Strafe Game Review
Refined, yet macabre retro demo and aesthetic
Roguelike construction makes for thrilling runs, particularly late-game
Weapon variability and thing system mixes up play-fashion
Becomes persistent after a while
Specialized problems, like enemies firing through walls, can destroy a run
Many firearms lack impact
About The Game
At first glance, Strafe seems like an old school, hyper-fast, and gory first-person shooters from the ’90s. Oftentimes, it really does lean heavily on the likes of Doom and Quake, but working within those limits and introducing a roguelike construction, Strafe appears as a uniquely thrilling shot with lots of appeal in its own right. It teeters between being mindlessly entertaining and carefully tactical to the backdrop of a perfectly executed electronic soundtrack, teaching you something new with each run.
You play as a space scrapper whose occupation would be to visit the derelict boat Icarus and, well, pick up rubbish, as told via the game’s purposely cheesy FMV tutorial. Nothing else is said as you jump into the primary quest; you are just sent off just to discover things went horribly wrong and hordes of deformed humanoids are now out for blood. However, as you drop in the very first degree, it is clear that you just are the one spilling blood, carefully measured in gallons by the game itself, as you shred enemies with your shotgun, railgun, or machine gun.
The game ace its core gameplay iteration: blast foes and scavenges to survive the following fight. The speed at which you dash, jump, and strafe make you nimble, and every fight is a brutal dance that ends once the last enemy is downed. It’s additionally potential to sprint previous enemies to achieve a degree’s ending or hop above a mob to prevent getting cornered and create space to fire back.
You’re given the option of the main weapon at the beginning of a run, and kiosks are scattered via the game which supplies free randomized upgrades, some more successful than many others. Depending on your play-style, the changes to your chief weapon’s primary and secondary fire can be advantageous or a weight. The strong grenade launcher upgrade for the shotgun might be replaced through an incorrect flak cannon. Barrels and volatile bugs might be utilized to your advantage, and extra weapons scatter the world, which is single-use and change in effectiveness. While a rocket launcher or plasma rifle function well for case-hardened foes, a short range needle gun, and sonic blaster are not especially useful in most scenarios. It is also disappointing that for a game that revolves around shooting, the majority of the firearms lack impact; the machine gun and railgun feel completely piddly.
Mutated people, turrets, spiders, and acid-throwing foes populate the world and need you to believe quickly and conform to their specific, unique risks. The game is not just about withstanding absolute amounts or fending off waves of enemies. In Strafe, one misstep could spell disaster for your run, since damage comes quickly and in big balls. Forgetting to assess your flanks and see your back, or being too close to explosive projectiles can be your undoing. This makes crucial errors deep into a run very dejected, but by the same token, it is what creates the ever-growing tension as you go farther along. Like all rogue-style games, the threat of punishment is a portion of the enjoyment, but it causes a degree of repetition that’s not constantly asking.
The lack of the game’s two monies compels you to scan your environment strongly, where you’ll locate rubbish for armor and ammo and cash for things at stores. You are never given too much of either, so the element of the tension in survival is spending both of these monies sensibly. While the onus is on you to determine the most effective use case for items and upgrades, as it isn’t instantly clear what things do, such as the four primary weapon aspect pickups. Nevertheless, experiment and working with what you’ve is part of the fun.
The more you experiment with Strafe, the more Easter eggs and secrets start to reveal themselves. Soar in the very first degree without selecting a firearm, plus a wrench is going to be your primary weapon. One special highlight was locating the Superhot shotgun; the game itself turns into Superhot where time only progress when you go, up until the weapon runs out of ammo. Easter eggs like this instill the urge to uncover more secrets and go beyond just completing the closing stage. Even after 12 hours, there is still a lot more to find.
Although the beginning and tail end of every stage stays the same, big parts are procedurally created, bringing from a few of preset rooms rearranged in sequence and orientation. While this keeps you guessing to an extent with each run, acquaintance eventually creeps in. A few later amounts feature branching rooms as you search for electricity cells to open a door to progress, but you are more or less funneled in a particular way through recognizable layouts. When there is a fault here, it is that Strafe neglects to introduce really unforeseen challenges. Mercifully, the game’s redeeming qualities are sufficient to keep you hooked.
On the other hand, the game is not without its specialized problems. Enemies sometimes shoot at you through walls, most evident in amount 31, where those with projectile weapons collected behind a locked door. Sometimes, a real enemy character would glitch out and zip across a room and vanish completely or sneak up behind you to cause unjust damage. After degrees had a few inexplicable framework drops, given the small system requirements. Happily, these problems are uncommon enough as to not completely destroy an otherwise tasteful encounter.
Strafe wears its influences on its sleeve but stands on its own as a fun, intense, and fast paced shooter with a distinguishable appeal.
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