City of Brass review for PS4, Xbox One

Platform: PS4
Also On: PC, Xbox One
Publisher: Uppercut Games
Developer: Uppercut Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Unless you?re the kind of person who enjoys games that are punishingly hard, the first thing you?ll want to do after booting up City of Brass is changing the difficulty settings — or, as it?s called here, changing your burdens and blessings. I made the mistake of not doing that on my first few playthroughs, and I found that, without those blessings, the game was kicking my butt

Admittedly, I may have gone a little overboard with the blessings. No time limit? I do like taking my time and exploring! Fewer traps? These floors do have a tendency of hiding pits full of spikes! More health? I?ll never say no to that! It?s likely you can get by with only a couple of the blessings, rather than all of them, but unless you?re fond of skeleton monsters bursting out of nowhere, killing you almost immediately, and causing you to lose your progress, you?ll want at least a couple.

Mind you, I wouldn?t say that the blessings make City of Brass fun, necessarily — just that they make it a lot more playable. And once you play it, you?ll find that the game is essentially a first-person roguelike dungeon crawler, only with a vaguely Middle Eastern feel rather than knights and murky castles and whatnot.

Is this change for the better? Not really. It?s not for worse either, though. It?s just different. At first it does feel kind of cool to be hacking your sword through skeletons and setting off fire bombs as you sneak through the city, looking for exits into the next section. In some respects, it almost feels like a slightly better version of Sorcery, the old PS3 game that was supposed to be PlayStation Move?s killer app. Before long, though, the novelty wears off, and you?re left with…well, this.

And this is perfectly alright — provided, again, that you?re willing to play around with the difficulty. In fact, that Sorcery comparison feels more appropriate the more I think about it, because City of Brass also feels more like a really well-made tech demo than a full-on game. The action here gets pretty repetitive fairly quickly, leaving you feeling like a lot more could have been done. Hopefully City of Brass? developers take what they learned from this and pour their energies into a well-made sequel, because as it is, this game just feels kind of lacking.

Uppercut Games provided us with a City of Brass PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: C+