Arboria – Preview
Follow Genre: Roguelike, Hack and Slash
Developer: Dreamplant
Publisher: All in! Games
Platform: PC (Steam)
Tested on: PC (Steam)

Arboria – Preview

Good: Good graphics
Bad: Clunky combad, Bad story
User Score
7.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)

There are many roguelikes out there, each attempting to be different. Arboria is a hack-and-slash game with several “innovative” mechanics. Innovative enclosed in quotes, due to how these mechanics are neither new nor well handled. In an oversaturated market where games need to be unique, Arboria’s attempt falls completely short.

Arboria’s story is a childish mess, lacking context and stakes. During the tutorial section, which sets the plot of the game, you control Gobbok, a Yotun. Together with the fairy Rata, he’s looking for the troll Ragar who has gone mad and destroyed the village.

After stumbling upon Ragar’s corpse and a helmet by his side, Gobbok takes the helmet after Rata attempts to stop. After some progression, Gobbok goes mad, throws Rata aside and runs amok into the Durnar.

Once recovered, Rata goes back to the village and informs the Shaman about the situation. He then proceeds to generate a new symbiote to chase after Gobbok, in order to prevent the hat’s madness spreading.

An awkward style of writing is generally used for the text, with names such as “godz” or “bugz” which are supposed to be taken seriously.

If anything from Arboria deserves some amount of praise it’d be its graphics. Whilst the character models are generally somewhat ugly, it’s mostly a design choice; they are well made and detailed. Enemies are also unique and different from each other, both in their models and animations.

The environments also look good with both the village and dungeon having unique designs, though after a while in the latter it becomes samey.

Sounds in Arboria are generally fine, though the soundtrack is rather limited and there is no voice acting. While there are songs here and there, everything in the dungeons, where the player will spend most of their time, is just run-of-the-mill ominous music.

The SFX are alright, nothing incredible or not seen before. They generally work well enough to announce when an enemy is about to attack, combining with the visual cues, without being too obvious.

Being a 3rd person roguelike, it’d be expected from Arboria to have good gameplay. Sadly it does not deliver, everything is as simple as it gets, the player strolls through the Durnar caves attempting to descend in pursuit of Gobbok. Along the way they’ll encounter enemies, the previously mentioned “bugz”.

Combat feels incredibly clunky, with attacks taking ages to make impact while locking the character into lengthy animations. Special abilities feel unbalanced, with the basic one generally overshadowing the others, though different players may enjoy different abilities.

Another problem with the combat is how much damage the enemies deal. At the start of the game, a normal enemy deals around 1/7 of the player’s health, but this quickly increases. As the floors get deeper, enemies start to swarm from all sides and even these small amounts of damage pile up, usually leading to a swift death. Due to the clunkiness of the attacks, attempting to fight through these hordes of enemies becomes an ordeal rather than a test of skill.

As the player progresses through the dungeon they may also encounter chests that unlock by fighting swarms of enemies, which drop better equipment. The problem is these feel pointless, since there is no reason to clear the rooms, the player can just run around freely until they find the floor’s exit. Some other loot can randomly be found around the map, but it tends to be at the same level as the player’s current equipment, making it useless.

After a player’s current character or “symbiote” dies, which will happen since it’s impossible to progress past the 3rd floor, they get a new one. This new symbiote has a different set of stats and skills, these being based both on RNG and how much money the player gives to the gods of the game, which affects the stats somewhat. In a style reminiscent of Rogue Legacy, new symbiotes have advantages and disadvantages, none of which are too powerful. That said, some of the disadvantages are a complete annoyance, such as the “myopia” one, which blurs everything past a certain range of sight.

Giving money to the gods comes off as an utter waste of it, due to how little the stats change in relation to the money spent. A far better use for it is to invest in permanent upgrades for the symbiotes, such as dual-wielding. Despite this, not giving money to the gods gets punished by the game, reducing the symbiote choice pool and possibly decreasing the stats. This mechanic ends up ultimately being a vicious circle and a handicap for the player.

Conclusion

Arboria may end up becoming a fine game if its core elements are improved, but in its current state it’s no good. The combat is underwhelming at best and the other mechanics a complete drag. The writing feels childish and generally bad, with a plot that goes nowhere. At least, it does have the looks, as models and environments are well made and somewhat redeem the rest of the game.

Personal Opinion

“I didn’t have fun with Arboria. At the start of the game, while playing the tutorial, I had high hopes for it, but once I reached the point where the hat appears I lost most of it. The writing made me feel like I was losing neurons, with names a toddler could’ve come up with and no narrative depth, even by the standards of roguelike games, which usually just have a general plot to justify the motivations of their characters. Combat was also a qualm I had with the game, it felt absurdly clunky, everything involving the character is slow. If a flock of enemies is surrounding you, attempting to attack will mean leaving yourself open to hits of the other enemies, who won’t wait the seconds that it takes for the character to strike. In general, Arboria was a drag, the run I had the most fun with was when I chose to leg it and just run to the exits ignoring all enemies. By doing so, I got to the third floor, where I discovered I couldn’t progress any longer, a really anticlimactic ending for a let-down of a game.”

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Arboria - Preview, 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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