PAX East - First Look: Rightfully, Beary Arms
I wasn’t sure what to expect with Rightfully, Beary Arms. The promotional art has a cute teddy bear holding a laser gun. But the game is anything but cuddly; it’s a tough-as-nails bullet hell roguelike. And while the preview feels like it’s still a work in progress, what’s there is solid.
The first thing I noticed about Rightfully, Beary Arms is how beautiful the game looks. It’s a mix of 2D sprites on a three-dimensional plan that is remarkably beautiful. And with the lighting effects, the game catches your attention. I talked to the developers about this technique and mentioned how this attention to detail and art direction makes the game pop.
The game is a twin-stick shooter, and honestly, I didn’t pick up on that right away. A few other players around me also struggled to know this; I don’t blame the game. Like many previews, there is little in the way of tutorials which I attribute to the fact that I believe that is added towards the end of development. Besides, with your limited time with a game at a show like PAX, you don’t want to be bogged down with tutorials and rather jump right into the action.
But once I got the hang of it, I grew fond of how the game played. The different types of enemies and weapons were vast, especially for a preview build. Each world has a different type of creatures you’ll fight - not only were the sprites varied, but the attacks each enemy type did also varied.
One of the most unique things about Rightfully, Beary Arms was how it handled the roguelike mechanics. Like most roguelikes, you’ll die, a lot. Upon death, you won’t lose the weapons; rather, you choose how the enemy will level up or how drops will affect your next run. For instance, you might choose that you’ll find few health drops, or you might select that the enemy has a speed boost. It’s a clever way to handle failing, but you could also use your selection to your advantage or choose the one you think will affect you the least.
The last piece that I enjoyed about the game is the writing. I laughed out loud and complimented the devs on some lines delivered by the NPCs you encounter. I discovered one line by mistake and appreciated that the devs considered that the interaction might happen. I won’t spoil it because it’s a fun easter egg, but I suggest talking to all NPCs and approaching things from different angles.
Overall, I found Rightfully, Beary Arms to be an interesting game - I think people might not know what to expect with the art, and it may not attract the crowd they’re hoping to get. This isn’t a cute Animal Crossing-like game, this is a clever but punishing roguelike, and if they can market the game to the right audience, I think people will be pleasantly surprised.