The debate of challenge over accessibility is one that there’s been plenty of discussion over lately in no small part to the “Souls-like” genre’s hefty spike in popularity. While some games rigidly stick to the formula and just make things as meticulous and challenging as they can, there are a few outliers that want to give players a chance to figure out what works best for them. Take for example, the upcoming pixel-feast for the eyes that is No Place for Bravery, which is looking to offer a suite of options for would-be warriors. I got a brief hands-on demo with a PC build of the game while at GDC 2022 so I could see if I had what it takes to survive the harsh world of Dewr.
Before diving into the action, players will get to select a number of custom options to help cater their experience. Beyond difficulty options, which are uncommon enough in a Souls-like game, players will be able to choose things like how much overall health or strength they have. I’m sure folks will have their own opinion on such mechanics in a game like this, but personally, I’m a more-options-the-merrier kind of person myself, so for me it was a welcome addition.
Once the bars have been set, players will dive into the post-apocalyptic world of Dewr: A land of which its epicness is displayed in stunning pixelated glory. Some of the more impressive scenes I witnessed during my demo included a far-off town that was nestled in the decaying skeleton of a giant, a massive sword that must’ve been wielded by one of these long-dead giants, and even a nice combo of a giant sword with a skull impaled on it that served as a bridge. Even in my brief time with No Place for Bravery there was no short supply of impressive backdrops.
During their adventure, players will take on the role of Thorn, a retired warrior who seems more interested in raising their adopted son, Phid, than the woes of a decaying world. Still, it would seem the world if not done with Thorn and the pair soon find themselves thrown headfirst into adventure. The game’s combat takes place on an overworld map similar to the classic Zelda titles of yesteryear. Thorn will initially come equipped with a sword and shield as well as a dodge roll, but will quickly add a rock-smashing battle hammer to their arsenal as well as a few other tricks along the way. The combat itself is strikingly gory in a way I didn’t expect and players can even pull brutal finishing moves for some extra visceral goodness.
While my time with No Place for Bravery was brief it left a striking impression on me. The game’s visuals and gameplay mechanics gave off a bit of a Children of Morta vibe and the plot had a hint of God of War (2018) to its flavor. Right now it’s looking like quite the retro-inspired masterpiece, but we’ll have to wait until No Place for Bravery comes out later this year to find out if it ends up being approachable Souls-like adventure with even more to offer than meets the eye when it launches on Switch and PC.