Video game protagonists aren’t always of the most pure-hearted, take for instance the charming Doug McGrave, the hero in The Weaponographist can be best described as a jerk. Glory and money are the only things that speak to Doug, and his selfish attitude has led him to his current predicament. After blowing off a witch begging for assistance outside the impoverished town of Hellside, he becomes instantly cursed. Not only did the curse strip him of his wealth and riches, but his powers and weapons are gone, requiring him to keep moving to stop the evil from consuming him.
As a game in the roguelike genre, you must guide your cartoon-like hero through dungeons using weapons that have a 100% chance of breaking. There are save points that can be found in each of the dungeons, letting you continue your progress from there, but you’ll be retreading through the same areas multiple times. You’ll walk into a room and have to kill every stylish and zany enemy that spawns, such as lions dressed as circus lion tamers, a T-Rex that vomits acid and shoots lasers, and more. Each of the different areas features different new enemy types, as well as weapons to collect. As our hero is under the witch’s curse, the durability of every weapon you acquire will slowly tick away. Without a weapon, you are limited to using your fists, which is not something you want to be using against some of the tougher foes.
With this in mind, speed is essential, as your strength is based upon continually slaying monsters. Even a brief quiet moment is enough to drain your combo meter, and if it is depleted entirely, you’ll begin to lose experience. Once this happens, it becomes nigh impossible to tackle some of the higher level enemies. Making matters worse, as you attempt to target enemies as quick as possible, you must take care not to pick up the wrong weapon. From swords, whips, spears to laser shooting instruments, the cartoon appearance of the weapons fit with the mood of the game. However, you may enter a room with an inferior weapon to deal with the specific foes at hand. Some are just underpowered, and others may be best against single targets, but when facing a large group, they become useless. This slows down the action and eventually leads to Doug losing his strength, a key component to the game. Get too far behind, and it may become nigh impossible to handle some of the tougher foes.
As a roguelike game, you'll be dying a lot, especially when first starting out in The Weaponographist. You can improve your weapons and gear to make subsequent attempts a bit easier, even if you are capable of keeping your combo meter high enough. However, repetition sets in, as you are going to be doing the same thing in the first hour, compared to the rest of the game. It is quite enjoyable, and I loved seeing the evolution of enemies throughout the various dungeons.
Note: The Weaponographist was reviewed based on a digital Xbox One copy of the game, provided by the publisher.