It’s been over two years since Nick first previewed Mana Spark. Sure you still have plenty of dungeon exploration to commit to and it still is an action-roguelike RPG, but other than that the game seems all the more certain of what it wants to deliver.
The most obvious of these is a DEEP COMBAT experience that it emphasizes on every marketing blurb; what’s meant to make combat unique is the fact that Mana Spark’s enemies are dreadfully smart to the point that they’re capable of planning and collaborating among themselves on ways to kill you.
When BEHEMUTT says collaborating, I’m tempted to think of the enemy AI sitting behind a desk, sipping brew and guffawing as they plot my demise prior to entering an in-game room. This is not the case, clarifies the developer but rather, the enemies here are self-conscious and aware of their mates.
Things like clever path finding and group actions on the part of these enemies are purposed to make you feel GREAT when you slay a baddie.
Each has its own skills and behavioral patterns too, meaning you’ll be spending quite a bit of energy studying their weaknesses and prowess as they work together, especially when all you have to rely on is a trusty bow and a handful of dodging skills.
No wonder Nick called even the two-year old build of the game hard but yes, the premise of it all being that humanity is meant to be at a disadvantage here. The rest of the world’s species live off Mana and are hence healthy, while we bozos get none of that as we’re exposed to massacres, slavery, kidnappings and a general inability to do anything about it.
Meanwhile each procedurally generated dungeon is hand-crafted to make the most of combat, and dare I say that the environments seem wonderfully colored and lit despite the darkness. Mana Spark will also allow players to gradually build their own encampments over the course of gameplay, which will house equipment, discoveries and other unlockable content for subsequent runs.
The developer is also keen on doing backtracking differently it appears, by incorporating some friendly mini-maps that make backtracking and item discovery less mundane.
Now on Steam with a release date of September 27th, Mana Spark will be BEHEMUTT’s first commercial release with intent of showcasing its advanced AI, fluid animation and player skill design expertise. Here’s its TigSource and Gamejolt logs if you’re keen on some pre-release backtracking yourselves.