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PC Game Review: STRAFE

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STRAFE was originally started as a Kickstarter campaign that pretty much instantly grabbed my attention. Along with a trailer that pretty much out-extremed the 90's and a website that out-90's... d the 90's, it seemed to promise a kind of a throwback experience to 90's shooters, particurarily Quake. Well... it kind of does and kind of doesn't.




STRAFE is a roguelike FPS with a 90's influenced skin. While it tries to pass off as a 90's shooter, for the most part it isn't. Most notably, the levels are randomly generated, which is something I'm not a huge fan of. For one it makes it incredibly tedious and confusing to navigate the levels at times since they have little rhyme or reason to them and due to the random generation often end up a bit of a mess. It also kinda feels lazy to just have levels randomly generate rather than spending time developing proper levels. To be fair, this isn't something that's necessarily unique to STRAFE as a lot of games released lately have gone for the same approach. And in a roguelike it makes sense given the whole point is to see how far you can make it without dying and thus having to replay the game a lot would make it very repetitive if the levels weren't randomized.



STRAFE prides itself on having fairly large amounts of blood and gore, allowing you to turn enemies into blood fountains.


There's also a lot of other typical roguelike tropes in the game, such as randomized enemy spawns, randomized loot and the ability to buy upgrades, ammo and armor using in-game currency. Some of the good things about the game though is that it allows you to save and quit between levels, giving an option to take a break if you want to. It also features a cool graphics downgrade mode that increases the pixel count on large resolutions and giving the game a more retro look. It also has a training mode with instructional videos that, like the Kickstarter trailer, has a bit of a retro VHS look to them.



This happy guy will offer you some bonus items if you clear the area without killing him.


The enemies all offer up a fair bit of challenge, though some of the AI seem to revolve around the enemies simply heading for the player and punching them in the face. Some enemies will lob grenades and some will fire at you from a distance so it does force you to change your strategy depending on the enemy. When you start the game you have the choice between 3 main weapons: The shotgun, the machine gun and the railgun. The shotgun is a great close quarters weapon, the machine gun is good at pretty much all distances and the railgun excels at long distances but has a long delay between shots making it somewhat clunky in CQC. All the main weapons also have alternate firing modes, with the shotgun shooting stronger pellets that bounce off the walls, the machine gun lobbing grenades and the railgun firing a steady electric beam.



Some airvents will shoot homing missiles at you.


Graphically the game isn't that bad to look at, it definitely nails the 90's aesthetic to a degree, especially with the low polygon count on the enemies, but still has a fairly modern twist on it, such as having the ammo count on the guns themselves, giving you a physical visor display rather than a classic Quake/Doom style HUD.


The sound is also pretty good. The weapon sounds all feel pretty good, the enemy sounds give clear clues about what type of enemy you're facing and the soundtrack is all synthy goodness, very comparable to the Power Glove soundtrack for Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon if I were to compare it to anything.



Between some levels you can buy random upgrades.


All in all, STRAFE does accomplish what it sets out to do, which is being a roguelike shooter with a retro look. In all honesty it might be disappointing to those craving more of a genuine 90's shooter experience, but as a roguelike shooter it's definitely a fun distraction for a while. However, it's not that fun to play in long periods of time as the repetitive nature of constantly restarting does grind on you after a while and the game simply isn't that fun to play for me. If you are into roguelike shooters though, I definitely recommend giving it a try.


STORY: 5/10



SOUND: 9/10




Source: http://alyxxgameroom.blogspot.no/2018/03/pc-game-review-strafe.html

Game developments at http://nukedprotons.blogspot.com

Check out my music at http://technomancer.bandcamp.com

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