Razed is a time-trial platformer which is set in a colourful world where the main character must work through the challenges set out by “The Developer” to stop him from achieving world annihilation.
It becomes immediately obvious when starting the first level that the main selling point of Razed is leader boards. A timer appears at the top of the screen and the level design reflects traditional speed runner environments; jumps, obstacles and trampolines all feature within the first few worlds. Beating personal bests and becoming number one in a zone will be the main goal for players who stick around after playing the campaign. While there is little in the way of backstory “The Developer” uses humorous dialogue to intimidate the player when he shows up at the boss stages at the end of every world stage. After beating these stages, you will progress into another world phase which boasts their own mechanics and separate gameplay style. Each world has a total of ten levels and concludes with a boss stage.
Many of the levels are challenging with resource retention being a major part of the skill gap. Collecting gems helps to quickly regenerate stamina, however missing any of the gems will often result in a quick demise and a respawn. Ability upgrades can help with management but failure to pay attention to which skills you use and when you use them will determine how fast your run is.
A problem which I had with the game was that the controls defaulted to arrow keys which felt uncomfortable and there was no obvious way to change the key binds. Menus feel awkward, requiring the use of x and z to navigate the menus. At times I also felt that the camera movement wasn’t responsive enough for the fluidity of gameplay, this was rare but when it did happen, failure quickly followed when I felt my movement would otherwise have aligned with success.
The games aesthetics revolve around a neon theme which sets the scene as a future dystopia. The backgrounds are very simplistic, but this simplicity allows the player to focus on the action. Assets are blocky with some additional detail added to passive objects to fill in the environment. Particle effects reveal themselves through explosions and abilities. Dynamic objects such as moving platforms and breakable floors were common when trying to navigate through the jumping puzzles on the way to the completion point.
The UI is simplistic with valuable information easily tracked and blends in well with the environment. Paths and dangers highlighted clearly to keep track of progression, even when making quick adjustments to your route. The lack of detail makes resetting to the beginning of a level seamless.
The music in the game is repetitive but it fits with the speed runner genre and helped me with timing and fluidity. The fast-paced tempo helps keep you motivated to push your time up.
Overall, I felt that Razed was a good game which played well and kept my interest throughout my review time. There were some features missing which I would have liked for quality of life purposes, but the gameplay was solid. Although the game is short (60 levels) in its current state, I feel that a completionist or competitively driven player could sink many hours into it. I would have liked to have seen a better story but the game is what it is. For an indie game and at a cheap price I would recommend picking this up and playing through the campaign, even if only once to appreciate the humour and the campaign or even the artwork displayed all around the environment.
REVIEW CODE: A FREE PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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