Here’s a No Place For Bravery preview based on the playable demo currently available on Steam. If you’ve got some free time and space to play, give it’ll give most pacificists a new-found bloodthirst.
This game is gory, gratuitous pools of blood, dismemberings and calculated executions for when your foes drop to their knees. Slice them in half with your sword, or pummel them with an oversized hammer; there’s no wooing here.
No Place For Bravery Preview – Steam via PC
When the screenshots were first released for No Place For Bravery, I knew it had to be a game to put on the wishlist. A pixel art aesthetic that appears to be the fusion of the classic manga Berserk and the presentation of ITTA, but with the volume turned up.
And instead of measuring the volume with dB, let’s use blood.
You play Thorn, a hulking beast of a man that would eat a boar between meals, he’s accompanied by his daughter Leaf in a very volatile environment. Fortunately, he can handle himself, but when Leaf is kidnapped, he’ll do anything to get her back.
There are no deals with the devil; he simply wanders the land obliterating hostiles that dare to cross his path. No Place For Bravery is a combat-focused game so expect a little bit of button bashing in places, but the game doesn’t rely upon it.
Implementing the generic gauge system of health and stamina, Thorn also has a poise-like gauge, as do some of the bulkier enemies. If you attempt to apply the defence play and shield/parry attacks, you’ll eventually be exposed for attack. Again, this works both ways, and you can finally wear your opponent down too.
The immediate plan would be to continually attack them, sacrificing your stamina, leaving you wide open, but the game puts a lot of trust into its parrying system. Time your parry and you can see the enemy poise gauge cut in half in one deflection. Repeat this a couple of times, and it’s easy to slay them.
Parry The Weight On Your Shoulders
However, in practice, this is super hard. The timing is critical, and I’m relatively confident that the lag I experienced wasn’t my machine, but the gameplay as Thorn was fractionally hesitant to deflect. Admittedly, there was a fair amount of times I didn’t react in time, despite the visual clues.
When faced with these problems, if unable to parry enough, I’d grind it out and keep chipping away until their guard drops. Unfortunately, the gauge replenishes, and the risk is too high as enemies hit hard and it’s not worth dragging out the fights: you have to learn the style of play to get anywhere.
Within a short space of time, I encountered what appeared to be the first boss, but it was a curveball as you meet another one shortly afterwards in a new area and it was merely an introduction to more formidable enemies.
Once you get the gist though, these enemies aren’t so hard. Yes, the parrying is hard (in Dark Souls I’d always dodge over parrying), but it’s sometimes the number of enemies or types of enemies that would make it challenging.
In the section after the opening forest area, you’re underground and have to use a dash trick to get over minor gaps. The dash itself doesn’t take you so far, so you have to ensure you are close to the edge before applying or you’ll fall to your death.
This was the first challenge. While dashing, you then have to fight melee-based enemies while archers are repeatedly shooting you from locations you can’t reach unless you dash over each progressive part. Sure, there’s a throwing knife in your inventory, but they’re limited.
In some cases, you can run through without engaging. Still, when you encounter that second boss-like character, avoiding the edges of the platforms and have a melee character chasing you down while you’re deflecting arrows with your shield… well, expect a pretty tough experience.
Pretty Blocks With A Splash Of Red
But it’s all worth it just for the presentation alone. Yes, you could watch a gameplay video and feel safer, but aside from the occasional lag, movement is sleek and executing an enemy when they fall is soooo satisfying.
I’ve commented many times in the reviews here, pixel art is a little overused these days for the sake of it, but the graphics in No Place For Bravery is some of the best I’ve seen for the style. Character animations and their designs are brilliant, and some of the backgrounds are stunning, within the context of this art style.
At the time of writing, there’s no official release date other than sometime in 2021, so while it’s available, download the demo. It’s one of those rare demos that aren’t relegated to the delete pile but one you’ll play again and again, whether it’s for the presentation alone, or to perfect the combat style in preparation for its release.
Also, go check out the official website too. That’s how to create a product landing page.