Forge: Ymil's Revenge is a side-scrolling action game, where you take on the role of five different classes: Assassin, Pathfinder, Pyromancer, Warden, and Shaman. There are two modes of play at the moment: Labyrinth and Team Death Match.
In Labyrinth, you team up with a group of up to five other players to battle against a frost giant boss, known as a Frostunn. While in Team Death Match, your goal is to fight against other players in PVP battle arenas, where the name of the game is to wipe out the other team. First to kill ten members of the opposite team wins!
The characters are the same classes used in the original Forge, and I really liked those. Each class has a unique look, and their general style and appearance sets them apart. They also have their own distinct move sets, so you'll never be able to play the same way with any one character. As far as design, and basic attacks, I really enjoy the roster that Forge: Ymil's Revenge has to offer. The designs for Ymil and the Frostunns are also really interesting.
As you play through the game and finish matches, you gather different items, accessories, and drops. This is a really cool feature, since customizing is always a good time! I love changing the look and feel of the character in what ever game I play. In Forge, each piece of armor changes the color of its corresponding area.
So helmets change the face color, armor changes the chest area, and so on. It's a nice touch, and there's also eventually some crafting that you can do. I never reached that ability during my play through, but it's an exciting feature that I'd be interested to try! Also, aside from simply changing the aesthetics, you'll also find items that can upgrade different aspects of your abilities and attacks.
Another interesting feature is that in order to unlock another Character Slot, you need to raise the level of your current character. You start off with one open slot, with the second slot opening once you reach level 5, and another once you reach a specific level. This is a pretty cool feature, because it encourages you to play and commit to a specific class in the beginning of the game.
Forge: Ymil's Revenge is an Early Access game, so it is being patched and updated all the time. I understand that, so I don't want to review it too harshly. However, here are some issues I ran into.
What I first noticed is that you can fall off the edge, really easily. I understand that these are there to add some depth and platforming elements to the combat, but there are some ledges (specifically the ones on the end of the tutorial stage) that are on the furthest edge of the level. They kind of feel like there should be a wall, or something blocking the way, because when you fall, it causes instant death. Maybe this is supposed to add to the traps, and pitfalls, while fighting against the other players? I'd always fall off them by accident.
The beginning tutorial stage is tedious to work through. NPC enemies hardly made an effort to confront me and often times just ran, or stood there. It was also hard to find enemies. I found myself running through the stage, which wasn't very big, searching for anything to fight with. Sometimes there was just nothing on screen, the enemies nowhere to be found, and then they'd just appear. After the tutorial stage, enemy A.I. didn't really improve. They did attack me a lot more, but sometimes they'd cluster, get stuck someplace, and then fire at me. Or just run in the opposite direction. Their behavior seemed really random.
Another thing I noticed is that there's a serious lack of sound effects. In the whole game, I think I only came across a small handful. There was the Assassin's slash, the flame bursts from the Pyromancers, and that was about it? Pathfinders had hardly a sound for their arrows except for a very silent whoosh, there was no footfall when you ran, jumped, landed, or died. Even background elements, like the flaming balls during the battle with the Frostunns, blaze through the sky without a sound. It's a very silent game, aside from the music, which is the same song in every level.
The music can become repetitive. It seems to last only for a moment or so before it loops and plays over and over again. The endless, single track is made more apparent with the lack of overall SFX from the characters, and the backgrounds. Which is a shame, because the music playing during the opening sequence is really nice. Also, speaking of the music in the opening sequence, the in-game soundtrack seems to be totally different. I'd like to see more orchestral music, like the tune used during the first cinematic, in-game.
Controlling the character was also kind of touch and go. For some reason, when I'd use the Assassin’s standard slash, they'd turn the opposite way and attack? It didn't happen all the time, but it happened often enough that I wouldn't even attack that character/Frostunn/jewel/player in front of me from time to time. Button commands are very responsive, though, which was nice.
Battles had a lifelessness to them since jumps had hardly any weight and there was no indication that attacks were connecting. When I was slashing at the enemy, there was no enemy reaction, impact sound, or reaction animation, so it felt like I was blindingly attacking with no idea if it was being effective. The only indication was their life bar dropping, but aside from that it never really felt like my strikes had any sort of impact. Although, Pyromancers can knock you over, and Pathfinders arrows do stun you, so there is that, but your character takes too long to recover from these, and it felt like an unnecessary pause to the action.
In Labyrinth mode, if the Frostunn is in your way, it's difficult to move past him. He'd just stand there, and the only way I'd be able to move past him is if he'd move, or I'd --by random chance-- glitch under its feet. As a boss, you shouldn't be able to get past him that easily, but it felt more like a design glitch than something that benefits the combat. By that I mean sometimes I'd get stuck on one side, unable to attack the jewels, or he'd be on a ledge, while I'm stuck beneath, unable to jump up to where I need to be. There was even an instance where he was standing on top of my character, unable to hit me.
Also, I found it odd that the Frostunn didn't have any sound effects? There would be attack animations (Stomp, Hammer Swing, and Ice Breath) but like most of the game, there would be no sound effects playing during any of the moves. I feel like the addition of sound effects would really add to the overall immersion of the Ymil's Revenge. Also, when the Frostunn slammed its hammer, the screen would shake. Without any sound, it seemed awkward.
Some things I'd like to see added to the game would be some sort of Map, an Enemy Indicator, the option to Map Buttons to different keys, larger stages, more variety of Frost Giants to battle/play, some new classes, and maybe a single player campaign. I know this is meant to be a coop battle game, but the world of Forge is interesting enough that I'd like to explore it in a bit more depth. Then again, that would be a totally different game. So I guess scratch that last one.
Ymil's Revenge is a game that has a lot of promise: action, platforming, multiplayer, unique battle elements, customization, and a developer that's eager to take feedback from their community. It's still in Early Access, so I'm eager to see how the game evolves, and what it'll inevitably become once it sees a full release. It's available on Steam for $9.99. It was developed and published by Dark Vale Games.
Review copy courtesy of Dark Vale Games.