Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Quarries of Scred

Developer: Hammerspace Games
Publisher: Surprise Attack Games
Steam: Quarries of Scred

Quarries of Scred is an object lesson in greed. The more shiny rocks you collect, the closer you are to certain death. In the game you play a poor, hopeless, soul who has been banished to the quarries to pay for his debt. In the quarries you will find all sorts of randomly generated treasure to collect and spend. There are also many, many dangers, mostly in the form of falling rocks, and some moving enemies. The basic gist of Scred is that it's a puzzle game. A very easy to lose and frustrating puzzle game. As you go about mining and collecting gems and treasure, the quarries will shift depending on your actions. Move the wrong dirt block and suddenly you have a avalanche on your hands. Breach the wrong path and suddenly enemies are swarming all over you. Oh did I mention you die in one hit?

Now I can hear you saying, "Wow, it doesn't look that hard. Just got to pay attention."
You would be correct. However the quarries are sadistic in nature. Rocks block your path and must be navigated or enemies destroyed. Just past that seemingly innocent rock is a mountain of shiny treasure. One that could push your high score or help you win the game. However it hardly is ever innocent. I guess the best thing I could say, is it's easier said then actually done.

Well,  just take a look at one of the quarries. Tell me if that looks easy to navigate.

Yeah, and that is just one quarry. They are randomly generated, multi-layered as well. Sometimes offering even great rewards for going deeper. Now let's pretend after dying 50 times, you get the idea of the game and actually start making a dent into the quarries. (True story on my part.) What does one spend his hard earned cash on? Well the ultimate goal is to leave and win the game. However you can divert some of your cash into buying tech that can give you an advantage. There are lasers, mines, gravity inverters, just to name a few of the items. All of these can be used tactically to turn the tables on quarries.

Suddenly winning the game isn't the main goal anymore. The high-score is your true enemy. Beat the game as fast as possible, with as much loot as possible. This is the staple of the game and what makes it entertaining. You've got to be fast. You've got to be smart. 

From a technical aspect, Quarries of Scred is simply designed but well designed. There are some extra game modes thrown into the mix, ranging from time attack games, to dark mode, where you cannot see anything in the mine and must use flares to light the way. Every day there is a new daily challenge that is shared amongst players to see who can attain the highest score. This must be checked through the website sadly, not through the game. All of these add already to the heap of replay value Scred has. 

The look of Scred is something that may draw you in, if you love retro inspired graphics and minimalistic pixel work. On the other hand, it may turn you off completely from the game. I for one have never been a fan of ASCII artwork, mostly due to personal preference. None of that really matters though because Scred comes with a whole selection of graphical styles and choices. These let you choose what flavor and style you want to play the game in. 

Just as the games visuals are inspired by retro old school games, the music and sound effects are as well. While the music tracks are just fine, there are some sound effects that become grating on the ears as they repeat over and over. Not all the sound effects are bad though. Just expect chiptunes. Any fan of retro games will more then likely be happy with what they hear. If not, blast your own music and mine away.

I haven't met many games that have such a rewarding but harsh nature to them. Scred is incredibly fun and replayable. At the same time though, I raged quit a few times. This was due to my inability and not taking the time to plan out what I was going to do. Completing a quarry or beating the game is a truly satisfying experience. One that is hard to describe after all that frustration. Like I mentioned earlier, the game has oodles of replay value. Albeit it isn't the worlds most groundbreaking, innovating puzzle game, its mechanics work very well. It brings back a retro inspired brutality that games sometimes lack during these times. However the game never cheats you. If you die, it is always your fault. It shows what you did wrong and expects you to do better. Games don't do that these days. Most of the time hand feeding you or giving you a bread crumb trail of what to do next instead.

With a fantastic price, fun gameplay and plenty of mining to be done, bang for your buck is guaranteed with Quarries of Scred. Things like controller support, steam achievements are all cherries on top of this evil sundae. With that I will leave you now with my crowning achievement from this game. After many, many deaths. This was a sweet reward.

  • Choose your own graphical style
  • Very clever for a puzzle game
  • Rewards playing smart
  • Randomly generated deathtrap
  • Very frustrating
  • Sound effects can get annoying
  • No Save&Quit
  • Controls could've been explained better

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