I’m going to be completely honest, I didn’t get very far into Beraltors. I was planning to complete the first area this evening but simply couldn’t bring myself to play any more of it after the first two to three hours of my playtime. This is not to say that Beraltors is bad per say, just that it’s not for me. Which is disappointing, cause I really thought it would be.
Beraltors’ trailer was all it took to get me intrigued. While the art style appeared absurd and the comedy was bizarre, that wasn’t a turn-off for me personally. I’ve never been one to judge a game by its graphics, and the hand-drawn scribbles do have a certain charm to them. Plus, a blend of Metroidvania and Pokemon sounded like it should be right up my alley, but the execution just… I’m getting ahead of myself.
I’d love to explain the story to you in great detail, but it isn’t very complex and kinda forgettable. You play as some guy called Vidda, who leads around a posse of Beraltors in the tutorial until he promptly gets killed in the opening cutscene and then revived as a Beraltor himself. With no memories to go off of, and a trusty sidekick at his side, as most sidekicks are, he sets off on a quest to find his dad to give him hugs. Seriously, that’s the goal, and it’s the one thing I’m certain of in this bizarre plot, as it’s constantly brought up as you progress. And there’s your setup, have fun.
Fun in this case being platforming, leveling up, and generally getting from point A to B. Early on you unlock the ability to recruit new Beraltors and play as them. In case it’s not obvious, Beraltors are the creatures inhabiting this land. Each Beraltor has its own stats, attacks, and characteristics. As an example, earth Beraltors are immune to spikes. Oh, and of course there are type advantages made obvious when attacks are either “cool” or “lame” when they hit. Cause they can attack too… In up to eight different ways… Jesus, I didn’t realise just how much there was to keep track of till writing this, but there is a LOT.
OK, I’m gonna go through things I like before I list the things that I really, really didn’t. First, the sense of humour and writing are great. I’d find myself smiling and laughing out loud during some of the bizarre exchanges the characters have, especially the ones where Vidda rambles on about fluffiness and hugs. He is the most lighthearted guy in the world and I love him. I also appreciated that the world is very expansive and full of alternate routes and secret Beraltors to find, even if they’re usually at dead ends requiring back-tracking afterwards. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, I can’t think of anything else… Deep breath time, I’m going into the dislikes now.
Beraltors is a barrage on the senses and a test of sheer willpower to play. So much happens on screen with you and several other creatures all attacking at once that it’s impossible to follow most of the time. The controls on keyboard feel weird – even when remapped to more comfortable positions – and a gamepad controller works, but the jumping feels delayed when using it, for some reason, and that is annoying as hell in a platformer. Some Beraltor hit-boxes don’t interact with the world properly, their feet will fall through platforms or they simply won’t collect pick-ups cause they’re too tall. You have to go through the pause menu to see the map when there are literally dozens of keys you could bind to a quick-map button. The map shows horizontal exits but NOT vertical ones. You have to internalise the type advantages knowledge cause nowhere does it list them for you to remind yourself before entering an area. Death makes you lose resources or at least I think it does, I never knew how much I had in the first place cause I’d have to go through the pause menu AGAIN to look at them. You can warp back to your last save point but there’s no fast travel to a save point of your choosing, unless that’s unlocked later, but that would genuinely surprise me. There are up to eight different attacks per Beraltor and you have to memorise what they do, also good luck getting them to land when they usually take several seconds to launch in the first place. Oh, and the main menu just says “Beraltors” over and over and it gets old very fast. And why is the world in colour but not the Beraltors!? It’d make so much more sense to me if they had colour to distinguish them from the world and each other, or even indicate typing as well, but instead we get a great coloured backdrop and lots of similarly coloured images jumping around each other.
If that paragraph seemed haphazard, overwhelming, and difficult to process to you, congratulations. You now know exactly how I found Beraltors to be.
I don’t want to discourage the creator of Beraltors, as I’m aware this is their first video game and one that took four years to make at that, but I have to be honest, I didn’t enjoy it that much. It wasn’t all bad, but there were too many elements in there that amounted to frustration and annoyance throughout my playtime. Due credit to them for making a unique game of this scale single-handedly, but I feel like it’d greatly benefit from a significant amount of play-testing and U.I. improvements. In this day and age of patches, I hope they’ll do something to improve the experience, as in its current state, it just grows stale too quickly to warrant me pushing through the jank and unrefined nature of the game. If there’s a big patch, I’ll gladly give Beraltors a second chance, but till then I’m left with a rose that’s mostly obscured by thorns. Except the rose is something weird like a hotdog, and the thorns are still thorns.
Beraltors was developed by Phair Games
Point of Sale: Steam
$8: That’s only like, $0.11 per Beraltor!
A review copy was provided by the developer.
SteviePatamon has awarded Beraltors a hug, but not the seal.