As they say, death is only the beginning.
In the world of Purgatory, Xzus finds himself at the beginning of his journey at the end of his life. Arriving in this strange land with faint recollections of his past, he sets out to fight against the various spirits and monsters in hopes of remembering what had happened before his arrival in Purgatory. To begin, I would like to give an honest shout out to the creators Ross Tunney and Eduard Mirica. Game development is a challenging game of trial and error when you have a full production team, let alone only two people. You have put out a decent game, and I commend you for it.
Purgatory is a top-down turn-based tactics game that plays very straight-forward. When initially starting this game, the player is given the main character, Xzus, as their only fighter but with every battle will acquire more allies to take into battle. Each partner gives different ways of attacking with varying values of damage, defenses, movement speed, and attack ranges. With the proper utilization of the system, one could very quickly build up a versatile army that can take on just about any threat. If this game has shown me anything, it’s that if more games gave a sense of fast progression, I think I would be able to lose myself in them more often.
The way the gameplay is set up is that each character, as stated before, operates differently from one another, each one having a different edge in combat. What struck me as odd is that all of these allies were, for the sake of brevity, the enemies that you previously fought, each of them joining your army after their defeat. Unfortunately, they are not the strongest of allies. At first, I was taken aback by this until I saw that soldiers could be sold for skill points. With skill points, the player can choose to upgrade Xzus’s combat potential through a skill tree that goes far into becoming a one-man-army or they can decide to upgrade the allies in their army. At first, I grinded as many points as I could to upgrade Xzus and found myself obliterating everything at a lower level. However, I quickly found myself outmatched by the later stages when monsters got a bit more deadly. While Xzus is a juggernaut on the battlefield, it is very easy to get cornered when it becomes a one-versus-seven fight. Granted, I never made it to the final third of Xzus’ skill tree, so he may become massively stronger than I ever saw. The reason behind my halt in Xzus’ progression is that I began to focus on my army. Every ally starts out naturally weak but can level up three times with every level, boosting their attributes by 30% efficiency. With seven allies in the party maximum, each of which able to do a total of 90% more damage than their previous stats, leveling the army becomes a very rewarding expense.
While I can sing praises about how this game does a lot right, there is a decent amount that could be improved upon.
Of all that I can list, I think the first would be that the battles lack fighting or attack animations of any kind. I feel that this is a massively missed opportunity as the game boasts a unique style of artwork that could benefit from a bit more movement than the basic idle animations that they do. The second point that I feel could be improved is the enemy AI. Once I realized how the AI worked, I found that the best strategy was to group my party up and let the enemies come to me. More often than not they would get within melee range with their close-range fighters and just within spell range of their targeted enemies. This led to me constantly pulling them in and then quickly picking them off one by one as they neared. Finally, the last thing that I would personally love to see changed for the better is different visuals based upon the skill obtained for Xzus. Each skill has an unusual name for it that corresponds with acquiring new gear such as The Shield of Immortality, The Thundergod’s Axe, or The Hammer of Lighting. But none of these accouterments are accounted for in battle. In the end, Xzus' sprite remains the same but with some buffed up stats. While it may be a minor nitpick, any little bit of elaboration on the skills that the player obtains or a sense of progression through visual upgrades would certainly be appreciated.
In all honesty, it is impressive for a two-man job and is entertaining to play as the gameplay offers quick progression and simple, concise combat. The music is nice, and the visuals are superb; however, it all comes at the cost that the gameplay becomes trivial once the player starts to play defensively in combat. The game has little animation to speak of and no real feel of change in the visuals with the protagonist never getting the attention his awesome look deserves.