The Story Goes On is an addictive fast-paced, top-down hack ‘n’ slash adventure game in which you must fight through randomised dungeons and battle it out with a number of wacky bosses. Developed by Scarecrow Arts the game is currently available on steams Early Access.
In this game you must explore a maze like dungeon called the Odyssey, populated by a fierce band of thieves known as the Scar. The Scar have the ability to change their form, becoming animals, monsters or humans. You can take on the dungeon as one of 4 playable characters each with their own special abilities. The only character available at the start of the game is the brave and courageous Aiden but the rest can be obtained by successfully completing the dungeon. One of the key things to remember is that health is precious, you can only take 6 hits before its game over, there are no extra lives and no continues. Once you die it’s back to the title page. Losing all of your progress and having to start from scratch can be frustrating but the more you play the easier it becomes to press through areas quicker. Even when dying there is a small sense of satisfaction each time you get a little further.
Each dungeon is randomly generated ensuring that no play through is ever the same. Thankfully there is a map located in the top left so you don’t wind up getting lost navigating from room to room. The main structure is a pretty basic concept of explore the rooms, locate the boss key, defeat the boss and progress to the next world. There are four unique stages to the odyssey which progressively get harder as you proceed. These stages include a lush, green wood, a bright, white winter wonderland and a dark, creepy cemetery. The Story Goes On offers a total of 8 bosses but there are only four levels so even the bosses you encounter are randomised between two for each stage. Some can be a bit of a challenge to overcome, in particular the random sub-bosses, one of which can create clones to box you into a small area of the room.
Throughout your questing you can find a number of different items. Like the levels the items are also randomised so you never know what you’re going to get on each play through. These help to boost your character’s attributes, like increasing attack speed and strength. There are also ones that grant you some additional weaponry like a slingshot and unusually a rabbit companion. Money obtained in the game can be used at the end of each stage in an otherworldly shop. Again, like everything else in this game, the items here are also random. All of the items and equipment you obtain are really just an added bonus, they’re not necessary for progressing through the levels but they can help to deal with difficult enemies.
You have the option of either using keyboard and mouse or controller. The characters movements and sword slashes are rather fluid but if you opt for the keyboard setup it’s a little more awkward to control the direction of your attacks. You use the keyboard’s WASD keys for movement and you use the mouse to control the direction of your swing. Unfortunately this can lead to occasions when you’ll be facing in the wrong direction and the enemies quickly close in. Personally I opted for the controller as the spinning the two control sticks felt more natural. Besides your standard attack and the items (if you manage to find any) you also have the use of a dash which makes you temporarily invincible and can deal damage but requires a cool down period. The dash is really just a standard evade and can be particularly handy for getting you out of sticky situations. The only other thing you have at your disposal is your characters special item.
The game has a nice cartoony visual appeal. Environments are brightly coloured and there’s a nice blend between 2D and 3D elements, although it’s unfortunate that the characters, at least in the selection screen, look rather dull. The soundtrack is incredible catchy and quite possibly the best feature of the game. The initial forest stage has a calm, relaxed melody almost Zelda-like with its flutes whereas the graveyard level is a bit more upbeat and very funky. There are the occasional bugs that crop up from time to time but this game is still in early access so that’s to be expected and personally I haven’t come across any that have made the game unplayable.
The Story Goes On is a pretty simple hack ‘n’ slash game but it’s still enjoyable all the same. It has a certain appeal about it that keeps drawing you back and does offer a fair amount of replayability Controls feel nice and fluid but you’re going to have a more awkward time if you opt to use a keyboard and mouse setup plus the overly simplistic character designs leave something to be desired. However the game is still in development and looking at what they hope to add later such as additional worlds, new items and an arcade mode this game will only get better. One for hack ‘n’ slash fans to keep an eye out for.
This preview is based off an early access code of The Story Goes On provided by Kiss ltd.
This preview was originally published on the site GamersFTW which unfortunately has now been taken down. It’s been published on my personal blog, DanielVaughanReviews, out of respect for the developers/publishers that were kind enough to give me review copy of their game.