When I went to my appointment to preview No Place for Bravery, I only had a small inkling as to what to expect. I knew it as an action RPG with an aesthetic that brings to mind such indies as Hyper Light Drifter. Speaking with Matheus Queiroz, executive producer on the game, I came to realize it’s a deeply personal story about the absence of fathers for the Brazilian developers working on the project. During my time with the demo, I found an excitingly brutal and hard yet fair adventure.
A Dangerous Search for Your Child in No Place for Bravery
No Place for Bravery started me off in a forest area. My character, Thorn, was about to go hunting with his daughter, Leaf. After walking a bit, I encountered a scary demon. It is here you learn the basics of combat: You can lock on to a target, attack, defend, and dodge. Enemies can hold onto life in a fallen state after you beat them, so you have the option of executing them once this moment presents itself. Once the tutorial ended, a huge monster appeared. Worried about her mother, Leaf left my side. Then Thorn chased after her but got hit by lightning, and a mysterious figure subsequently captured his daughter. Thus, the rescue was on.
I ultimately enjoyed the short preview gameplay in the demo for No Place for Bravery at PAX East. There’s a parry mechanic that is immensely satisfying to pull off, and the key to winning battles is switching between playing defense and taking risks to attack. Checkpoints refill your health and potions like in Dark Souls, and they are placed meticulously so as not to feel either too sparse or too abundant.
Glitch Factory has also mastered placing them at strategic spots, as I usually found one right before a tough area. This placement meant I wasn’t punished too harshly for failing and kicked all the way back to the start of a location. There are also skills you can use for each of the weapons you obtain, like your blade and rock-breaking ax. For instance, my sword gained the ability to do a quick, deadly strike forwards.
Queiroz on Strategy and Inspiration
I had the pleasure of having Queiroz by my side during the entire demo. He offered great advice during the demo’s tougher moments; I learned I had a spell I could cast that left a circle on the ground that refilled health — perfect for the boss! Queiroz also smiled when I learned that enemies can hurt each other. He was further pleased as I realized when to use my different weapons: Utilizing the ax for the boss was powerful but too slow, while using the sword was quicker and didn’t leave me open. I managed to beat the whole demo, which apparently was rare during PAX.
Queiroz cited Devil May Cry, Dark Souls, and Sekiro as influences, especially Sekiro‘s parry mechanic. He was quite happy when I compared the violence to that of Blasphemous, one of my personal favorite indies. No Place for Bravery is not procedurally generated, and it uses such figures as giants and gods in the story while incorporating some puzzle elements into the adventure. When I asked him who the small child you encounter at the end of the demo is, he said that was a spoiler. I have my theories, though!
No Place for Bravery is already shaping up to be a great game. The combat is wonderful, the difficulty is tough but fair, and the plot seems like it will make gamers feel a ton of emotions. Look for it to launch in Q3 of this year for Steam and Nintendo Switch.