Over the years I’ve developed quite a taste for roguelike/rogue-lites, the ever-changing gameplay experience really scratches an itch that younger me could never quite reach. As a 30-year-old man, I’ve played many… MANY games, probably way too much for it to be a healthy habit at this point, but THESE games always get me coming back. In more recent memory I’ve enjoyed playing The Binding of Isaac and Enter the Gungeon, two fantastic games that I could MORE than recommend to anybody, although the theming of The Binding of Isaac is a little weird. In that case, where does PositronX stack up amongst names like this?
For a little bit of context, PositronX is a “futuristic rogue-lite FPS” and, I mean that description is pretty accurate. I’ll give them that. In a nutshell, the FPS aspect of the game feels like I’m playing Doom, which in my opinion is pretty great. So Doom with rogue-lite aspects? I’m in, absolutely. Let’s delve into it a little more!
If you’re not familiar with what a roguelike/rogue-lite is, allow me to explain. Roguelikes are RPGs that have procedurally generated gameplay, typically some kind of dungeon crawl featuring turn-based combat or perma-death mechanics, more focused in a fantasy environment, where a rogue-LITE is a game that takes certain elements from roguelikes, so the procedurally generated gameplay but adds it into more complex games, so bullet hell games, FPS games etc. In this case, PositronX is the rogue-lite.
What does procedurally generated gameplay mean? Yeah no worries, I heard you in the back there. Randomised! That’s basically it. You’ll find when you smash your way through a roguelike/rogue-lite that almost no two runs will be identical, you’ll find different room sequences, you’ll be offered different loot and you’ll fight different bosses at the end of each level, that last one is of course based on whether the developers intended it this way or not. You’ll have an ever-changing landscape, that’s why grown-up Stubat who still struggles with a poor attention span sinks loads of hours into these games, they’re ALWAYS different!
With PositronX I’ve had a mostly positive experience, the gameplay is super fast paced, as previously mentioned it plays a LOT like Doom, depending on who you are you may love or hate this, I adore it. It’s chaotic, in a good way. Every room you walk into you’ll have a set amount of enemies to demolish before you move on in your quest to, erm, kill everything I guess? We’ll go with that.
Once you clear out a room a chest will spawn, in that chest, you’ll have varying loot, from new guns to ‘implants’ and buffs. In terms of guns, there are plenty to choose from,, I’ve had the most fun playing with the Shotgun, in shooters like this you really can’t go wrong with a shotgun, 6 enemies stood in your face? That spread will do bits. I’ve also really enjoyed the Rocket Launcher, because explosions, what more do you want?
Next, you’ve got the ‘Implants’ these will be your active skills, I often forgot to use these but thankfully, the one I always remembered to use was the self-heal which came in clutch on MANY occasions. Again however there are plenty of different Implants to choose from, but it will all depend on what you get offered at the end of each room! I got to play with the slow time mechanic, I played with a little drone that would seek out enemies and go bang, yay more explosions and also an “AOE” healing field, that was kind of interesting.
Given the way PositronX plays, I feel like anybody could pick up PositronX and have a good time, however, there is a definite spike in difficulty after every floor. So if you’re wanting to get the most out of this game, it’ll be worth focusing a little bit of extra time perhaps to, as they say, get good.
It took me a few runs to get to grips with the pace of it and I did have to massively crank down the sensitivity but once I did I was there, in the groove. I pushed my way through the first stage, a few times! Fought two different bosses at the end of these runs and then felt the burn once I got to stage two! It really did ramp up the difficulty, enemies had more health, the enemies in question were more varied and even if they were the “same” enemies, they had different gimmicks.
These little guys, they’re adorable, but don’t get too close ‘cause they will blow your legs off, seriously. The second stage has a blue variant of these guys, still adorable, more health, more damage and MORE of them, grouped together. But while on stage 1 they’re a big focus and they’ll actually be a real problem, in this stage, you’re getting battered by teleporting robots with shotguns or rocket launchers WHILE these things are looking to take out your entire lower body because why the hell not?! THEN IN STAGE 3, they leave behind a patch of flames on the floor behind them, because why not make it more hectic right?
I have one quick point to make before I get to the negatives, the game has a great soundtrack. When I said the game plays like Doom, it sounds like it too. The music is a great metal symphony, you absolutely love to hear it.
Now the game isn’t without its flaws, I feel like the loading screens could’ve maybe been a little more hidden? Instead, it just shows up a picture between every single new room which admittedly only lasts a couple of seconds but it could’ve been done better, the tutorial at the beginning is good enough but I think maybe having a little more information available on some of the early game implants and weapons would’ve been nice.
From what I can tell after putting a few hours into it there doesn’t SEEM to be a story? I may be wrong there as I haven’t managed to work my way through every stage yet, did I mention it’s somewhat difficult?
The difficulty isn’t a bad thing, by the way, quite the opposite, just some of the other games I’ve played from this genre recently still had an underlying story, even if it was super weird like The Binding of Isaac, not that it NEEDS a story necessarily but it would be nice and I’d definitely feel more drawn into the game world itself. These things are only small problems definitely, but hey, gotta point out when something isn’t perfect right?
PositronX overall thoughts
So time for my final thoughts. I think there’s a LOT of gameplay in PositronX, as with all rogue-lites. If you like mad games that will keep you guessing, then you’ll like this. It’s difficult in all the right ways, the varying gameplay is great and it’s pretty appealing graphically with it’s a strange mix of cell shading and a more modern AAA styling and as I briefly mentioned the soundtrack slaps.
Overall I think I could recommend PositronX. Are there “better” roguelike/rouge-lites out there? Probably, of course, that’s all a matter of opinion. Is £17.99 a bit steep for this game? Maybe, depends how much you get out of it. 100% I’d recommend picking this up in a sale, if you’re looking at its full price, it would come down to your own personal preferences.
PositronX is a solid 8/10 and I think Scorpius Games have done a really good job with it. Well done guys, I look forward to seeing more from you!