. I will say that the first level’s boss fight felt unreasonably difficult but I was also only about 20-ish minutes into the game and was still trying to incorporate all the mechanics into my gameplay such as dodges and parries. That is probably true because every boss fight after felt easy… too easy.
Ultimately, Bravery and Greed does a good job on the greed part. The game is about going through dungeons, hacking/slashing a bunch of enemies, and looting gold at whatever cost necessary. The game’s end scene also brings home the theme of greed at all costs and what that can do to someone. As far as other mechanics, you can spend gold at random merchants in the levels to upgrade yourself. The game is simple and I appreciate that the game is only five levels long. It took me about two hours to roll credits and I think this game has a lot of replayability, especially if you are an achievement hunter. I popped an achievement of beating a boss with less than 100 hp left. There is also an achievement for beating the final level with all Archanum activated! Although one might feel like five levels are too short for a game, keep in mind that you have to beat all five levels in one run without dying in order to beat the game. This isn’t a situation where you can beat one level, unlock level two and start a new run. So, if you are on level four and die, you have to start over and beat every stage again, in order to collect the runes to unlock the fifth level.
There is one last thing I needed to say in this review and that is there are companions you can unlock in each level. For instance, you may find a wolf locked in a cage and if you set it free it will become your companion and attack enemies with you. This was not necessary but the developers implemented a pet button and it is the best! It does nothing but it made me feel good.
This section was not reviewed. This section will not influence the review score. I simply wanted to add it here to acknowledge that Bravery and Greed has multiplayer. It should be noted that you can play this game with up to 4 players in local co-op. In addition, the game has a PvP mode both 1 v 1 and 2 v 2. The game also has horde mode and an online multiplayer component, which I did not try or test out for the review. Keep this in mind as I am reviewing this game as a single-player product. I’m sure the multiplayer is fun, I can only imagine the chaos of four people clearing a level together, especially because when one of your buddies dies in-game, you can loot their body and take their resources before reviving them. That’s a recipe for some good classic friendship enders.
For me, Bravery and Greed was my first rogue-lite and I enjoyed my time with it. I appreciated all the smaller things, such as the animation, the pet button, and the fact that you can loot your companion’s resources. The game is solid and straightforward from the platforming, the combat, and the performance. From a gameplay perspective, the game was not boring, I can’t say the same thing about the soundtrack but it isn’t a big deal. Overall, I would say if you never tried rogue-lites, this would be a good place to start because of how short the game is. You can feasibly play and beat the game in one sitdown or engage with it further to unlock everything and play it with your friends and make a Saturday night out of it. With all that said this game gets a 7.5/10
Bravery and Greed is out right now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. The game retails for $19.99. A Review code was provided by the publisher for purposes of review. The game was reviewed on Xbox Series X.
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