Doug McGrave has a problem. As the legendary demon hunter passed through the forests of Hellside, he was approached by a lady beseeching him for his help. Her village had been overrun by demonic presences, and she requires him to remove these foul beasts. Upon discovering that there would be no pay involved Doug refuses, only to discover that the elderly lady is, in fact, a witch who places a spell upon him, removing his abilities and making him unable to leave the vicinity.
Taking the form of a top down dungeon crawler, each stage of The Weaponographist finds you trapped in a room against legions of enemies. Clearing the room allows to to progress into the next to repeat the task. After a set number of rooms you move onto a boss creature, considerably more difficult than the enemies you’ve met previously. Defeating the boss allows to descend another depth of the dungeon, and in essence progress onto the next level.
You’ll meet a seemingly random variety of enemies throughout The Weaponographist. Mafioso henchmen with tommyguns, little pink spear-wielding elves, chainsaw maniacs, flamethrowing wizards, laser-emitting hornists, armour plated T-Rex dinosaurs…you get the idea. My personal favourite were the lions dressed up as, well, lion tamers, fully kitted out with the long red coat and top hat, armed with a chair and whip.
Similarly, as the game’s title may suggest, there’s an eclectic range of weaponry too. Sword, guns, whips, horns (yep, the musical kind), bows, and simple plain old fists can be used to defeat the enemy hordes. Sadly, I found the combat to be somewhat frustrating, mainly due to the fact there’s no diagonal movement or attacks. Doug is also somewhat floaty too, which I occasionally found dragging myself into trouble. While seemingly a design choice, I found both the movement and attacking to be an annoyance, and actually gave the game a somewhat ‘cheap’ feeling.
That said, there’s two interesting mechanics built into the combat. Firstly, each weapon you have has a limited amount of usage thanks to the curse, meaning that you need to be constantly picking up the weapons dropped by your enemies. Second, the curse also effects an ever depleting combo meter. Boosting your level up means you deal more damage, and thus the game encourages you to be constantly attacking rather than sitting back and waiting for openings.
On the first run through you’ll be likely to die, and relatively sharpish. That’s because, as alluded to in the intro, Doug has lost all his skills. This is an RPG element comes into the title. Defeating enemies drops little green globules called Goop, your in game currency, which you can then use to upgrade all facets of your character. Movement speed, health, the rate your combo meter drains, invincibility…the list goes on. Crucially though, you can also upgrade the damage weapons deal, absolutely necessary to progress through the game. Problematically, you need to upgrade each weapon separately, and with such a vast array of weapons it takes a substantial amount of time to get enough Goop to get all weapons to a sufficient level.
While the graphics are quite pleasantly drawn, the animations are less so, and it’s another aspect that contributes to the overall sensation of it feeling a bit cheap. Similarly, the sound is poor across the board, with some kind of odd sounding 16-bit attempt at dubstep as a score and painfully repetitive sound effects.
All in all, I find it pretty difficult to recommend The Weaponographist, with the extremely repetitive gameplay, somewhat average presentation, cheap feeling combat, and the story being absolutely nonexistent outside of the intro sequence. There was little to hold my attention for longer than 10-15 minutes at a time before succumbing to boredom. While the pick up and play gameplay may appeal to some, I personally like something I can sink my teeth into a little more.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 4/10 Format: PC Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of The Weapongraphist by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 10 days. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.