PREVIEW: ‘No Place for Bravery’ Delivers an Approachable Soulslike Experience (PC)

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No Place for Bravery

No Place for Bravery is a top-down 2D action RPG developed by Glitch Factory and published by Ysbryd Games. Thorn is an old warrior on a quest to find his lost daughter. But the world is filled with hardships and threats that will not make his journey easy. Luckily for Thorn, he has his sword, shield, and a will that won’t be broken.  My preview of No Place for Bravery gave me a taste of some of the challenges that await Thorn when the game drops later this year.

The first thing I have to talk about here is this game’s music. I listened to a unique and memorable mix that was powerful, beautiful, and raw. The music imparts grandeur to the opening battles of this game that couldn’t be achieved any other way. This powerful soundtrack instantly pulled me into my preview time with No Place for Bravery. Happily, the music wasn’t the only thing waiting to impress me once I got into the game.

The gameplay of No Place for Bravery delivers plenty of challenges as the player navigates the world. Timing attacks, blocks, dodges, and parries are key to surviving the game’s many enemies. Learning enemy attack patterns is just as important as managing Thorn’s stamina bar. Running out of stamina will leave the hero stunned for several seconds. And this situation ends in death more often than not.

Many of the hallmarks of the soulslike genre can be seen in No Place for Bravery. For example, periodic rest sites give players a chance to save progress and restore their health and healing potions, while respawning enemies. This, coupled with the unforgiving challenge of combat, makes the game a familiar experience for fans of the genre. However, the devs behind this game are clearly looking to broaden the audience.

When I started my preview of No Place for Bravery, I was offered three different difficulty options. A story mode, a balanced mode, and a hard mode. While I dove into the game on balanced mode, I was pleased to see the game looking to cater to those who may want less of a challenge. However, the games customization options where the difficulty is concerned didn’t stop there.

Once in the game, I discovered that No Place for Bravery contained a slew of options you could adjust on the fly. For example, aspects of the game like how much health Thorn has and the window time for parrying attacks were adjustable via a series of sliders. These allowed me to customize my playtime specifically for me. And I was certainly appreciative of it.

During a late-game section, I was tasked with maneuvering through a platforming sequence. While the platforming in my preview of No Place for Bravery was simple enough, the combination of fire spouts and archers attacking me made the timing of when to jump or dodge too complex for me to keep up with. Unfortunately, this led to numerous deaths. Honestly, I’m not sure if I could’ve navigated this sequence as it was. Luckily, thanks to the game’s customization options, I could crank up my health enough to manage my way through this challenge. Upon completion, I then dropped it back down to normal.

The final aspect of No Place for Bravery I need to talk about is the game’s visual presentation. Utilizing a classic pixel-art style, this game manages to deliver a surprising amount of detail and animation within the boundaries of pixel art. Attacks and movement are all handled smoothly, and the world surrounding the action is brought to life beautifully. There is also a surprising level of gore delivered through the game’s visuals. I was impressed with how clearly some of the demo’s more brutal moments came through. So, at a glance, while this game may not have the obvious shine of other recent 2D games, the graphics nevertheless manage to bring a ton of detail and atmosphere to the experience.

As I look back on my preview time with No Place for Bravery, I can’t help feeling impressed. The gameplay is smooth, the graphics are surprisingly effective, and the customization promises to make this an entry in the soulslike genre that I and many others might be able to get through. Layer on a musical score that doubles down on the game’s energy, and we could have a certified indie hit on our hands when the game drops later this year.

No Place for Bravery is currently scheduled for release Q3 of 2022 for PC and Nintendo Switch.