“Suppose that we are wise enough to learn and know – and yet not wise enough to control our learning and knowledge, so that we use it to destroy ourselves? Even if that is so, knowledge remains better than ignorance.” – Isaac Asimov
Released: 24 May 2022
Available on: Steam
- Excellent, versatile progression system that allows a wide variety of combinations between passive skills, gear types, pets, accessories and unique weapons.
- Multiple markedly-different biomes: each has unique resources, enemies, bosses and randomly-generated points of interest.
- Enemy invasions, farming, breeding and recruitable survivors give good depth to base building, without turning it into a management headache.
- Good organization/quality of life features allow managing resource stockpiles, inventory, crafting and everything else in an efficient way.
- Well-designed, multi-phase boss battles that feel like proper milestones once you overcome them, and need some planning to be dealt with.
- Several mechanics are poorly-explained. This may cause frustration when they become more prominent.
- ‘Tough’ difficulty is nearly-unfeasible in solo later on. Heavy grind for god-rolled gear/clones / rare pets becomes mandatory and terribly dull.
- Survival aspects are minimal and easy to overcome. Hunger is hardly ever an issue while sleep, climate, illness, and shelter aren’t accounted for.
Bugs & Issues
- Rarely some base guests may wander out, stand in the middle of nowhere and not use the facilities correctly.
- 32GB RAM
Content & Replay Value
It took me around 19 hours to complete a run of Keplerth on Standard difficulty (had to restart due to Tough scaling in solo). Given that you can try all builds in a single run and there are no mutually-exclusive factors, linear content, there’s no reason to replay once finished.
Is It Worth Buying?
Yes. The price of €12.50 is more than fair for this amount of content and quality. I can recommend buying for full price.
Keplerth delivers a polished, enjoyable open-world ARPG experience, and manages to stand out from the crowd thanks to its original mechanics. Better in co-op.
Keplerth – In-Depth Analysis
Premise, Setting & Writing
After busting out of a cryostasis pod, you find yourself in an abandoned facility with no memories. Soon enough you find a damaged robot that explains some of the recent events, including that his friend, Dr Schip, is building a spacecraft to flee the planet and go back to the civilized systems. The hard-to-obtain materials can only be found in the bowels of the planet – that’s how your cave-crawling, pickaxe-wielding adventure begins.
Something went seriously wrong – you can tell that after seeing demolished villages filled with horribly mutated people and abominations. Still, there are also normal folks around, belonging to various fantasy races like Elves, Orcs and so on. You won’t see them defending against the horrors or do anything else than going around, though. In the underground, cramped, dark tunnels filled with all kinds of dangers are the norm. The atmosphere is cartoony and works fine, but lacks boldness most of the time.
The story is not elaborate, despite the good number of lore files found in dungeons and facilities as you travel. The attempt made at indirect narration, with a “build-your-own-interpretation” approach works only partially, and you’ll scratch your head about more than a few things. Still, it’s an ARPG, so the story was never a high expectation.
Exploration, Progression & Crafting
While the planet’s surface has a lot going on, like fast-travel portals absent underground, and NPC villages offering items for sale and unique services, most of Keplerth’s world actually expands vertically. Across five biomes, you’ll progressively find better and more plentiful minerals, paired with stronger foes the deeper you get. You can go underground with stairwells that need to be of better materials to pierce the harder ground, effectively preventing you from going too deep too soon.
Modifying your genome and crafting better gear are the keys to beat all the horrors waiting for you. Felling plants, digging minerals and killing enemies may drop unique ‘mutated’ materials that can be used, along with T-Energy, to unlock passive skills you can equip, swap anytime in the form of modules. These can be arranged in a limited space, acting as a little Tetris of sorts, and have set bonuses for further specialization.
Paired with gear set bonuses or unique properties, re-rollable buffs, the possible build variety becomes quite wide. To do most of that, plenty of materials will be needed: killing enemies, breeding livestock, digging minerals will all be things you need to do, especially later on, to obtain enough rare materials to keep up with crafting requirements – don’t worry, crops and animals mostly take care of themselves once started.
Combat System & Bosses
The combat is rather straightforward. It uses active skills, ranged and melee weapons as means of offense, depending on your build of choice – skills are acquired only later on from Events, and not unlocked by leveling (there’s no leveling at all, or attributes, in fact). Arguably, fights with normal enemies are one of the weakest components: despite the variety of builds, weapons and skills, most of them play out as a simple trade of blows, without dodging, blocking, parrying or any other skill-based mechanic to make the difference and offer more nuance.
The same can’t be said for bosses, which keep attention high thanks to various phases, and often spam tons of adds for good measure, too. Once a boss is beaten, the next tech level will be unlocked, although all of them can respawn, and you can fight them to get rare drops from their loot pool. Just don’t attempt Tough difficulty if you go solo – really, the bosses become so spongy, lethal and self-healing, you’ll have to grind the hell out of rolls, skills and companions to even make a dent in them.
Other than storing items in chests (that can’t be labeled, which is annoying), your base will be useful for two other things: farming and being a Bed & Breakfast. Yeah that’s right: other than crops and cattle, useful to get ingredients to cook meals, but also gene-altering ingredients and crafting materials, you can also recover people in distress. They’ll live in your base, use the facilities you make for them, and pay you a literal rent. They won’t defend it, obey your commands, and just eat, sleep and bathe in saunas all the time. But those bucks are great, in fact, citizens are the best source of income long-term.
Invasions & Events
If you enable them, Invasions will happen regularly based on the highest depth you reach. Enemies will build outposts near your base, then attack you periodically, until you manage to demolish their base – they will try to break down doors, enter and make a mess of things, so fending them off becomes a regular nuisance, that however awards materials and items. Event Portals are found a few biomes in, they award currency bundles, unique skills or rare pets with often strong passives – definitely worth it. Random spawns like abandoned facilities, cities and other areas may also happen, often they have their own kinds of enemies and rewards to match, adding more to the exploration part.
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