I think we can all agree that at some point we’ve seen a game trailer and thought “WOW! This game looks & sounds amazing! That was my reaction a few months back with Mythforce. The art style was reminiscent of the original He-Man cartoon mixed with the classic arcade game Dragon’s Lair.
The Mythforce theme song that overlayed the trailer is extremely catchy and stuck in my head for days. I did my research and Mythforce sounds like one hell of a roguelite / dungeon crawler. However, while nailing the visual presentation in the trailer the overall game experience feels like something is missing.
Mythforce as mentioned in the opening has a fantastic throwback art design that’s not only in the opening cut-scene but throughout the game. You truly feel like you are in an old He-Man cartoon with the location designs and sound effects. You can play as one of the four following characters which have their own unique skill sets:
- Rico – The Rogue
- Victoria – The Knight
- Hawkins – The Hunter
- Maggie – The Mage
And as well explained in the opening video they are MYTHFORCE!. The team must seek out and destroy the vampire lord, Deadalus while also battling a variety of enemies. These enemies include a multitude of Skelton warriors with various weapons. You can play solo or with 3 other friends. I encountered network connection errors when trying to play on Steam Deck and on PC, however, on Xbox, I was able to link up with randoms with no issue.
This is clearly a game you want to play in co-op for a more enjoyable experience. I am by no means implying the game is not fun solo, but there are times you are roaming around waiting for another wave of enemies to spawn, and having a few friends to chat and dungeon crawl with is never a bad idea. Which brings me to my main complaint with Mythforce.
The written and visual description of Mythforce would make you think the story will be presented in a cartoon-style episodic format. Unfortunately, this is not the case in regards to story build-up, meaning no cut-scene or further dialogue with your team besides the occasional one-liner. This is disappointing considering how amazing the game intro video is.
You will encounter mid-episode boss battles that occur via voice over but it would have been great to see an animated cut-scene similar to the opening trailer. The same goes for the music. While the game sound effects are nailing the nostalgic vibes of 80s cartoons, the overall music excluding the trailer Mythforce theme song is pretty generic.
Now some may say “Adam, it’s a roguelike, the goal is to run around, kill as many enemies as possible before your eventual death and come back a little bit stronger and return to the fight”. I agree 100% and am totally cool with that, but I thought Mythforce was going to do something a bit different with the overarching story design.
On the gameplay front, the controls are solid and the variety of weapons and magic spells are fun to use. I mostly played as a rogue with a sword for primary and a bow for secondary. You have to be extremely precise with your swings to cause considerable damage, especially since there is a stamina bar to keep a watchful eye on. If you swing like a madman you will be winded and need to retreat, but this will also occur at a slow pace which means you will die.
As I progressed, I found myself more reliant on the bow since I ended up on one-to-many occasions surrounded and quickly running low on stamina with the sword. Once you clear an area, you will be treated with 1 or 3 upgrades for your character. The selection will shuffle after every death and a return visit to the would-be checkpoint. You will find various items and gold from barrels and fallen enemies. You will encounter vendors as you get deeper into the episodes.
They will sell weapons and gear so if you see a few barrels in the corner of the map, then I recommend running over for a quick smash. You will also find these little exploding planets. Shoot them from a distance so as not to take damage and sometimes you will see a chain reaction that will then uncover a secret room that has gold and occasionally other useful items. You will level up your character and a little of the resources will stick with you after you die but you will always return to the beginning of the episode with our default load out.
Mythforce again from the trailer looks to deliver a unique experience by taking the roguelite / dungeon crawler genre into a 1980s cartoon. This sounds amazing but unfortunately doesn’t deliver. The gameplay is fun when in a group but the solo experience leaves much to be desired which again leads to the lack of storytelling.
I would have liked some cut scenes in the same art style as the trailer sprinkled around to add some of the cartoon elements they had advertised. The end result is a decent co-op roguelite but in a crowded genre, it falls short of being seen as a standout release.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Mythforce for Xbox Series X and PC provided by Beamdog and Aspyr.