Monday, 10 October 2016 00:00

Straimium Immortaly Review

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Straimium Immortaly will leave you entertained.

It's a side-scrolling shooter that, as is growingly popular these days, is procedurally generated. Taking place in the breeding nest of some huge beast, "Queenie," you'll find a world filled with unique variances of spoken English, making the tone a bit cutesy and delivered by a narrator who talks to you as if you were a baby.

The objective is as follow: find your way through rooms filled with aggressive monsters shooting at you. These enemies follow a particular pattern, and you must and will learn how to circumvent them. To help you along the way, plenty of weapon varieties come in handy. Enough at least to keep a rogue-lite gamer invested for hours. The nest even has a shop, with items expensive enough to make you progress. It's progression well done: get better at beating rooms, earn credits to grow in power, and explore the whole of this monster-infested nest.

You will die a lot. And it's a cruel fate.

That's because you cannot save your progress and are forced to restart butt-naked, in many ways just like a new lifeform struggling right out of his mother's nest. And so you must be quick, with lightning reflexes to navigate around these big nasties Anthony Case, the sadistic developer, throws at every corner.

Graphics, you ask? Wonderfully unique. The atmosphere offers a rich universe that, at the same time, isn't necessarily pretty. Come to think of it, it very much feels like the inside of your nostrils, or the bowels of some gargantuan sewer beast. Yuck? Well, actually, I'll just label it as "weird." Weird, because it's oddly inviting, especially its living organisms, who, brightly colored, are seemingly friendly yet have no qualms when it comes to exterminating the clumsy gamer that, I promise, you will be.

The music is upbeat and it works. Good job there: it ranks alongside great classical MIDI sounds of yesteryear. Love it. Throw in a bit of the modern "glitch-style" and you have a wholly original soundtrack that doesn't outstay its welcome.

Fair enough: Straimium Immortaly doesn't do much that's innovative per se. It does what we expect out of rogue-likes, but its humoristic bizarreness is what makes it fresh. You'll find yourself giggling in a whole new way.

To compliment it evermore, it's technically on point. The game, you'll find, plays very well. Controls are responsive and make for a perfect balance of entertainment and frustration within a single level. Precision in gameplay is not just something I personally appreciate; it's, I would argue, the quintessential feature found in the classical staples of side-scrolling games.

On to structure.

Rooms divide levels, and occasionally, passages will be closed off by some door. You guessed it: find and defeat the boss to get the key and then proceed to the next set of rooms. However, there's a second option. Alternative ways. Small warp points, that give you the chance to teleport to random locations, and which give a fair share of unpredictability to your gaming experience, especially because you'll find yourself tossed in the middle of a boss fight without much anticipation. At times, even, you'll be cruelly thrown in some awful places where, inevitably, you won't survive.

The deeper you get into a level and the more demanding movement becomes. The atmosphere will also thicken, with fog creeping up on you to blind you from incoming threats, such as flaming skulls that bunch up to bring you down. Thankfully, health and better weapons are picked up along the way, but the better ones come as rewards for completing rooms. Each has a treasure chest that offers health, energy, or new abilities. To add a layer of strategy, the latter can also be substituted to tailor your gameplay for enemies at hand, and that is a smart feature that brings a good deal of tactical variety in an otherwise standard shooting affair.

The difficulty of Straimium Immortaly is what gives it replay value. That's because you ultimately control how hard you want the game to be. You choose the game mode you find yourself comfortable tackling, and the consequence is either an increase or decrease of the time it takes for enemies to attack. In any case, at least in my experience, it's always a tough game, and that's what makes you come back for another round. Or two.

Spoiler alert! The most efficient strategy to progress is to collect “pinkies,” the currency used either in the shop or to bet on mini-games like "Rock, Paper, Scissors." I also recommend exploring the map and getting a lay of the land before beginning to cause havoc. I found that was a great help, especially if you're like me: a total noob with side-scrollers.


The Verdict

Straimium Immortaly gives players yet another side-scrolling adventure that does all of the classical tropes you might expect, but with a new face, some funky twists, and some enhanced tactics toward making the most of a rogue-lite player's inclination toward difficulty. If you're hesitating, don't. You'll find an experience well worth your money.

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Shane Lynn

Shane's earliest memory of gaming was playing Contra on the original NES. Since then he has found a love for PC gaming, Pen and Paper Role playing, and Board games. His strongest passions are in the realms of fantasy and science fiction where he has developed countless worlds, stories, table top gaming systems, and an original board game. Outside of gaming, he'll be found dancing with crystals and talking with glowing nature spirits in his backyard.