Hearing tales of a lost, cursed city made you curious as a child, leaving you wanting to explore it in person. City of Brass is a game in which you are tasked with this, finding your way around a city where every area changes. The procedural nature of the game makes every playthrough different. Combine this with a myriad of traps around each corner, and you find yourself in this cursed city. The team is made up of former Irrational Games (Bioshock) members. UpperCut Games is out to make it one of the most unique gaming experiences. Every attack is different from the last, ripping swords out of enemies’ hands with your whip to throwing oil jars.
The combat in City of Brass is inspired by the Bioshock series, with the intention to stun and then attack. Being able to stun enemies and then pull them closer in an instant feels phenomenal. Most of the encounters are spontaneous due to the procedural nature of the title, The whip is in your left hand, and it is something which you slowly trust more and more. It initially feels strange, but you slowly begin to get a feel for each action. In the other hand, you have a sword. There is no difficulty in it, but the timing is crucial to use with the whip. Landing these combos is one of the most rewarding feelings recently in gaming. One of the key points in the combat is this chaining of stun, pull, and swing. It’s about fluidity and nailing the enemy at just the right time
When I was speaking with Andrew James, the Director of the game, he noted of the inspirations of the game. One team member’s child was reading One Thousand and One Nights. This team member presented this to the team as the perfect locale for the game. And how not a lot of games have settings in these regions. Wanting this location to stand out was one of the goals it seems, and it certainly does.
Once in the environment, you have the ability to pick up gold objects which in turn works as a form of currency. Collecting enough of this gold will grant you the option to shop at a genie. Once you find these shops, you have the option to grant a wish. What this does is grant you more powerful weapons, but at the same, the genies can come back and attack. This is something which presents a challenge and has the ability to make your run significantly harder.
Another of the more interesting aspects of the game is the type it is. The best way to describe the game is a first-person roguelike, allowing for each environment to be different from the last. Truly making a unique experience on each playthrough, and this slow mastering can you make either brisk through certain areas or simply rush through them without exploring the side streets. This is a question which would run through my mind during my time with the game. But this is something which can be helpful in determining how you would want to do a specific run.
One of the most stand-out things, when I was talking to Andrew, was how he talked about how speedrunning has helped the team develop the game. Seeing that community continuously break that game allowed them to make a better product. Listening to how helpful a specific community can help the development of a small game like this. This was really insightful and how these two can come together and see the fruits of their labor together.
City of Brass is set for release on May 4th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam.