Vodeo Games Beast Breaker is a brick-breaking RPG and the first major release for the developer. It’s also a great example of one of the best reasons to play Indie games. The scene allows devs to be a little more experimental with their games. A common trend I have been loving as of late is the genre-mashing games that have come out recently. Games like Demons Crawl, Metavaxx, and more.
You play Skipper. A tiny mouse who is growing up on a farm that is a part of a tiny village. One day a giant beast arrives at your village when a small red object shows up and asks you for help in fighting off the behemoth. With a glance towards your Granny’s sword and a burst of courage, you set off to help this mysterious stranger. This is the pivotal event that sets your story in motion.
With Beast Breaker being an RPG mashup, you better believe there is a decent story to go along. Between each fight, there is a chance for cutscenes to play out. These are dependant on if you’ve done a storyline quest or chose to help out a nearby village.
Your farm serves as a hub for all of your companions you meet throughout your travels. After certain missions, you will have cutscenes available to you to learn about these companions and more lore about the world of Beast Breaker. The characters you will find range from lost family members to nobility. Each character is unique and their writing suits them perfectly. I found myself enjoying many of these characters for their great personality. The writing is on point and succinct.
These companions will bring about new stories, quests, items, upgrades, and more. With their help and your skill as a beast slayer, you will save villages across the world and maybe find the origins of where these beasts came from.
Vodeo’s mission is to create games that you can get cozy with and relax while still having very intricate systems. Easy to play, hard to master. Point where you want to attack, click and repeat until your beast is vanquished. The underlying mechanics are where mastery comes into play and where you see this game is much deeper than what meets the eye.
When you’re ready to set off on a quest you go to the Cellar and pick one of the available quests. Typically, you will see story quests and some “call for aid” sidequests to choose from. From there you get to choose your weapons and armor, a companion to accompany you, and then off you go to track your prey.
Before each fight can begin, you will go into what’s called “Tracking.” Here you will be on a hex grid and can find resources to make buffs for the following fight, and find the monster you need to hunt. You’re essentially doing recon of the monster threatening a village. An interesting mechanic here is that some quests are only found by spotting clues during this phase. These clues will only appear during quests that aid nearby villages.
This is where the game truly shines. Since this is a brick-breaking mashup, your enemies are giant beasts made of numbered bricks. Each beast has three different kinds of attack points; outside scales, internal core, and a special scale that moves each turn. The internal pink cores are how you will damage this beast. After each turn, a finite number of scales will regrow. This adds to really having to plan your shots.
Now, this is not Arkanoid so you will not be shooting balls at these bricks. Instead, you’re equipped with a sword & shield and hurl yourself, à la pinball, toward your enemies using the multiple attacks afforded to you. Building charge will allow you to use more and more of your abilities as the rounds progress. The beast broadcasts its planned area of attack allowing you to better plan your attack and avoid taking damage. After your turn is up, the enemy will attack and change directions in the arena.
Combat has a surprising amount of depth to it. You can approach each enemy and decide to attack their main core and end the match quickly. However, it would behoove you to take time with these beasts and destroy all the other cores. With each destroyed core comes building materials, or motes, and these will be the foundation for crafting weapons and armor. With your larger bosses, some fights can take 20+ minutes (this is not a negative either) as you pick away at the beast’s body.
The weapon crafting in Beast Breaker is such an awesome mechanic and I truly cannot express how much I enjoy it. Your granny is something of a master smith. She can take the motes you collect and turn them into new equipment. Early on the forge will supply you with a few armor choices and weapons too. After a few story missions, you get your hands on a forge upgrade that opens this mechanic up so much more than I was expecting.
Taking a look at the picture above you can see on the left a single weapon has 4 components to it, these are also the 4 attacks you’re given with each weapon. What happens with this new forge is the ability to mix and match weapon parts and create new weapons! After a successful mission will the parts be permanently put together into their new titled weapon. This gives the incentive to try out a lot of combos and see what sticks and what doesn’t!
With new weapons and weapon parts, you also gain a Renown Bonus. The Renown bonus is added to the XP you earned at the end of missions. These bonuses last for a couple of successful missions and it really motivates you to not get stuck using just one kind of weapon. The only real limitation with this system is that weapon parts can’t be mixed with other weapon types. Meaning sword parts stay with swords and hammers stay with hammers.
Beast Breaker is such a beautiful game. The colors are vibrant and full of depth. The characters are unique and have so much life brought to them through their portraits. The Animations of Skipper bouncing off of the beasts, blowing up beast scales and body parts. The beast’s movements and attacks are well thought out and though they have separation visually all parts move and work as a cohesive whole.
What I truly love is your home. It feels so damn cozy, well the cellar is creepy but aren’t they all?
I need this soundtrack! It is so damn good. The calm music while you are at home just adds to the cozy feeling. When I fought my first boss the music was so damn epic. It is beautifully adapted to what is going on on-screen and I cannot get enough of it.
The sound effects when attacking a beast have a great deal of depth too. You truly can feel the mighty power this tiny mouse wields as he goes flying across the screen. And the fear you feel as you hear an undiscovered beast roar as it gains strength while you’re tracking it.
However as cozy as the home is There is missed opportunity for more depth of sound here. Your home begins to fill with companions you find and I would have loved to have had more background noise of them talking when you’re in a room with them. I also would have loved to hear more noise when using the forge. All you really get is a slight tinkly noise as you craft a weapon part and I feel there could have been more depth of sound to bring these areas to life.
I truly don’t have much I can say that is negative about Beast Breaker. As I write this I struggle to think of anything major. There is a lack of sound depth within the home as noted above. It’s not game-breaking but definitely is something I noticed and wish a little more attention to that area was considered.
If I had one more issue I would say the enemy variety can get stale if you are doing the call to aid missions. It changes as you unlock new areas but you will see the same type of enemy pretty frequently. What makes this not a huge deal though is the randomness the game brings on through enemy and player movement and the incentivized weapon switching. Your strategy constantly evolves, and while it may hold on to some fundamental foundations from fight to fight; no two fights are the same.
Beast Breaker truly is a blast. It’s easy to sit down and get lost within the world Vodeo Games created. It’s simple and incredibly complex if you want it to be so. There is a surprising depth of strategy and a true sense of triumph when you finally slay a gigantic beast. I found myself always coming back for more while writing this review. I just could not put the game down.
Beast Breaker is a superb brick-breaking RPG mashup and is a game you do not want to miss out on. With unique ideas and simple yet incredibly deep mechanics, this game is a game you need to try.