The Guise Review – Exploration and Combat in a Frightening Fairy Tale

Platforms:

Windows PC, Steam

Game Name:

The Guise

Publisher(s):

GameNet

Developer(s):

Rasul Mono

Genre(s):

Action, Adventure

Release Date:

October 20th, 2020

The Guise by Rasul Mono

The Guise is a Metroidvania adventure game set in a grim, atmospheric world that is falling apart at the seams.

Coupling exploration gameplay reminiscent of Hollow Knight with a dark and broken world that evokes the entropic nightmare of Dark Souls, The Guise is a bleak and creepy title that aspires to provide an interconnected world full of secrets and terrible revelations.

The world of The Guise is established in a short opening blurb. This describes how the “All-Father” created the world and 12 children who, struggling for supremacy, ultimately destroyed the world their father had created, bringing it to ruin.

Altered Beast Boy

We then shift to an orphanage, where the protagonist, Ogden, is in the care of Mallory, a mysterious woman hiding more than a few secrets. Ogden sneaks into her room and stumbles across a mask that transforms him into a monstrous beast. Displeased, Mallory claims to hold no anger towards Ogden for his infraction, but she is unable to help him. She sends him on a quest to resolve his predicament.

This beast form is akin to a spiky dog, perhaps some sort of hell-hound. This masked creature can leap, attack and perform a kind of airborne spin-attack.

Each enemy killed yields some energy towards a 10-point limit. When this cap is reached, it can be spent to heal some damage. This rather basic toolkit begins to expand early on. One of the earliest new abilities is an acid spit power, which creates a projectile that uses up some mana (the mana pool is replenished from kills, so any one-shot kill will ensure that it pays for itself).

Punching Lacks Punch

I found the combat relatively playable, but unfortunately, there is a distinctive lack of impact to most melee attacks. It’s amazing how far some simple, snappy sound-effects and an animation to register hits can go; The Guise feels like it’s lacking both. Coupled with a slightly wonky hit box system, this makes things feel a bit disconnected during fights. This is a shame, as combat makes up a big part of the game.

All of this said, The Guise does have a decent variety of enemies up its sleeve, and it can be engaging to learn the different ways in which they can be fought. There are a good number of bosses, too, and they are the means by which new abilities can be earned.

An upgrade system is also present; enemies drop eyes when they perish, and Mallory will take large quantities of these in return for upgrading the various abilities available to Ogden.

Fairy Tale Frights

The exploration element of The Guise is also fairly fleshed out, if a little less elegant than some of its inspirations. Elevators lead down to challenging underground areas and a variety of dangerous environs are dotted about the world, ranging from dark forests to deep caves.

The aesthetics of The Guise build a memorable world, a dark fairy tale place where children linger in bleak landscapes, riddled with sad or twisted creatures.

The music, too, supports this atmosphere with a mixture of somber tones and ominous piano work. All in all, The Guise manages to build a visual and audio landscape to support its dreary and creepy world.

The Guise is a solid Metroidvania title that provides a sizeable world filled with dark nooks and crannies. The combat could do with a little streamlining and tidying, and it’s a pity that this niggle pervades the game, but this isn’t quite enough to dampen a recommendation to explore this grim little world and its unusual critters.

The Guise is worth checking out for fans hungry for an adventure filled with secrets and somber storytelling.

The Guise is available via Steam.

Check out the official trailer for The Guise below:

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