Arboria from developer Dreamplant and publisher All in! Games is quite an intriguing fantasy rogue-lite. Players will take on the role of a Yotun warrior and descend into the dark caves of Durnar. What exactly awaits you in the underground caverns? That’s for you to find out in Arboria.
Arboria kicks off with players taking on the role of Gobbok, a Yotun troll warrior. He is summoned from the Father Tree and sent off in search of a blaspheming traitor. Players will control Gobbok and be introduced to the game’s basic mechanics in a short tutorial dungeon. Movement is controlled with the left analog stick and the camera with the right. Attacks are split into light and heavy attacks which are assigned to the right shoulder buttons and you can use an item based ability with the left should you acquire one. Fairly simplistic and there’s no stamina bar here which makes the game a lot easier than others in the genre.
Combat in Arboria is unfortunately a bit of a lacklustre affair with players simply button bashing the attack buttons while dodging out of the way of enemy attacks. Having no stamina bar means that you can attack freely and your character won’t get tired. You are only limited by your own attack animations and timings. Unfortunately, enemy numbers can be quite high in some situations and players can be stun-locked and killed quite easily. This makes combat in Arboria very unsatisfying when you die not from lack of skill but rather the game’s mechanics being favoured towards large groups of enemies. Players are therefore advised to try to kite enemies or pick them off from a distance if possible while avoiding them as much as possible to prevent death.
Upon dying, players will lose their items and progress and respawn back at the Father Tree as a new Yotun troll warrior with different perks. This is where the roguelike elements kick in and players can gain access to stronger warriors the further they get into the Durnar caverns. Obtaining crystal resources known as “Veri” and healing the Father Tree’s roots leads to unlocking new upgrades. You will require these upgrades should you wish to delve deeper into the caves and unlock new areas to explore.
Players will face off against a wide range of enemies and there are even boss battles to fight in Arboria. Enemies in Arboria are quite varied but they suffer from very predictable attack patterns. Combat is satisfying to a certain extent but the aforementioned fact that enemies can gang up on you and defeat you quite easily in groups takes away a lot of the fun factor. Unfortunately, this happens consistently and the repetition of the game’s core gameplay loop sets in quite fast.
Looting enemies and treasure chests allow you to replace your weaponry and armour or scrap them for additional resources. You can also upgrade your items with elemental modifications and overall, this system works pretty well in Arboria. The actual levels in Arboria seem to follow a specific theme with a random aspect applied to their layouts. Some caves for example will have lots of rooms and treasures while others might be quite barren. There’s also traps and other hazards to avoid which further compounds the game’s difficulty when fighting waves of enemies.
Unfortunately, being an early access title, Arboria is not without its fair share of problems. The game has an overall feel of being unpolished and this is quite prevalent from the get go with cutscenes that seem like they could use a lot of work. The audio in the game also randomly cuts out during exploration with the music stopping and then suddenly starting again after a while.
During the time I spent playing the game I encountered a couple of issues but the biggest that happened was during a fairly successful run through the Durnar caves. What happened was, when trying to enter a lower level, the game froze on the loading screen. Upon force-closing the game, relaunching it and trying to load back into my save, the game would simply freeze up once again. If you as a player who put in a significant amount of time into the game were to lose your save file this way, you would most likely never return to Arboria. I was certainly put off coming back and restarting completely from scratch.
Glancing at the Steam discussion forum, there are multiple threads about bugs and problems in the game. Dreamplant, therefore, needs to significantly improve Arboria and thankfully, being an early access title, I’m hoping that they can do this before its final release. For those of you out there that want a dark-humour fantasy roguelike, Arboria may interest you but do be warned, the game in its current state is no way close to being a solid gaming experience and needs an immense amount of further work to make it worth your time. The core aspects are there but the execution is severely lacking.
Publisher: All in! Games SA
You can purchase this game on steam for £15.49RRP here.
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