Gloom, because dying once isn’t gloomy enough.
When I first started Gloom, I thought it was going to be just a relaxing style of play–a bit like Burning Daylight.
Little did I know that it’s actually an action roguelike, which I’ve never really been much into, because fast-paced games stress me out. Not only that, but I hate the concept of dying constantly. A reason I haven’t played any Dark Souls or Bloodborne, as of this post.
But, despite dying constantly in this game, it’s interesting that it helps you continue further as well, since you’re learning the enemy’s mechanics.
You just…you know, start out with nothing after dying.
What is this page?
This is an in-depth critique of the game Gloom. I go all in with my review by picking apart the game, piece by piece. By doing this, I try to help not only the devs that created the games, but also future aspiring devs by giving my viewpoint on everything as an avid gamer, but please understand…
There may be spoilers.
Is there a shorter review to read?
Yes. You can find it on Worthy of Me.
I didn’t read the description of the game before I went into it, so going by sights alone, and by what you understand when you enter the game, it seems like you’re in a coma of some sort, though it doesn’t look to be a hospital setting from the looks of it.
Entering into the game itself is the dream you’re having that tends to change itself up every time you’re not capable of getting through an area.
Essentially, a mental battle.
The setting itself, and knowing the information above, it’s quite the gloomy setting. Hence why I thought it was going to be more of a casual stride through the character’s mind rather than an intense battle session.
It makes sense though.
I enjoy how they made the character lying on the bed a silhouette, so we don’t actually know what he looks like, or even his current condition. A morose setting for sure. And the snow outside makes it a lonely winter (possibly) night.
I like how the title of Gloom looks–specifically the first O, though I’m not quite sure why it looks like that. Maybe it involves the end game or something, but it reminds me an awful lot of Grime, when the character absorbs stuff.
Play is an option you’ll be pressing repeatedly during your playthrough.
After you’ve played the game and managed to grab some special items to enhance your playstyle, that specific item will show up in the Necronomicon. It’ll give you a pretty detailed background information regarding the item, and also what it did for you when you chose it.
In the Options, there’s only a handful of things you can adjust, and those include the music as well as in-game sound, whether you want fullscreen or not, your proper screen size, and then your controls, if you want to change them.
I personally haven’t done that, so I don’t know if it’s a matter of switching the skills around or controller/keyboard setup.
Exit if you’ve had enough dying for one session.
There are 36 achievements to achieve.
You are a nameless dreamer, trying to make sense of the mystery that is the Common Dream. You know that deliverance lies within the lost pages of the Necronomicon and in the enigmatic Abyss deep within the Dream. To reach these, however, you must fight through hordes of insane dreamers and eldritch beings, as well as discover your past and the occult history of the Common Dream.
It can take anywhere from 6-10 hours, mainly depending on how good your RNG is and how fast you’re learning the enemy’s moves so you don’t die as often.
Once you get better at the game, you can speedrun it for less than 10 minutes if RNG is in your favor and with enough practice.
I don’t see much of a replay value to this game once it’s completed, unless you didn’t get all the achievements.
It’s action-based because you’re going to be doing a lot of fighting…though I suppose that’s the same with all roguelike/roguelite games? So I’m not sure if it’s even needed to have the action portion of the genre in there.
It’s roguelike due to the permadeath feature and not carrying anything with you upon retrying the game.
Although, you do keep your tokens you acquired (and maybe money?), so maybe this game is labeled wrong in that sense? As far as any weapons you might’ve gotten or abilities you may have snagged, those are no more.
You start from scratch.
The controls in this game are fairly smooth in this game.
When you roll to dodge you get a brief iframes moment where no attacks can hit you, and when you launch an attack you do need to be mindful of the amount of combos you’re going for. This is because you can’t cancel your attack to get out of the way if the enemy is about to use their own attack on you.
Which means the controls are fine, but you need to be mindful of everything around you when choosing how to move and attack.
There’s a whole lot of combat in Gloom, but not always a lot of enemies on the screen–which is a good thing, because sometimes the screens you’re in are fairly small and don’t have room to hold a lot of enemies. As mentioned before, in the combat you’ll want to make use of your roll to evade specific damage, as you can’t crouch mid-attacks and a jump won’t get you over them.
One of the things I don’t like is how they implemented the parry option, which uses a bullet every time you try to parry an attack. Like…why use a bullet for it?
If you happen to parry correctly, you’ll get a shield around you for a short time so no attacks will contact you.
The whole point of this game is to remember how each specific enemy attacks so you have a better chance of getting past them with getting hit as little as possible.
Each area has specific enemies that attack you in specific ways.
There are few interactions in this game, probably to make it as simple as possible.
You can open chests, as well as select specific items for beneficial purposes, and also talk to NPCs you come across (normally at the very beginning of the game).
Your movement is basic–you jump, you roll, and you walk.
You’re not able to backtrack, and in order to progress, you’re always walking to the right side.
You don’t really have abilities in Gloom, aside from the passive abilities you might gain from certain items. Such as one allows orbs of damage to roam around you after killing an enemy. They aren’t exactly something you can control on their own.
When you talk to someone, a speech bubble will appear over their head. Also, don’t forget to speak to them more than once, as the NPCs you meet at the beginning have more than one thing to say.
The graphics have a very simplistic pixel style to them, but the mood of the murky colors and the vague lighting filtering through areas definitely make the game live up to its name, because everything looks and feels very gloomy.
3D graphics are great and all, but pixel games are amazing to look at sometimes, and Gloom is no exception.
Love the background music in this game, as it’s not always the same beat and changes on different occasions.
You’ve got your boss battles which has a bit of an intense, rushed feel to the music. The notes are sped up to make things a bit more chaotic and maybe for you to lose your focus as you listen in on the jams than on your actual gameplay.
In fact, I’d like to say that different boss scenarios have different kinds of fast-paced jams, but maybe it’s more like the ascension battles versus the actual bosses.
Your normal paced gameplay and battles have a mellow style to the music. A low-key intensity, maybe.
The subtle sound effects are you falling from a height to get to the next level and your feet running against the ground.
The more heightened sounds are from your attacks as well as the enemies.
Honestly, that’s it for the sound effects. More than anything, you’ll probably be paying attention to the soundtrack throughout.
Although I hate dying constantly, and the idea of a hard reset every time I die, this game has been a fun one. I didn’t think it was possible, but eventually I learned how to deal with most of the enemies I kept dying to, which led to progression!
This game is all about perseverance, and I’m just a casual gamer that wants casual games.
However, I don’t regret finally installing and giving Gloom a go.
Enter a gloomy setting where you're forced to die in order to understand the mechanics of the game and your enemy's movements so you can counter them. Eventually, you'll wake up. Maybe.