Razenroth is Enitvare’s second venture onto Steam following their popular debut, Stonerid, which was met with mixed reviews. The studio has put into effect the lessons that they learned from their first game and the result is more than a little surprising. Yet Razenroth remains a largely undiscovered gem by Steam gamers. This is a great pity as there is much to like about it. The game combines largely traditional top down shooting action RPG gameplay mechanics with roguelike elements to great effect. I found myself dying regularly and relatively quickly in my first few attempts. I was a little confused as to the best approach to take. However, once I finally began learning the nature of the game I found it to be a relatively quick study and one that is a joy to learn.
The opening several minutes long cutscene does a thorough job of establishing the storytelling of the game. You’re essentially searching for your grandpa in the Valley of Whispers You start the game in your grandpa’s cabin and are free to explore the area and kill monsters who are ultra aggressive and hit harder than most early level game mobs do. You will not last long to get into a direct shootout with them so the first skill that you’ll need to pick up is that of quick movement and evasion. You can be attacked from mobs not on your screen meaning that you will have to become ultra alert to where attacks are coming from. Kill enough enemies and you’ll gain talent points. The culmination of each level includes a boss fight – each with its own set of mechanics. These boss fights can last several minutes giving you time to quickly learn their methods of attack and defense and then methodically taking them down. The boss fights were my favorite part of my time with the game as they genuinely feel like fair encounters that do not cheat but ones that are programmed well enough to be very challenging. The loot system is typical of most games within the genre. However, you’ll have to work for it as regular mobs seem to rarely, if ever, drop any loot. Boss mobs will drop at least one and there are chests and other special areas scattered throughout the levels that provide you an opportunity to find an upgrade.
In regards to the technical perspective of the game do not expect much. Both the graphics and the sound are rather bland experiences. Although the game is intended to be played in ‘dark’ mode I found the game more enjoyable aesthetically in light mode. Some may argue that this lowers the difficulty of the game but I found it to be a better experience this way. It’s definitely the type of game that I would recommend play while listening to a podcast. As I know that has become an increasingly popular thing to do I don’t necessarily argue that this is a weakness of the game but rather that the sound is just not memorable at all. Given that there is not much demand on the technical perspective the game runs extremely well. I was able to test this on a lower spec machine as well as my more modern gaming rig.
Razenroth has its shortcomings. It is far from the perfect game however the gameplay resonated with me to make it an enjoyable experience. I’ve long been a fan of both roguelikes and action RPG’s. The top down action suited the gameplay and the boss battles were varying enough that it is well worth continuing on throughout the game. All in all, a very solid experience.