It feels like every couple of months there is a new roguelike released, and frankly the entire genre is starting to feel saturated. This makes it difficult for the original roguelikes to emerge and take over the conversation like Dead Cells or The Binding of Isaac did when they released. Unfortunately, like many others, Danger Scavenger doesn’t help elevate the genre, but it’s still an enjoyable roguelike if you’re not looking for anything new.
Danger Scavenger is a twin-stick shooter/roguelike from Star Drifters that takes place on various rooftops in a cyberpunk-esque world. Your goal is to fight to the highest floor taking out every enemy along the way while choosing which path you want to take toward some challenging boss fights. Danger Scavenger doesn’t have much of a story, they simply show you a quick news broadcast explaining that AI robots have started to take over the world and it’s up to a group called the “Scavengers” to take them out. There are currently up to four playable Scavengers (with more to come), but you begin with one and unlock more as you go through the game. If you played a roguelike in the past, you basically know how to play Danger Scavenger and since the game drops you into the action immediately with no tutorial, knowing the genre might be a requirement.
Each Scavenger has their own unique perks, whether it be passive like being able to do 150% damage from behind with the second playable Scavenger HUN-73R or an item you can use in-game such as Kieko’s ability to call in a drone. Choosing which Scavenger you want to play is fully based on whose perks and passives fit your playstyle since gunplay is identical for each. The twin-stick controls don’t feel as tight as you’d want them to though. Aiming with the right thumbstick may bring you to the area you want to be looking, but it takes a little practice to make sure you’re aiming directly at an enemy. Every time I thought I was aiming directly at an enemy I would discover I was a little off and miss my shots which sometimes cost me my life.
Danger Scavenger’s weapon and item selection isn’t as vast as some of the roguelikes we’ve seen in the past, but it does have some unique items that are fun to use and make you feel powerful. There were truthfully only three or four weapons that I would actually use because they seemed to be the most effective against the enemies thrown at me. There are melee weapons, but they do little to no damage and will most likely get you killed, so it’s best to stay away from them altogether. Weapons can have passives which could be something like doing electrical damage over time or – my personal favourite – every fourth shot fires a homing rocket (which is especially effective with an automatic weapon). Weapons can also be upgraded at the workbench in the base to include more than one passive but only after you complete a level.
You get passives by collecting items within the levels that are just as useful in-game as you pick them up, but can also be applied to the weapon of your choice once you finish the level. Items like the Orbiting Saw Companion which circles your Scavenger doing damage to anyone in its radius and Rocket Roll which fires a homing rocket each time you roll, show some of the originality of Danger Scavenger. These items can also be stacked multiple times to give you more saws orbiting you at once or, another example, higher attack speed if you find multiple Cowboy Hats.
As previously mentioned, Danger Scavenger takes place on multiple rooftops as you make your way to the top for a challenging boss fight. Each floor is randomly-generated and has either one or two doors leading to elevators to the next section, but each door contains a different enemy behind it. From the very beginning, you are able to look at the map which shows you what is behind each door on every floor and plan out your path that way. It becomes extremely useful once you play a couple of times to learn the enemy types because after you find out which enemies are easier than others, you’ll likely gravitate towards those doors to get to the top as quickly as possible. The map can only be opened from a terminal at one of the two doors, which can get irritating when you end up at the wrong door and are forced to run to the other side of the level for the other one.
Almost all floors have shops and chests which is where you’ll be getting the items and weapons discussed earlier along with ammo if needed. As you destroy enemies and destructible objects in the levels you also collect scrap that can be used to purchase items or health at the shop. Scrap is also needed to upgrade your weapon but can also be obtained by selling some of the items you’ve collected, again, only when you defeat a boss and can access the workbench. It should also be mentioned that like other roguelikes when you die you lose everything (weapons, items and scraps) and start back from the very beginning.
Visually, Danger Scavenger is rather impressive with some great lighting, textures and shadows for everything on ultra settings. There are a few performance problems such as animation glitches, enemy placement oddities and instances with extremely severe FPS drops that make the game unplayable requiring a restart (this happened twice). The cause of this seems to be the amount of debris that flies all over a level, which is visually pleasing to look at but makes it difficult to see characters, enemies or projectiles when things get chaotic. Sound design isn’t anything noteworthy either and the techno/cyberpunk music sounds rather generic and forgettable.
Danger Scavenger is a by-the-numbers roguelike that may not satisfy someone looking for something innovative in the genre but is an enjoyable time if you love the challenge roguelikes entail.
Danger Scavenger (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
A by-the-numbers roguelike that may not satisfy someone looking for something innovative in the genre.