Developer: Bas Makes Games
Released: In Development
This game should not be played by individuals with triggers to PTSD, gore, depression and suicidal thoughts. For the sake of transparency, I know the developer of the game.
The Outbreak Story is an in-development supernatural action platformer, chronicling the story of Noah and his encounters with malignant, evil beings known as Wraiths. Recruited by the Special Paranormal Defence Forces (SPDF), a secret organization specialized in containing and researching extraordinary objects, the young sixteen-year-old follows the footsteps of his father, a former SPDF agent who died in mysterious circumstances.
After a long and arduous development phase, the game’s demo is now available to play, giving players a good look at what they can expect from the full game! This review covers version 0.2.0.
The Outbreak Story mixes elements typically associated with RPG games such as items, upgradable equipment, party members, and experience mechanics, with hack-and-slash gameplay. You can control Noah, whose arsenal includes his father’s dual pistols and cleaver, while the rest of your party are controlled by CPUs in a similar vein to Final Fantasy XIII. Although the combat shows promise, the strength and speed of Noah’s cleaver, along with its ability to stunlock enemies, means that the game is rarely challenging.
The enemies, when given a chance to attack, tend to hit hard, causing you to lose measurable chunks of your health. Although it’s easy to dodge their attacks, it’s just as easy to get too greedy, opening yourself for a retaliatory attack. Items such as potions along with defensive equipment will help turn around sour situations before your party members are knocked out, but especially Noah.
Since there is a lot going on when fighting, the game includes a selection of accessibility features, such as highlights for enemies, Noah, other party members and more, in addition to disabling flashing lights and screen shakes. Work on improving accessibility is ongoing and more features are still being added, such as colored highlights for colorblind players.
Narrative and Styling
Although the Outbreak Story has a slow-paced start (for example, two of your first assignments at SPDF are similar in nature), I enjoyed the optional background details you could find by exploring the world. Especially the SPDF itself and the “subjects” available once you gain a higher security clearance in the facility Noah works at, both of which directly inspired by the SCP Foundation.
The game has a detailed pixel art that is used for both its expressive character portraits, and the muted, gloomy environments that the game takes place in, which I found to be a strong point for The Outbreak Story. The animation is extremely fluid as well, making fights in general more satisfying. Musically speaking, the tracks (composed by Cocoshii, NemesisTheory and DJGenericName) are always fitting to the situation they play in. For example, the overworld theme is calm and melancholic, while the SPDF theme gives science-lab vibes. I’m a fan of the main menu music though, with its slow-pacing and the piano.
Although the demo is really rough around the edges when it comes to the story’s pacing and gameplay balance, I’d still recommend checking out The Outbreak Story. The story’s dark themes, the excellent art style and accessibility features make the game worth a play. Plus, the developer is constantly posting developments and status updates on the game’s blog!