April 6, 2023
Prepare to delve deep into the mysterious and treacherous Wall World, an exhilarating game that combines the elements of mining, roguelite gameplay, and tower defence strategy. Alawar Premium offers players a procedurally generated world with vast biomes and valuable resources to uncover, all within this very reasonably priced indie game’s treasure trove of addictive fun.
What’s beyond the surface
Players take on the role of a brave miner tasked with searching for valuable treasures and technologies to upgrade their equipment and battle hordes of alien creatures. The player’s trusty mobile base, the robospider, follows them through treacherous mines, providing both storage and firepower against the hordes of alien creatures that lurk in the darkness. It provides cover fire and much-needed support as players fight to defend themselves against the endless onslaught of foes.
“Wall World is a vast and changing landscape just waiting to be explored.”
As players venture deeper into the mines, they’ll encounter a variety of biomes, each with its own unique environment and set of challenges. Standard mines start each run, allowing for quick gathering of initial artifacts until the robospider eventually uncovers mossy or reddish areas that take longer to drill through and often hold imperative materials. The variety available here makes it a pleasant challenge to try and make progress, as there are intriguing areas just out of reach and unknown upgrades to uncover. From treacherous underground caverns to expansive open spaces, the world of Wall World is a vast and changing landscape just waiting to be explored.
But be warned: The mines of this indie game are fraught with danger and adventure at every turn. Every few minutes, hordes of aggressive monsters will stop at nothing to kill and players will need to use all of their cunning and skill to survive. A fantastic range of enemies is thrown at the player, including creatures that resemble red exploding jellyfish, demonic spawners, projectile-shooting tadpoles, and soldiers who will attack from the wall itself. Attacked from all angles makes it critical to quickly find resources to modify the robospider’s defences.
At the top of the screen is a countdown timer. When this reaches zero, a looming dark mass enters from the left of the screen with black tentacles blocking the robospider’s path of escape. Smaller monsters will come from all directions while this larger beast smashes its girthy limbs and fires critical lasers into the robospider. Every victory only fuels its wrath, resetting the timer for another showdown with an even stronger onslaught. These boss battles are intimidating and create exciting challenges that evolve each round. They require keen attention to time spent in the mines and present a thrilling climax every so often that adds to the sensational Wall World gameplay loop.
With a wide variety of weapons and upgrades at your disposal, players can customise their approach to each new challenge, adapting to overcome even the most formidable enemies. The miner starts with a basic projectile weapon but can discover new weapons including a curvature grenade launcher, mines placed alongside the robospider on the wall, handy drones, and eventually modify to fire electric orbs. Each weapon is strong in its own merit, depending on the playstyle and how it is upgraded.
“the finish doesn’t quite live up to the expectations… disappointing for an otherwise captivating experience.”
When the incoming attack alarm signals deep into a mine, there is an incredible panic to return to the robospider. While upgrading the robospider to survive is vital, being able to improve the speed, capacity, and efficiency of the miner exoskeleton is just as important to gather resources and return as quickly as possible. Balancing these decisions is what makes this roguelite so addictive. Each run allows players to try something new, a different strategy, a different direction on the wall, a different mining technique, and different upgrades to focus on. Wall World boasts remarkable replay value with diverse ways to approach each run.
After each unfortunate death, a currency earned from mining can be used to permanently augment the robospider. These enhancements are essential for progression, including mobility up or down the wall, boosts to health, and mining efficiency. Wall World strives for a sense of progression, slowly but surely moving towards the finale. However, it is stunted by the random placement of keys within the world required to reach the end. With a procedurally generated world, there is no true indication of where keys will be in each run, and it relies purely on luck to find them before reaching the end of the wall. While the random placement of upgrades, weapons, and secrets adds to the game, randomised essential items aren’t exactly promising.
The other downside to progression is the end—it’s extremely anti-climactic. While there isn’t a true narrative to spoil, the finish doesn’t quite live up to the expectations of the exponential challenge Wall World delivers during main gameplay. It’s quite abrupt with little payoff, disappointing for an otherwise captivating experience.
Shine bright like a diamond
Wall World features a beautiful pixel art style that immediately captures the attention of any player. The visual design is not only stunning but also encourages players to dive into the gameplay. The graphics are distinct and animated with excellent quality, providing an otherworldly tone that leaves players wanting more.
“…subtle but significant visual details are a testament to Wall World’s design…”
One aspect of the visual design that stands out is the level of rock crush within the mining walls. This detail indicates how long it will take to drill through each wall, with larger and more solid walls taking longer to break through compared to surfaces with many smaller rocks. These subtle but significant visual details are a testament to Wall World’s design, rewarding players who pay close attention to the environment.
Yet, there have been visual bugs throughout the review. Misplaced solid blocks and other artefacts appeared in multiple playthroughs, but resetting the run fixed the problem. While these glitches weren’t inherently game-breaking, Alawar Premium is aware of and addressing a laundry list of bugs, so they will hopefully be resolved soon.
Despite these issues, the sound design of Wall World is fantastic. The ethereal sci-fi score delivers both peace in calmer moments and absolute fear during combat. The music is wonderfully composed and ranks alongside other space-themed games such as Citizen Sleeper. The sound effects are well-crafted, with satisfying mining noises, upgrade bloops and beeps, heavy projectile impacts, and the machinery sounds of the robospider climbing up the wall.
- Addictive gameplay loop with diverse ways to approach each run
- Wide variety of weapons and upgrades available
- Beautiful pixel art style that captures attention
- Keen attention to time spent in the mines
- Challenging boss battles that drive gameplay
- End of the game is anti-climactic
- Random placement of essential items required for progression
- Visual bugs may appear during playthroughs
Wall World is a challenging roguelite with superb gameplay. Mining through varied and engaging environments is satisfying and pushes players to find out what’s just beyond the next layer. Procedurally generated levels and a vast range of upgrades keep each run feeling fresh, enhancing the robospider to inch closer and closer to the end. However, that end doesn’t meet expectations and annoyingly relies on luck for a few elements to align. Still, Wall World is a fulfilling mining-crawler with an addicting gameplay loop.