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MythForce Review: A Cartoon Classic

I recently had the chance to dive into MythForce, and let me tell you, it’s been quite the adventure! The opening theme is this fantastic 1980s ballad that just screams positivity and adventure. It’s like a blast from the past, reminiscent of the epic tunes from shows like Jayce and The Wheeled Warriors. This song really gets the adrenaline pumping and makes you believe in yourself, almost aggressively so. It’s like a musical pep talk before the action begins.

In the game, you get to choose from four awesome heroes, each with their own unique abilities. There’s the knight Victoria, who wields a massive mace and a Captain America-style shield flinging ability. She’s all about ground-pounding her way through enemies. Then, there’s the sharpshooting hunter Hawkins, who not only fires deadly arrows but can also ghost away from trouble, creating a vortex that sucks nearby foes in.

The rogue Rico, on the other hand, is all about stealth and precision. One of their abilities is throwing “pocket sand” in the eyes of approaching enemies before teleporting behind them for a fatal backstab. And last but not least, there’s Maggie, the spellcaster. Imagine if Rogue from Xmen got really into belts, and you’ve got Maggie. She brings a unique combo of fireball yeeting and bubble-shield conjuring that sets her apart from the other characters, although she’s a bit slower on the damage-dealing side. For me, she’s the most interesting and challenging to play with, though she could probably do without shouting voice lines for every single heavy attack.

Now, let’s talk about the characters’ aesthetics. They absolutely nail the He-Man-inspired pastiche. The heroes are all rendered through a bright cartoon filter, which gives them that nostalgic ’80s feel. It’s like they’ve jumped straight out of your favourite Saturday morning cartoons. However, when it comes to in-game voice lines and end-of-episode dialogue, they don’t quite capture the same colourful charm. That said, the MythForce’s marketing might emphasise the “relive your childhood” aspect, but the real focus is on delivering a dungeon-running co-op roguelite that meets player expectations. It might not fully embrace the silliness promised by the theme, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun and competent adventure.

Speaking of dungeons, MythForce’s procedurally generated crypts and courtyards are teeming with loot. You’ll find gold galore, spilling out from chests and smashed pots. The general loop is this: you enter a room, engage in some intense combat, scoop up the loot, earn a perk, and move on to the next room. Alongside the currency, you’ll also discover orbs that empower your abilities and wearable buffs, such as a pair of shoes that boost your gold earnings or a charm that increases ice damage while reducing fire damage. These classic roguelite elements stack and build upon each other until your character becomes a formidable gold-gobbling adventurer.

As for the dungeon layouts themselves, there’s a bit of noticeable repetition in some segments. But that’s par for the course in this genre. Over time, you start recognising the patterns and become more familiar with the geometric language of the dungeon’s possible configurations.

MythForce’s combat has its moments of brilliance. You’ll encounter enemies with unexpected tricks, like mushroom foes that suddenly shrink to dodge your arrows or treasure pots that come to life, spreading sticky goo that slows everyone down, allies and enemies alike. One personal favourite of mine is the toddler-sized goblins who rub their hands together like a little green Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, then steal the magic boots right off your feet and make a run for it. These quirky encounters add a delightful twist to the gameplay.

However, not everything about the combat is flawless. The tracking of enemy area attacks, for example, feels a bit odd, and there’s a noticeable delay between the appearance of a warning ward and the actual magical attack landing. This can be a bit disorienting, especially if you’re used to the precise dodge rolls and side steps of similar games. Additionally, some enemy animations feel sluggish, and there’s inconsistency in the warning flashes that indicate you can parry an attack. It’s a bit hard to read, making the parry mechanic less satisfying than it could be. Personally, I ended up favouring ranged attacks, like bows and magical tomes, to avoid these issues.

Outside of the intense dungeon struggles, you’ll find a variety of progression menus that ensure your character becomes stronger with each run. Even a failed run nets you some gold to invest in making your perks and items more potent. There are also gleaming gems call star shards that permanently increase character stats, reducing ability cooldowns and beefing up default attack power, among other improvements. It’s a classic roguelite formula, providing incremental character improvement over multiple runs. It might not be the most exciting aspect of MythForce, but it’s reassuring to know that you’re steadily progressing, even when things go south and you accidentally stumble into a fire trap.

In the downtime between dungeon runs, the menus could use a bit of improvement in terms of intuitiveness. For instance, I almost missed the fact that the background buildings on the lobby screen are clickable and lead to shops and upgrade menus. And once you do find these menus, there’s a bit of redundant information that can make it hard to discern an item’s in-game magical effects. It’s a minor gripe, but a little tidiness in this area would go a long way.

All in all, MythForce didn’t completely blow me away, but it’s a solid dungeon-crawling experience wrapped in a fantastic 1980s ballad. It’s perfect for those evenings when you just want to kick back, team up with friends and have a good old-fashioned monster-slaying time. It might not have the flashiest bells and whistles, but it’s got heart, and that counts for a lot. So, grab your sword, gather your party, and let’s go conquer some dungeons, because I believe in you!

This review utilised an Xbox key provided by Sandbox Strategies and Mythforce is available now on PlayStationXboxNintendo SwitchSteam, and the Epic Games Store.


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