Tasked with battling an ever-changing variety of enemy hordes room after room, The Weaponographist has players assuming the role of dungeoneer Doug McGrave who is seeking vengeance on a witch who has cursed his ability to hold on to goods or currency. Because of a refusal to aid a town in which the dungeon is overflowing with bad guys, this witch has given this main character a really raw deal. This means that each time a weapon is picked up it must be used until it’s no good then discarded.
Some of the weapons you’ll use include whips, spears, swords, machine guns, pogo sticks, and magic staffs equipped with fire spells, as well as number of other pieces which I won’t spoil since finding them is part of the fun. Enemies vary wildly from demons to monkeys in top hats, very accurate and pesky bow and arrow wielding foes, tommy-gun mafia types, brutes, and a hell of a lot more.
Fists are a default option when there’s nothing else around, and mastery of different weapons will be vital since there’s not always going to be access to your favorite weapons. Thankfully, the town Doug’s residing in has decided to accept what appears to be the blood (called goop in-game) of the monsters he’s vanquishing allowing for purchase of upgrades to how powerful each weapon is.
Attribute increases like increased health can also be purchased, and there are also special perks available such as guarantees that a treasure chest will approach Doug at certain points in the dungeon run. Small touches like this keep things interesting and progressing forward, but the great variety of gear picked up off of fallen foes is what makes the game great. That and well thought out enemy / level design. In addition to the weapons you pick up there’s also some area spells that act as secondary weapons but are only available as a supporting item like a staff is picked up off an enemy then they’re gone once used up.
Players must reach the bottom of the dungeon by proceeding through a number of depths. Each “depth” is a series of randomly generated rooms which take a fair amount of time to get through. Once players reach the end of a depth they must face the boss for that floor.
In case of defeat, a quicksave style altar can be activated. If players die they will get an option to go directly back to the boss battle but not without paying a price. A large percentage of their goop will be lost if this option is chosen, and even then the depth will have to be replayed if death occurs 3 times so these quicksave / checkpoint alters are far from overpowered.
Another factor to this game is the combo meter. I’ve managed to get over 100 and felt like that was something awesome, but it was much more difficult to get to 150 and beyond. The developer has stated that the game gets much more difficult around you once the combo meter drops, but I found it easier to just fight and pay less attention to it. It was unclear how much of an advantage keeping the combo going was actually giving to the player.
When you first look at The Weaponographist you may be turned off by what appears to be less than ideal visuals that have been done before and simplistic gameplay. Not to hurt anyone’s feelings who worked on the game though, the graphics aren’t bad they just feel generic. But while the presentation of the game could use some work, after an hour of play you’ll find that the fine-tuned gameplay more than makes up for the sometimes underwhelming aesthetics of the game. Polish has been placed in all of the right areas and after the momentum of the game really gets going it’s quite an enjoyable experience.
As the game proceeds the graphics do seem to have more and more love put into them. Beyond that, enemy variety increases and the weapons continue to get crazier and crazier. A huge part of the fun is just being able to discover new enemy types and figure out how using their own tools against them will work best. Different foes respond in various ways to different gear, so just picking favorites isn’t enough. Damaging one with a certain weapon won’t yield the same results with another enemy, Doug has to get good at everything and a sort-of rhythm begins to develop in each room as far as player strategy versus enemies that are being spawned.
It’s excellent to see another studio I previously hadn’t heard of getting shine thanks to indie publishing house Mastertronic. Puuba, the development studio behind The Weaponographist, has shown a great understanding of what makes games good. Though the visual look to this game isn’t the worst we’ve seen, it surely would be a more inviting game if it boasted a sharper image. The creativity put into animations and later levels is commendable, and bosses are very unique and challenging. Nonetheless, anybody who passes by this game without at least trying out the free demo is perhaps a fool and at best missing out on a high-tension, high-fun factor action / arcade style dungeon game. While I wouldn’t go as far as to call this an RPG nor a roguelike, The Weaponographist does have its own style and feel to it and receives a 6.8 out of 10 from RealGamerNewz.
Overall Score: 6.8 / 10
Available On: Windows PC | Mac OS X
Played On: Microsoft Windows PC
Review Copy Info: Two digital copies of this game were provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.