Arcaxer is a roguelite dungeon exploration game with turn-based combat with waggle mechanics that remind me of the Nintendo Wii, in the absolute best way!
- Title: Arcaxer
- Release Date: October 13, 2022 (Quest 2 version)
- Price: $24.99
- Availability: Quest, Steam
- Recommended for fans of: Roguelite dungeon delvers, turn-based action, and silly controls
Geek to Geek Media was provided with a review copy of this title.
I've had a Quest 2 for about a year now, and haven't used it nearly as much as I thought I would. I've spent a lot of time with Resident Evil 4, but other than that I've mostly tried out a lot of games for one or two sessions as novelties, rather than really sinking into them.
When the chance to take a look at Arcaxer came up, I jumped at it. With a top-down, dungeon-delving structure mixed with turn-based combat, it immediately looked like the sort of game I would get absorbed into on the Switch. I've spent a few hours with it so far, and it's got a lot of rough edges but is overall a really fun, silly adventure, with a bit of the silly charm I remember from bargain bin Wii games.
Arcaxer puts you in the role of a digital creation in a digital world, enslaved to battle and die over and over again for the benefit of your creator. After the game's tutorial, you are tasked by another avatar with attempting to climb a monster-filled tower in order to save your digital world.
Okay, I'll be honest, I don't really understand what the story is at all, but that didn't stop me from looking up at the massive tower and thinking “oh yeah, I'm getting up that”.
Each floor of the tower is dark and gloomy, with really cool lighting effects keeping you from seeing where enemies are lurking or where the stairs to the next level are. If you push the floor down you can see the glinting of treasure in the dark, which works really well to make exploration feel a little bit guided.
As you explore the dark dungeons of Arcaxer, you'll find yourself bumping into enemies. There's a quick shift when you enter combat from the overhead perspective to a first-person view of the enemies you'll be battling. Think early Dragon Quest. Combat is turn-based, and the player can use melee attacks or ranged spells to attack enemies.
When you press the grip button to grab a sword, your character instantly teleports to be standing face-to-face with an enemy. It's super jarring to go from across the room to up in a monster's grill, but that sense of surprise is good motivation for flailing your sword around to attack them.
To use magic, you press the trigger button and push your hand toward a foe. Supposedly the faster you push the more damage an attack will do, but I haven't seen much difference.
On defense, your enemies shoot attacks at you that you can dodge, dip, duck, dive, and dodge to avoid. I also took a perk that let me wave my swords around on defense to deflect attacks.
Like I said at the top, I haven't gotten too far into Arcaxer yet, but what I've played has been fun. The exploration works well, even though the camera is sometimes awkwardly placed. The combat is a pretty basic turn-based system, but with enough interactivity to make it fun. And the overall roguelite structure… well, I don't think I've seen enough of that to speak to it much, but it seems like a good hook.
Overall, this is a game that is pretty easy to jump into but with a loop that I could see holding my attention for a long time. And honestly, it's been a while since I played a game with waggle controls that made me feel like a boneless knight with a sword or a knock-off Goku throwing fireballs, and Arcaxer is worth it just for that.