Arboria - Soulslike Roguelite with a "Weird 90s" Aesthetic

There are offhand spells, although the only two I’ve found so far are an area attack ground pound and a shield.

Oh, although the shield is cool because it reflects damage to the enemy, a lot on a perfect parry (which isn’t hard to do) and a little otherwise.

There’s a real Sacrifice vibe to the weird monsters and general “ugly” aesthetic to this. I love that your Yotun is the most butt-ugly avatar imaginable. The later levels introduce some truly weird monstrosities. Gameplay is nothing like Sacrifice though, just in case Tom gets on my case.

You will probably want to swap them at certain points, but certainly not all the time. Most biomes contain particular types of enemies, so when you switch biomes (every few levels) you may find a different type of weapon works better. I generally just go with what gives the biggest and most satisfying DPS and then put my favourite element onto it. :)

As you progress you accumulate traits which tend to work synergistically with whatever playstyle you’re going for. There’s a lot of depth to the combat, a lot more than at first appears, and once you’ve reached the Reptilz zone you’ll have a much better handle on it. The metaprogression here reminds me of Hades without so much story - you progress by dying, at which point you can spend your resources, unlock new vendors, create different builds for future Yotuns. I guess the voice acting is a long way from Hades, but it seems suited to the general vibe. I love the way that the Gobbock gets progressively smarter with his speech patterns as you descend.

If only I had some free time to play it. Maybe tomorrow.

That’s reassuring. Thanks mate!

Can you configure the controls to be like DS? I’m playing Nioh and I keep miss-clicking block and Dodge :(

Keyboard controls look fully configurable but the gamepad ones don’t seem to be.

Well I’m not playing a souls like with kb+m :)

I guess I can give it a go and refund if I can’t adapt.

Arboria feels natural with a controller to me, after playing plenty of Dark Souls. It was Death’s Door that took ages for me to get used to. When I tried recalibrating the controls I learned my brain had already started rewiring itself and got even more confused, so I went back to the defaults.

If you’re playing through Steam you can configure your controller to do pretty much anything using Steam’s controller configuration (best accessed via Big Picture for easy tweaking while you play. Once you’re happy with your config, you can just load the game up as normal outside Big Picture and it’ll use your new config). No need to adapt on Steam! :-)

The steam controller config tool is great.

The official screenshots hurt my eyes. It all seems so muddy and hard to discern.

Mostly what matters are the enemies, and they’re pretty colorful. Plus the map shows everything interesting.

Obligatory “it looks better in motion” comment! As mentioned, important things generally stand out clearly, although it does take a while to get used to the aesthetic. I had the same reaction when I first played the demo, but I enjoyed the gameplay loop and combat so much that I warmed pretty quickly to what they were doing.

Finally got to return to this last night. My Yotun was on level 10, doing better than I’d done before, with some amazing mutagens. You can predict what happened! It’s always the same, you leave a game for a short while and become rusty enough that you lose your edge against harder foes.

It certainly took a few moments to get a handle on the controller again. Being able to rebind in game would definitely be a good thing, but as with all things things I find a bit of practice rewires my brain pretty fast. The biggest hurdle was training myself not to hit X for attack (thanks, Death’s Door). So I kept trying to smoke my healing bong, but fortunately you can interrupt that by moving (until you level that ability up later). Since I last played they’ve added some slightly overdone screen rocking when you get hit by certain effects now. Normally I’d turn it off but they seem to have it lumped under a general “effects” slider. I’m getting used to it.

But the gameplay remains undiminished, and there are a lot more events I’m encountering that I hadn’t seen previously. Combat in this game is excellent once you get down a few levels and really need to work all your abilities. Once you open the elevator shortcuts down to the lower levels things get hectic fast, but I need to upgrade my starting gear a lot more before I can start doing that. I got 120,000 veri on my last run, and let’s say it didn’t go veri far.

Oh! Will check if this is still available!

They took it down on the 1.0 release, probably because it’s too old and not representative of the game anymore. Even when I tried it, performance was shoddy and a lot of mechanics and events were missing from the early levels. So I was pleasantly surprised when even the EA version was vastly better. There was some mention on their Discord a while ago that they’d consider a revised demo following release.

I really hope more people get into this game, it’s so good. The combat once you get a couple of levels down and find a good combination of different weapon and mutagen types, plus some support weaponry, is deeply satisfying. My current Yotun (about my 12th run) has a great long-range attack, which alt-fires as a short-range flame-thrower, which I can swap out to a teleport that deals huge damage at the point I reappear, I have two twin blades with different elements to deal with the majority of enemy types, I have a mod that gives me a temporary boost to my mana recovery and damage if I dodge at the last moment - which is now my standard approach to combat - and I just picked up a mod allowing my fairy avatar to throw a grenade every 5 hits. There are so many mods, I still keep finding new ones nearly 30 hours in. I’m feeling pretty good about this run (let’s not talk about the previous one, ahem).

Incidentally, when you meet the first major boss, there’s a button you can press. Are you sure, it asks. Are you really, really sure, it asks. There’s no going back, it says. Protip: do not press that button. The devs have a weird sense of humor!

Well now I just wanna push the button.

I bought it along with Deathloop and played an hour and liked what I saw but I figured it might get to Game Pass or go on sale and I have so goddamn many other games to play so I refunded it. Now I want it again. I’m a foolish lad.

I kind of doubt a weird game like this will ever find game pass, but I could absolutely be wrong. It seems like a decent candidate for some future humble choice, maybe.

I’ve given up waiting for games I want to play to come to Humble, Game Pass, Epic or whatever. It’s a lottery, and I find it a lot more rewarding to just buy a game I want to play so I can play it. I’m sure Arboria will appear in a bundle at some point in the future, the inevitable end point for all indie games, but who knows how long that will take.

Fine, push it then!

Haha, the only problem with “buying a game when I want to play it” for me is that’s how I ended with so goddamn many games! Makes me pine a little for the old days when I got like two games a year and really dug into them. I realize the only thing keeping me from doing that is me, but I am me, so I know me.