While the number of rooms in a realm doesn’t vary, the order in which they appear does, and you’ll have to uncover a new map every time you start a run. However, the types of rooms you’ll encounter are always the same; there will always be rooms filled with regular enemies ranging from bats, to robots, to purple devils, one room with a merchant, one room with a blood altar, and one room with a judge, which is a boss fight. If you die while clearing a realm, you’ll wake up under the Chiming Tree, a tree of life that keeps select warriors like Kyhra from dying and instead lets them take on the enemy realms over and over again. In other words: if you die, you can expect to repeat the same realm over and over again until you finally succeed.
I found the addition of the Chiming Tree a great way to intertwine story elements with ScourgeBringer’s gameplay. While the game’s core gameplay loop itself is simple and revolves heavily around the game’s combat mechanics, ScourgeBringer’s story feels rich and complex with an interesting character. Added to this, the game’s pixel graphics are beautifully detailed, and even though there’s only a limited colour palette, the world still feels mysterious and captivating. Throughout the game, you can discover more about its world through written logs scattered in the environment. These logs contain notes from the last humans on the planet and describe the world before it was taken over by evil machines. I really enjoyed reading these short and simple logs and found it a clever way to highlight the difficulty and importance of Kyhra’s task.
Gameplay-wise, Kyhra’s task is a challenging one. When you start the game Kyhra only has eight hitpoints for the whole realm, and you’ll have to make them last as long as you can. However, you do have the option to buy upgrades with enemies’ blood droplets. These droplets are a valuable currency in ScourgeBringer and can be picked every time you kill an enemy. Usually you’ll be able to collect a few blood droplets at a time. Once you’ve collected enough of them, you can use them to buy items from a merchant called Greed during each run.