Battle Shapers might be a first-person shooter, but forget about the guns for a minute. We’ve had our hands on a preview build of this upcoming roguelike, and for us, it’s the epic punching ability that steals the show. Dashing forward to unleash a deadly fistbump into the face of an enemy bot is oh-so satisfying. Even more so when they explode into smithereens right in front of your eyes. Ah, bliss.
Okay, the guns are pretty good too, we’ll admit. Since Battle Shapers is a roguelike, you’ll start out with a basic loadout which can be upgraded as you progress. Kill a few enemies and you’re likely to find a new gun to pick up. Rinse and repeat. You’ve played roguelikes before; you know how this goes. Edge on a little further and you’ll find something better; a shotgun this time, or maybe a fire-imbued assault rifle. There are various usable skills to collect too, things like throwable grenades or the ability to set fire to the ground to deal damage over time.
Of course, take too much damage and your current run in Battle Shapers comes to a grinding halt. Not all is lost, though. You’ll collect currency each time you play, which can be spent on permanent upgrades. Maybe you’ll unlock a new gun that you can find in future runs, or maybe you’ll permanently upgrade your health or armor. You might die a lot to begin with, but the more you play, the tougher and more sturdy you’ll get.
It looks great, too. The world of Battle Shapers is decidedly futuristic, but metallic rooms are brought to life with giant trees sprouting up to the ceiling and plants growing in every corner. There’s a lot of verticality, with each area having ledges to jump up to, boost pads on the ground and ramps that lead you to new, higher platforms. It’s worth exploring, too, because you’ll find various pick-ups and currency – all useful things in making your run more successful.
Clear enough rooms and you’ll find yourself facing off against a boss. You get to choose who you want to face out of three possible bosses. Our preview only had one of the three available, but it’s a formidable giant bot who’s probably going to obliterate you with bullets in seconds flat unless you keep your wits about you. It’s tough, but that’s the idea of a roguelike: you keep trying. You get better. And nailing it feels like an earned success.
We’re looking forward to playing more Battle Shapers. This isn’t the first roguelike FPS of course, but it feels fresh. Familiar enough to be easy to get into, but new and interesting enough to keep us playing. Every death leaves us keen to jump back in, inching that bit further every time. And every time we punch a robot into oblivion? Well, that just leaves us with a big, silly grin on our face.