HIGH The wonderfully calm atmosphere.
LOW There are a lot of repeat events.
WTF Why is this man wearing a bear skin serving me stew?
Hi everyone! Eugene Sax here with another review from GameCritics.com. Today, we grab our climbing gear and trek up the side of a mysterious mountain in Insurmountable.
In this roguelike adventure game, players will take their chosen climber and scale a mysterious mountain that has appeared on a lost island. Players will be able to click on a hex-tile around them and see a green line that shows the path their climber will take to get to the new location. The line will turn red if any of the climbers’ physical resources (stamina, sanity, oxygen, or body temperature) will deplete along that path. If any of the resources deplete, there is a chance that an event will happen and cause health loss. If the climber’s health reaches 0, the climber will die and players will need to start a new ascent from the bottom of the mountain.
When the player clicks to start the character moving, they will keep moving until they reach their destination, or reach some type of event tile. These events are mostly narrative flavor, and can either reward the player with additional resources and experience, or could take away resources depending on the outcome. If a player is trying to climb to a tile multiple levels above them, it will cost more energy than a tile one level above their position. Each tile can also be perilous on its own though, as some may represent fragile ice or unstable rock, each with their own chance of having a negative effect on the climber’s well-being.
Insurmountable takes the proposition of climbing a mountain and all of the daunting stress that goes with it, and turns it into a Zen experience. There’s a great sense of scale, and it’s easy to tell how far I had to go in order to reach the peak of the mountain despite the fact that players can only see the general area around their character, and never the entire path up the mountain. It’s this realistic nature that made it easy to get immersed in the climb and the grandeur of what it’s trying to represent.
Though Insurmountable is a roguelike, it feels “solvable”. It became fairly easy to pick apart which event tiles would be better or worse for me at any given moment, and most of the events seem to play out the same way if I make the same choices. In essence, it felt like a lot of number crunching was going on behind the scenes which factored in the resources and equipment I had, compared to the number of dangerous tiles ahead and how high my path would take me. The downside of this system is that many times there was a “right” answer that was fairly easy to see, and it didn’t feel like there were a lot of interesting choices.
I enjoyed my time climbing this peak, though. It offers three characters with unique abilities that made the climb feel different for each one, and while it doesn’t break a lot of new ground in the genre, Insurmountable is a welcome addition to the other roguelikes in my library.
Insurmountable, for me, scores 7.5 out of 10.
Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Byterockers Games, and it is currently available on PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 7.5 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: There is no current rating for this game according to the ESRB. The content is pretty tame — players are just climbing a mountain, though there may be an image of blood on a knife, or pictures of frozen dead bodies in some of the events. However, these are only still images. Any violence that crops up comes in the form of event text, but there are no explicit images.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All information is displayed through text, but text size is not resizable. The sound provides ambiance, but is not necessary to play This game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: All Key bindings are remappable for this game. Most of the key binding are hotkeys, and the game can be played entirely with mouse clicks.
While Sonic and Street Fighter were great places to start, his first love was Final Fantasy X when his dad bought a PS2. Ever since, that love for gaming has evolved -- there are a number of game worlds out there, and he intends to explore them all. RPG to horror, platformers to casual and everything in between -- if it’s available, he’ll play it.
While his time is short between writing reviews, tabletop gaming, and attempting to start a cheesecake business, he has caught all 806 pokemon and can speedrun Star Fox 64 in less than 40 minutes. He’s always looking for new things to try and new challenges to conquer. You can find him on Twitter -- @eugene_sax.