ScourgeBringer was going to be the last game on Vita. Maybe not the absolute last, but the last game that really felt like a Vita game. We’d get it and then a few weeks later the shop would close and that would be it. ScourgeBringer was the long bow with the crowd standing and applauding and probably weeping.
That’s not happening anymore. The shop is staying open! I’m not sure that a huge bunch of people will be sending games that way, but ScourgeBringer no longer has to feel like the last game on Vita. It can just feel like itself.
What’s ironic I guess is that what it feels like is a game that would make for a pretty good last game on Vita. This is Sony’s handheld in game form – wilful, weird, deeply lovable and with an unmistakable sense of power. ScourgeBringer’s a roguelite shooty jumpy thing in which you dash around smashing alien stuff to pieces and drinking its blood to pay for upgrades. It’s already a beautiful game and I suspect it’s never looked better to me than on this screen – it’s just swift pixelly goodness, tendrils and floating plant monsters and hideous laser gems.
It’s a recognisable genre and has recognisable influences, but it mixes them with such energy and its own innate strangeness that it feels new. Movement is violence in ScourgeBringer – getting around one of the game’s 2D caverns generally involves the act of doing enemies in as you go. Movement and action combined. Somebody loved this.
And what’s this? Somebody clearly loved the Vita version too. This is a super port, and actually it’s much more than just super. When I realised that in the absence of bumpers the game’s shoot and fury attacks were mapped to the Vita’s legendary back touchpad? Gosh, I could have cried with joy.