Brought to us by Puuba and Mastertronic, The Weapongraphist is an addictive, procedurally generated dungeon crawler in which players take control of the cursed Doug McGrave, an “unrepentant jerk” who has been forced to save Hellside from unrelenting hordes of demons. Throw in the fact that the curse greatly diminishes your power and causes all of your weapons to break after a couple of uses and you get an addictive, challenging loop based game.
In The Weapongraphist you play the role of “ruggedly handsome” Doug McGrave, a world-famous demon hunter and massive jerk. While out searching for a new adventure you are approached by a witch seeking help for her town that has been overrun with demons. Unfortunately there’s no payment to keep Doug interested and so he refuses to aid the town of Hellside. However before he can leave he is cursed by the witch resulting in the loss of his weapons, powers and even his cash. So of course to overcome this Doug must clear out the nearby dungeon of all demons using the enemy’s powers against them. The story feels more like it’s been added to get the main concept of the game across to players but it’s still well written and injects a good amount of humour.
Weapongraphist’s design has a very comic book like style, the lead character’s design certainly fits his personality with his golden locks, chiselled jaw and smug little grin. The cutscenes feature fantastic water-coloured sequences which give the game a nice gritty edge; it’s a little unfortunate that they didn’t transfer this over into the gameplay. The main bulk of the game when viewed from a top-down perspective takes on a brighter, simpler style and just appears like it would have been more at home on mobile device; it would have been nice to have more of the grittier edge that the cutsesnces had. The soundtrack (which is not particularly memorable) fits perfectly with the game’s style, giving a calm relaxed feel even when surrounded by a swarm of demons. Because of the nature of this game it’s one that gamers can easily enjoy in small sessions.
You have the option of playing with either the keyboard or a controller with movement controlled with the ‘WASD’ keys or directional pad (leftstick), the interesting thing is how you deal damage as the direction you’re moving doesn’t affect the direction of your attacks. Instead you use the keyboard’s directional keys or controllers face button to choose where to attack which helps give a little more freedom particularly when combos start to play their part. While there is only a single player story mode Weapongraphist does feature a nifty online leaderboard meaning you can compete for the fastest completion times against your friends or the rest of the world.
The Weapongraphist is essentially a dungeon crawler the gameplay takes more of a gauntlet style, where you enter an arena and beat the snot out of all of the enemies before proceeding through the door to the next wave. There is the occasional save point dotted around the dungeons and before boss fights so you can return here when you die. Death actually has its upsides as it returns you to the hub-town. This gives you time to spend all of your hard earned monster goop (dropped by the dozen of dungeon inhabitants) on upgradables designed to boost you power and weapon skill.
So this is a pretty simple concept for a loop-based upgrades game, so what’s the hook? Well because of Doug’s curse any weapons and magical abilities he uses only have a limited number of uses before they crumble away. The large range of weaponry he can wield must first be pinched by looting the corpses of defeated enemies in the dungeon scenarios and includes things like swords, chainsaws and whips with your skill at these later becoming upgradable through the blacksmith. The only issue with this mechanic is that the durability meter isn’t always that clear, since it’s located around the icon for the currently equipped weapon.
Beating the daylights out of everything you see for their weaponry and to proceed through the dungeons isn’t the only aim. The Weapongraphist also includes an interesting level system in which you need to keep your combo bar from decreasing to keep your experience. This adds a nice speed run element to the game, encouraging you to kill everything as fast as you can to ensure you keep your strength. If your still struggling to press deeper into the dungeon (like the weaponry) upgrades for you character can be purchased to boost health and weapon durability.
The Weapongraphist is an addictive loop-based upgrade game with a solid control scheme making for smooth combat experience and it speed-run like approach to dungeon exploration. This is a must have for fans of the dungeon crawling genre.
This review is based off a review code of The Weapongraphist provided by Puuba.
This review 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.