I have always been a sucker for roguelites. I think it's the lack of longevity of a playthrough that makes me like them so much. Having that feeling of knowing if I fail, I start from the beginning, it's both exhilarating and refreshing. When I first saw PositronX, I wasn't all that sure of what it was, however, after spending some time with the title developed by Scorpius Games, I can say I am surprised by how it feels to play.
PositronX is a roguelite FPS, where you play as an autonomous AI machine that must clear out rooms, filled with robotic enemies, in order to expand your arsenal and unlock upgrades. With the way the title is designed, as a very fast-paced game, with an almost arena shooter feeling, PositronX gives off a roguelite Doom vibe. The gunplay and gameplay mechanics are very tight, making for an experience that is incredibly smooth and exciting to play.
Considering a few days ago I had heard very little about this title, its stellar FPS system is quite surprising, because this game genuinely does feel fantastic to play. Whether or not you focus on the movement systems that allow for wall jumping and fluid gameplay, or simply look at the shooting mechanics: from a base standpoint, this is a pretty solid roguelite game.
To keep playthroughs feeling unique, there are a bunch of options to change the class type of your character, as well as a host of weaponry to use to scrap some metal. The different character classes largely revolve around increasing and lowering your available health pool, or the same sort of circumstances with movement speed. Each character does come with a different starting weapon and a unique ability as well, which could play into your decision of picking them.
For example, the Electron class (a.k.a. The Light Trickster) has 20 less available health but 15 more movement speed than the starting base class (which sits at 100 health and 100 movement speed). Matching this with its Flare Gun starting weapon and its ability to slow enemies makes for a class that is designed to never stop moving, pumping out damage along the way. Other classes can start with higher base health, lower movement speed, and a shotgun, meaning you will take damage more often but are much more capable of dealing with it.
As for the types of foes you face, it's difficult to describe them other than various robotic creatures. Some will resemble humanoid figures, wielding shields and firearms, others can be metallic scorpions who will try to jab you with their stingers, there are even flying enemies who zip around the battlefield. The point is, due to most not exactly having unique combat moves to worry about, all you should be concerned about is blowing them to smithereens as fast as possible, or at least before they do the same to you.
There are also boss encounters, but considering they are just larger models of regular enemies, with a much bigger health pool, there isn't a whole lot to really dive into there.
For every room you clear, you will be rewarded with one chest, providing an upgrade for the run, out of a selection of three. Known as Augments, these could be anything from a new weapon, enhancements to your weapons, buffs to your abilities, or generic upgrades such as damage mitigation or better loot opportunities. If you want your playthrough to last and intend to clear as much as possible during a run, then choosing the correct Augment to suit your playstyle is absolutely crucial.
One of the more mundane aspects of this game is the level design. Sure, each room has a unique design and as far as I'm aware, every run seems to feature randomly generated maps, but the maps are still pretty dull. Most of what you do occurs in a random sci-fi room, where there might be some elevation, but it largely doesn't ask you to leave the horizontal plain. The big problem comes in the loading screens, which are very, very frequent. You might assume that each floor or map requires a loading screen, but unfortunately, it's every room. Essentially, you enter a room, clear it of enemies, grab the loot, leave the room, loading screen, repeat. It really hurts the immersion and considering there aren't all that many enemies in each room, loading screens tend to pop up every two minutes or so, and that might be being generous.
On the polar opposite side, the soundtrack is pretty gnarly and coupled with the gunplay and movement mechanics, this is where you can really feel the influence of Doom creeping in. The metal rock music matched with the speed and quite hardcore gameplay makes PositronX an absolute blast to play when you get past the intrusive loading screens. This is the part that really surprised me because it genuinely does feel like an early version of Doom, set in a futuristic, less demonic world. It even has plenty of lava to reflect the Doom appearance even more!
Looking at it as a whole, PositronX is a reasonable roguelite. The gunplay and base mechanics all feel great to play around with, in fact, it's some of the most fluid gameplay I've experienced - so credit there. However, the enemies get boring quickly, the level design is dull and the loading screens are frustrating to deal with, and they severely hurt the ability to enjoy this game. That's even when counting the great soundtrack, multiple playable classes, and plenty of unique weapon types, each of which brings something new to the table. To really boil it down, if you like fluid movement systems and shooting robots? Then, PositronX is probably right up your alley.
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