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Collapsed Review

Collapsed Review

One element that is always crucial to the core of roguelikes is sacrifice. You have to know that this is a journey that may result in you losing a part of yourself, whether it’s equipment, trinkets, stats, or your own goddamn time. It’s not that the game is a bastard for taking this away from you, it’s that the game wants you to be confident that your loss is only going to inspire. Collapsed is a lesson in that if nothing else.

This is the debut title from Russian developer Glaive Games, released originally in 2019 for the PC, before getting a staggered release over the next two years thanks to several different publishers. The most recent port for Xbox consoles is published by OverGamez, who’ve recently helped with other Xbox ports for the creepy In My Shadow, and the left-field roguelike Despotism 3k.

Trying to explain the story would be a task best reserved for more broken minds. You play as one of four hunters, dubbed “Vessels”, who are tasked with destroying a “Warden”, an entity that’s managed to conquer Earth with an unlimited horde of assimilated humans, robots, and mutants. The way your character plans to do this is to integrate their body into lost memories, to take down the Warden earlier than expected, while also finding out why they came to Earth.



At least, that’s what I can gather. Collapsed is both impenetrable and a husk in its narrative display, showcasing next to no structure and dire exposition. Despite a supposed takeover of Earth from a wave of undefeatable robots and mutants, the text logs seem to insinuate human errors as a result of the downfall of this world. Creations turning against their creators, and unchecked madness going on in laboratories, but nothing to imply a takeover from extraterrestrial forces.

Whether it’s a result of poor translations, a lack of dedication, or simply prioritizing other factors of the game, there’s something about it that fits. There’s something about the essence of Collapsed that wants to be a throwback, a transplant into a modern era that now harshly disregards its origin.

This is a tribute to Adobe Flash games, through and through, right down to the gameplay, which is like a mix of Metal Slug, Nuclear Throne, and the Thing Thing Arena series. You spawn in a random area, with the biome indicating which enemies you’ll face, with 3-5 portals scattered around the level. After cleansing the portal of enemies, it’ll either supply you with ammo and health, or the exit to the next level.


Along the way, you’ll get a taste of both melee and ranged combat, and both lack feedback. Any time you swing your melee weapon, it shows no resistance beyond a small health bar that tends to get lost in the sea of 2D sprites. Ranged combat doesn’t fare much better, the gun having nowhere near the impact it needs, although this is something the equipment intends to upgrade.

Scattered throughout the levels are several loot boxes, filled with all types of trinkets and stat boosts that feed into a min/max-ing state of mind. There’s a lot of useless variables here, like miniscule increases to your fire rate, or resistance to elemental damage. The only ones you really need to look out for are maximum health boosts, and an increase to your ranged damage, since it keeps you out of sight, and powerful.

Elemental damage, whether you’re giving it or taking it, is where the game falls apart in terms of difficulty. It comes in three flavours, Electrical, Acid, and Fire, and all three do the same thing: Take a massive chunk off your health bar in one fell swoop. There’s no real way to counter it, and if you take elemental damage with a couple of hundred hit points left? There’s a good chance you won’t be able to recuperate the lost health before dying.


On the subject of dying, there is no loss to worry about. Progression is akin to something like Rogue Legacy, where you pay for new unlocks and permanent stat boosts with currencies found outside the hub world, but you don’t lose that currency when you die in-game. In fact, you don’t lose anything. It’s the old adage of punching a brick wall until it collapses, but instead of perseverance pulling through, it’s that you’re also building a metal fist to help with the damage in real-time.

Bear in mind that all of this is in favour of a finale that doesn’t want to stick around to explain itself. The final boss will always be the same; a purple cyborg woman who can give Cortana a run for her money in the “Curvy A.I” category, and her explanation is blocked by garbled and corrupted text. After you beat her, you get the option to do it again, but with the health points doubled. Then doubled again. Then doubled again. Then doubled again.


This cycle isn’t deserved, especially considering the lack of content, and the way the enemies tend to play. It’s not until the fifth difficulty where the game decides to add more parameters, like a permanent damage nerf in some capacity, but by then, the ending has been explained, poorly. The game still wants you to play five more times after this, but what for? An overblown number of a level? To see if you can get a +267% Ranged Damage increase over your +265% Ranged Damage increase?

In the grand scheme of things, there’s not a lot that Collapsed gets right. The story lacks actual context, the gameplay lacks the presentation needed, the presentation itself fails to show your progression as a player, and it’s not rewarding. The game considers you as soulless as the product itself, and the monsters that occupy it. As a game, it’s certainly Collapsed.

3.50/10 3½

COLLAPSED (Reviewed on Xbox One S)

The game is unenjoyable, but it works.

Behind the times and lacking in its reason, to imply that Collapsed is an exercise in any of its design would also imply it exerted in the first place. Boring gameplay with no feedback, a story simply uninterested in being told, and a visual design too zoomed out to appreciate, it struggles to find reason in a genre that allows you to exist by default.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review

Samiee "Gutterpunk" Tee

Staff Writer

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