Mythforce is a roguelike RPG co-op adventure brought to you by developers Beamdog. The game was released on 12th September 2023. They claim throughout their promotions online to have captured the essence of 80s daytime cartoons in game form. Sounds interesting. I recently got a chance to check it out for Thumb Culture. Check out the review below.
A Love Letter to Retro Cartoons
Roguelike games have become commonplace in game stores in recent years. Often they are endless AI-generated levels added to mix things up for the gamer. I’ve played a few games with this added and while it certainly is fun, I’m a bit on the fence. Mythforce is a good example of roguelike done well, however. What are your favourite roguelike games that you have played recently? Let us know in the comments.
Following an epic intro, which I’ll get into later, you are greeted by the characters which we get to play as in Mythforce. The characters assumedly are to represent typical classes you’d expect from any fantasy game. You choose from four characters all with their own perks and benefits. There is Rico the Rogue who specialises in sneaking around to catch the enemies off guard. Victoria the Knight is a tank-like crowd-control character armed with a shield and mace. There is Hawkins the Hunter armed with a dagger and bow and arrow who can pick off enemies from afar. Finally, there’s Maggie the Mage who, with her spellbook, can conjure up spells to cast at the enemies.
For my playthrough, I focused on one character in particular who I thought would suit my playstyle, Hawkins. I chose the Hunter class as it seemed to have the speed and maneuverability but also the impressive attacks. To better use my character’s attacks and skills a handy tutorial guided me through the UI and the buttons. Before I ventured into the enemy-strewn lands a crumbling kingdom backdrop is shown which you rebuild as you progress. Here you can revisit after every dungeon crawl to rank up your skills, equipment, and more.
Myth Becomes Legend
Armed and ready you are placed in the first of nine levels or as they like to call them “episodes”. Here I got a feel for the sensitivity, moving around and practicing a few shots. Mostly I was transfixed by the graphics which were indeed fitting of an 80s retro cartoon with heavy bold black lines and colour palettes to match. Soon I encountered the first area marked by a force-field from which you can see enemies dotted around beyond. Stepping through they automatically gravitate toward you going in for the kill. I found I was able to fire off shots easily enough always (nearly always) hitting the mark. Soon enough the first area was done and I was left to venture onwards to the next. After every area, you can pick up perks and trinkets to give you even more of an edge against the enemies.
There is a progress tracker which is there to tell how far you have progressed. As I ventured on the enemies got increasingly more difficult and varied in types of creatures. First up were the skeleton soldiers then to mix things up there were mushroom monsters which were harder to take down. Using the environment and layout became necessary to crowd-control the foes and to get the edge in every battle. Dotted around each level was exploding plant life which I found particularly handy. Soon enough time flew by unknowingly as I zipped around every level of the episode lost in the thrill of the fight. I can only imagine Mythforce would be ten times better with others fighting by your side.
Graphics & Audio
When starting up Mythforce you are greeted by an awesome intro befitting of an 80’s cartoon-inspired game. The animation has a low frame rate giving it that janky yet interesting motion we know and love from those beloved cartoons. The colour palette has also been chosen to pluck at our nostalgia strings. The gameplay has similarly been crafted as a love letter to our childhood with each level and character giving off similar waves of recognition and nostalgia. The bold stroke outlines, colours, and effect animations all were a feast for the eyes.
The audio throughout felt professional and again fitting of a retro cartoon. The music that accompanied the intro was what you’d expect from a cartoon from yesteryear with an abundance of synth and guitar. The lyrics are also very positive, happy, catchy, and well-written. Each level and battle that ensues is full of well-polished sound effects and voice lines by the character you play along with every enemy. The satisfying thunk of an arrow hitting the enemies to the rattling of bones further immersed you into this retro stylised world.
A fair bit of time could be spent trawling the dungeons for loot and dispatching all enemies that cross your path. As the game is a roguelike adventure each area you enter is AI-generated with an endless amount of randomness so each area feels fresh and new. After a bit of playing, however, I noticed some areas were repurposed with a few things changed and it did kind of throw me out of the immersion. That isn’t to say the game isn’t enjoyable. I thoroughly lost time in advancing through the dungeon mastering the art of evading attacks while letting off a flurry of arrows and attacks. The length of gameplay can only be lengthened with other players that join you in battle. However, more than enough gameplay is to be had with playing as the other characters.
This well-polished love letter to retro cartoons stirred up so much nostalgia from the get-go. Its visuals and sound were a pleasure to behold and I’ll be revisiting it to check out the other characters to marvel at it all time and time again. I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing this game. It is a must if you love the look and feel of retro cartoons and love roguelike adventures. Even if you are not, Mythforce is worth a try as it’s unique, well-made, and action-packed to entertain regardless.
I award Mythforce with Thumb Cultures prestigious Gold Award
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.