Developed and Published by Canadian indie studio iLLOGIKA, Subaeria is a challenging action game with roguelike elements. Controlling Styx, a young girl who had her family ‘cleansed’, a more lenient way to say executed, after she committed a crime and now seeks for revenge, you and your drone will venture through random generated levels of the underwater city of Subaeria while fighting security enforcers to reach the ruler and execute your vengeance. Now it’s time to fight back! Get your drone ready and let’s dive into this review to check everything the game has to offer.
- The story of the game, although simple, carries a heavy message. After all the ice on the planet melt, elevating the sea level and covering the last city, mankind started to live in underwater cities named as Subaeria. Society quickly adapted to this new way of living, splitting the population in two groups: the first one, composed by rich and powerful people, living in comfort and safety while the second one, the poor, were put to work like slaves in production lines and to live in slums. The status quo was upheld by robots, used as security enforcers to keep workers in line. And to prevent crime, Subaeria’s ruler, President Dorf, endorsed a cleansing punishment to every criminal and all his/her family. And here we take control of Styx, a young girl who had her family executed after committing a crime and now seeks for revenge.
- Subaeria’s gameplay is fast and clever. Controlling Styx and her drone, you traverse room after room avoiding traps and destroying the cleaners, the security enforcers that are after you. But to do so, you must play smart: as Styx carries no weapons, you must use your droid abilities to make the robots destroy themselves. Yellow cleaners destroy the blue ones and vice versa, while both can be destroyed by explosive boxes and gray cleaners. To help Styx to deal with them, you can use your droid apps (found scattered in some rooms) that interfere with cleaners’ behavior, making them attack each other, to stand still, between many other effects, with Styx, making her invisible or invulnerable, for instance, or with the droid itself, creating typhoons and more. You’ll certainly find your favorite apps for each situation, but always try to experiment them all.
- As a roguelike game, the rooms are randomly positioned so no two gameplays feel the same. And, to make things harder, if you die in your quest, it’s game over! Always be careful when advancing to new rooms. Try to study the cleaners behavior (before they start chasing you!) to find the best way to deal with them.
- Bosses add some interesting variety to the gameplay. Yes, you still must use that ‘yellow vs blue’ mechanic, but as they are huge and represent a real threat, you’ll need to put your brain at use to find a way to beat them.
- Game’s graphics are very colorful (with some exaggeration we’ll discuss later) and the initial drawn cut scenes are very good. Sound is also very good, with some sweet electronic beats (assuming you like the rhythm)
- During exploration, you’ll collect currency and food pills. With the currency you can buy new apps that will remain available to the next gameplays or upgrades for your character. Food pills can be traded with NPCs for upgrades too. Talking about NPCs, most of them are there for chip chat while others can offer you some help by replenishing your health or trading things. But some can deal damage to you or steal from you. It’s always risky to trust them.
- With three more characters and 10 different endings to unlock, you’ve got a good amount of replay value with the game (although I must confess I could only reach one of the endings ☹… I have a lot more work to do to see all of them).
- The level and difficult progression may scare some players. After the tutorial, the first levels have a good pace for you to get the hang of the game. But soon things become real crazy, with lots of enemies, lases and traps in the same screen. Take it easy and remember that, if you don’t succeed after your first try, you can always try again.
- The camera position and movement felt uncomfortable to me. You have an almost aerial perspective of the action, but the zooming and movement where hard to get used to. After playing for some time, though, this impression passed.
- Subaeria can be very frustrating sometimes. As a roguelike game, you’ll end up dying very often, what is expected. But sometimes you’ll face problems like an enemy not showing up or a switch not working, making it necessary to restart the game (from the first level) or leave to the main menu and continuing (from the start of the current level). It happened to me sometimes during this review.
- Some levels are too much colorful, making it difficult to identify items. But this isn’t the only problem: my younger sister was by my side when I was playing the game and these levels ended up stressing her eyes really bad.
Subaeria [Score: 7.0/10] The first IP from iLLOGIKA is a great adventure the changes what I always thought about roguelike games. Using clever tools at your disposal, you must think fast and act faster to get rid of all your enemies to proceed, room after room, until you complete your final objective. It may look simple, but it’s really engaging to try again and again, facing different threats at each gameplay. Although its small issues, I had a great time with Subaeria and I invite every rogue player out there to try his best in this journey.
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.