When you hear about a wizard leaving behind some vague "secret" in an ancient dungeon filled with giant spiders and zombies, do you go after it? When you find a recipe for an undefined "elixir", do you set out to find a stranger to mix it for you so you can quaff it down? If so, then congratulations, you're the protagonist in Fire Victory Games' action RPG Vilesteel. To play, just click to move around, and click on enemies to attack. Click and hold on them to keep attacking, hold [shift] to attack without moving, and either click the icons at the bottom of the screen to use your special abilities, or hit the corresponding hotkeys. You'll gain points in your attributes like vigor and so on as you fight depending on how you play, and when you level up, you'll gain even more points (automatically distributed), with the option to choose an extra ability every four levels. As you slay enemies and loot chests, you'll find randomly distributed treasure and equipment of varying rarities. Equipment can be upgraded from certain NPCs for a fee as long as you have the potions to do so. The story? Well, uh... you're a powerful hero, and you travel from place to place kicking evil's butt, Minsc-and-Boo-style, and that's about it. If you're looking for depth and strategy, Vilesteel ain't it, but if you want hack-and-slash style dungeoncrawling distilled down to a fine soup, you might find it a light and tasty lunch indeed.
Make no mistake, Vilesteel is an extremely simple and repetitive game, with a story that's barely there and gameplay that basically amounts to wandering around places and turning everything you encounter into a pulpy mass. Areas are often big and empty, and at one point I actually thought I'd run into a bug since I couldn't find the boss of a particular location... we kept missing each other as we stumbled around an inordinately huge and featureless room. Despite that, however, there's something satisfying about Vilesteel's coffee-break style action. There's no real grinding to speak of since as long as you make an effort to clear areas of enemies and get decent equipment (the treasure chests are very generous) you'll be able to handle just about anything, so the hack-and-slash dungeon crawling is streamlined for reward. Reward consisting solely of more powerful equipment, of course, but reward nonetheless. Vilesteel feels more like it has the bones of a really good action RPG than enough meat and flesh wrapped around them, which is maybe appropriate given how many skeletons and zombies you'll be crushing, but there's clearly been a lot of effort put into it, and one can only hope we've got a beefier sequel coming somewhere down the line.