“Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.” – Socrates
Developer: ITEM 42
Released: 2nd February 2023
Price: € 19.99
- Solid visual design of locations, enemies and bosses. Perish delivers quality graphics and spectacular landscapes on a regular basis.
- Great amounts of secret collectables, lore and even a secret ending are available for those willing to search every corner of the tumultuous path ahead of them.
- Gunplay feels satisfying and weighty, with enemies reacting, stumbling, dodging and flinching from heavier hits; recoil on guns is rather punishing in most cases.
- Progression feels satisfying, with a good amount of diverse weapons and accessories to unlock and upgrade.
- Significant lack of variety for a Roguelite. Levels have, at best, only a few variations – or none at all in some cases – and no modifiers / diverse layouts / other variables at all.
- Item balance issues. The whole melee roster is simply a downgrade from ranged weapons, a specific consumable rules above all others, and many cards are useless gimmicks.
- Generally too easy even on higher difficulty settings. Bosses are slow, predictable and barely evolve their patterns, while enemies can be kited with impunity. Co-op only aggravates the issues despite the difficulty scaling.
- Low enemy variety: I counted about a dozen total variations, with the later levels simply repurposing early enemies, bumping up their HP instead of making new ones.
- Having only one weapon equipable at one time is a bizarre design choice that hinders the already less-than-stellar build variety possibilities, and increases the monotony.
Bugs & Issues
- In multiplayer, ‘reach airlock’ countdown may appear at the wrong time.
- Vsync doesn’t work, I had to force it from the driver panel to make it right.
- No pause in solo matches: time will still flow while menus are open (?!).
- 32GB RAM
Content & Replay Value
If you just want to reach the end, about 4-6 hours will be enough to get gear decent enough to beat the game. If instead you want to also find all secrets, upgrade everything and clear the secret ending, several more hours will add to the count. For its genre, the replay value is low.
Is It Worth Buying?
No. The price of 20€ may be fine for the ‘100%’ content clearing time, however, the numerous issues and lack of variety make Perish a mediocre roguelite not worth your time.
A good-looking but barely-exciting roguelite FPS that builds its gameplay foundations on several bizarre design decisions and low variety – balance issues deliver the final blow.
Perish – In-Depth Analysis
Setting & Writing
Perish takes place in the Greek purgatory, between Elysium (Heaven) and Tartaros (Hell). As a penitent soul, you’re tasked with the (theoretically) nigh-impossible task of surviving the path that leads to King Minos, the only one powerful enough to grant you a ticket to eternal peace. All locations are derived from one or another Greek mythos, be they the forges of Hephaestus or pagan blood cult temples. Each level is detailed and well-realized, the same goes for enemy models and effects.
The Codex will give you all the info about each monstrosity and locale you’ll encounter, but for that you’ll have to find the endless lore pieces scattered in the most remote corners of each level. If you’re into history and mythology, you may even find this read interesting. Generally, the writing is of acceptable quality, with wording and expressions believable for the ancient times it’s set in, but it doesn’t really deliver a hooking or exciting story.
Exploration & Secrets
In general, levels have multiple ways to reach the ending, but only one of them will be open at a time depending on the objective at hand, selected from a small random roster each time. The level design, barring some exceptions, generally is flat and doesn’t make room for many side areas or verticality – it’s all about finding the target as soon as possible and getting out; Perish is a game built for speed and not wasting time.
There are no proper secrets that give extras in any level, exceptions made for Weapon Crates (not really secret in most cases), collectables and certain ‘fragments’ you will need for the secret ending. There’s no map, but the layouts are simple and straightforward enough to not get lost – plus a convenient yellow beacon will guide you most of the time. After each main boss an item will be granted to skip the related chapter (if you want to) and start further down the road to Minos.
Combat System & Bosses
Core of the experience, combat is straightforward but engaging. Your penitent will be able to equip one melee or ranged weapon with unlimited ammo at any time, ranging from a humble revolver to powerful godly weapons like Apollo’s Bow or Zeus’ Conduit gloves. Each tool has two upgrades, unlockable by beating the related challenge which usually entails killing specific enemies in specific ways a number of times. Speaking of enemies, your foes will range from disgruntled spirits of fallen heroes to mythical monstrosities like Minotaurs or Lamias (no, not the cute anime ones). Your daggers and kicks, always available and with minimal cooldown, will be precious allies in dropping and staggering enemies to make you gain time in a pinch.
The combat experience can be heavily-influenced by cards, dropped at the end of each level and granting passive boons, and also equipped Rings and Crowns, also giving passive modifiers that can seriously make the difference. Your trusty consumable also can save your rear in a pinch (especially the Relentless Rage one, massively overpowered with its 10 seconds invincibility).
There are three mini-bosses and four regular ones. All have different attack patterns and weak spots, but their lethal fault is being incredibly slow and easy to dodge even on the harder settings. Your penitent will simply be too quick on his feet, dashing all around them while shooting endlessly. Unless you melee a boss, then it’s your (second) funeral, given you only have a maximum of 6HP; restored by one at a safe room, and when they drop to zero it’s game over.
Character Progression & Unlocks
After each run, be it by death or willing return to the Pantheon (main hub), you’ll bank some Danake (currency) used to unlock more weapons, consumables, rings and crowns from the local undead priestess. Most of the items will only be available for purchase after reaching a specific level, completing optional ‘global’ challenges (Rites) or finding the associated weapon crate. You’ll have to grind some runs for the higher tier stuff, not fundamental, as the relatively simple assault rifle along with some upgrades can definitely carry you to the end on high difficulty.
Quests & Objectives
In each level a specific objective, like ‘destroy this’ or ‘escort that moving thing’ will be present. There’s not much variety, with only around three variations per level (or even none), no modifiers and no other random variables to spice up things. Every time it will be the same level, with the same layout, same enemies and one of three objectives. Completing the task will open the door to the next stage, one card to select and a small amount of currency.