Arcadegeddon is a motley rogue lite, a 3rd person shooter and an extensive loot festival. There are quite a few genres combined in one. In this early access check, we want to see whether Arcadegeddon manages to serve this genre mix as a tasty cocktail, or whether the developers have taken over. Before we can get an overall picture, we first want to take a closer look at the individual components.
The story can be summed up in a nutshell and only serves as a little hook to give all the fun a frame. Gilly, owner of an arcade hall, needs your help. According to his own statement, he has developed a “Super Arcade Game” in his hall, which he now has to protect from malicious hacker attacks by a mega-corporation. You should give the chunky curly hair a helping hand. You get into the game via an arcade machine and have to jump from level to level. The henchmen of the evil Fun Fun Co. have tainted these levels with bugs and glitches and you have to make sure to eliminate them as you progress. Don’t get it wrong, we had almost no unplanned bugs and glitches while playing. The game is in a technically mature condition. This is only about the tasks to be fulfilled in the levels.
Even later, the story is only an accessory and not much happens beyond the initial scenario. Typically rogue lite, Arcadegeddon also wants to convince with a high replay value instead of a strongly staged story.
The hunt for the high score
If you go through the arcade machine into one of the randomly diced biomes, your main goal is to stay alive as long as possible in order to boost your high score. Because you can compete with other players using a leaderboard. As already mentioned, you have to complete tasks such as surviving in an area or fixing a certain number of glitches and bugs. To do this, you have to shoot quasi targets and ideally hit them well.
Either you play at the intended level of difficulty, which also increases from level to level. If you have the feeling that this is too easy for you, then you can also increase the claim in the shop that can be found during the runs for the rest of the current round. But be careful, if you decide to do it, there is no turning back until you bite the grass and start a new run.
If you increase the level of difficulty, not only do the enemies’ life energy and damage increase, but also new types of enemies appear who want to prevent you from moving forward. In return for a successful run under difficult conditions there is of course a correspondingly better high score at the end.
The crux of the matter is, if you haven’t prepared yourself adequately, you can dig your own grave. That is why it is important to collect new weapons and hacks in order to meet the increasing challenge.
Load and unlock – now it’s getting chaotic
Arcadegeddon is grateful to have some helpful guns ready: Pistols, rifles, shotguns, rocket launchers and particularly unusual weapons such as lasers or circular saw throwers will help you shoot your way through the levels. Guns also come in different degrees of rarity. As a rule, the rarer the weapon, the more it bangs.
But not only weapons are essential for a successful run. With the aforementioned hacks, which are hidden in boxes and chests just like weapons, you can gain an enormous advantage. For example, one of the hacks increases the damage with a certain type of weapon, another increases your maximum life. A hack alone may not look like much, but if you have gathered a large arsenal, you are much more powerful afterwards.
If you want to get good equipment quickly, it’s worth starting one of the two boss fights available in the Early Access version. You can get to them by first filling a certain bar over time and then finding a portal that appears somewhere in the area. These portals are mostly obviously on the path given to you.
The battles against the Obermotze offer nice intro sequences and on the first try they can be quite demanding. But at the latest by the second attempt you have seen through the attack pattern and they get boring. Basically, you don’t have to do more than jump around and point your gun at it to bring the villains to their knees. You could have got more out of that. If you have managed a boss, there is at least a chest full of great items as a reward.
Not only from boxes and bosses, you can also get new weapons and refill your ammunition in the shop. You can also change your skills there. These are extremely valuable in the fight against the FFC soldiers. At the beginning you only have access to one of the eight skills: You can hurl a deadly ball of fire at your opponents. Later you will unlock further powers, thanks to which you can, for example, create a healing field or freeze your enemies with a frost nova.
The levels can optionally also be mastered together with up to three other players in co-op. And lovers of virtual competition are not left out either. They have the opportunity to compete against each other in various mini-games in the shop. The three pieces available are fun for the first couple of rounds, but you quickly get tired of them. Completing it is still worth it, however, because the winner receives helpful loot as a reward.
The right ingredients make all the difference
Arcadeggedon is a gaudy color spectacle paired with crazy weapons and chaotic firefights that can really put you in a good mood. But does he manage to mix loot, co-op and rogue-lite? Yes, quite decently. Shooting goes well, the characters move smoothly and the weapons provide excellent hit feedback.
Arcadegeddon was still not able to fully convince us. More nuances regarding the individual aspects of the game are currently missing. The basic mechanics are solid, but you always have the feeling that something is missing. The three available biomes have been browsed in a very short time and the soundtrack also becomes monotonous after a while. The variety of weapons is initially very positive, but clear favorites crystallize relatively quickly, so that almost all other guns are left by the wayside.
These problems and above all the lack of variety, for example with regard to the bosses and the mini-games, are mostly due to the early access status and can be ironed out with upcoming updates. A look at the roadmap that has already been published also shows that the developers still have a lot of content in planning. And the basic concept of Arcadegeddon works pretty well.
Arcadegeddon has been available on PC exclusively in the Epic Store via Early Access since July 8, 2021 and also on PS5. The full launch is currently scheduled for 2022.
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