Straimium Immortaly

A game by Caiysware for PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One, originally released in 2016.
Straimium Immortaly is a roguelike dungeon crawler starring the Straima Ninja (or one of six unlockable characters) who descends into a cube of procedurally generated interconnected rooms to blast enemies and defeat the "Queeni Emperess". Along the way, the jetpack-equipped explorer acquires numerous randomized support items, as well as more powerful weapons and special abilities to help him wreak destruction. However, these rewards are hard-fought and easily lost upon death, which results in the player being booted out of the Cubicus to try again from the start.

Before the game begins, the player determines whether he would like to enter a small, medium, or large Cubicus, along with selecting a playable character, hats, modifiers, and/or cheats, all of which must be unlocked before use. The player is able to move freely in any direction but can only fire to the left or right, and his aim locks in the direction he is facing until he lets off the FIRE button.

The fire rate on the player’s default infinite-ammo weapon is continuous, but it is generally weak and slow, at least at the start. A secondary weapon offers limited ammo with a more powerful concentrated blast. Additionally, the player comes equipped with a special ability that can be used as often as he likes, but with a long cooldown period, such as the ability to slow down time, generate an expanding bullet-cancelling shield, or perform a powerful sword slash. The player’s starting weapons may be swapped out for different and/or more powerful ones by clearing out rooms of tough enemies in special warp areas, and the player can discover new special abilities as well.

The player has a dash move that allows him to burst a short distance in a straight line in four directions, which he can use to escape projectiles or move away from enemies. Unfortunately, this is not the equivalent of a dodge roll, as seen in other roguelike games, as players cannot dash safely through enemies or projectiles. However, there is an item that replaces this 4-direction dash with an 8-direction teleport that serves this function.

Rooms are single-screen affairs with doors potentially leading in four directions, and the player is free to explore the Cubicus as he likes, although deeper rooms tend to house deadlier enemies and faster variants of those above. Tougher rooms are also more likely to contain secondary dangers, such as spiked walls, bounce walls, darkness, fog, moving spike blocks, falling objects, or indestructible turrets. An auto-map charts the player’s course and marks notable rooms in case he wishes to return to them.

There are several room types, the most common of which places the player in an area filled with one or two enemy types. Often, a treasure chest is situated in the center of the room, and clearing out all of the enemies causes it to open, revealing its contents. Chests may contain pink globular enemies which act as the game’s currency and must be destroyed to be collected, or they may contain potions that refill the player’s health or energy meters, or occasionally they contain special items that act as single-use powerups or permanent buffs (more on these in a bit). Leaving the room before all enemies are defeated causes them to respawn upon reentering, but defeated enemies stay dead, and items dropped from chests remain in the room until collected, allowing players to leave restoratives behind until they are needed.

Some rooms offer shops where the player can purchase up to three items, spending his pink blobby currency to do so, and better shops appear deeper in the Cubicus, offering more useful (and more expensive) items. Some rooms offer a game of rock-paper-scissors where the player can bet a small amount of currency to play the game, with currency as the reward, although the player may need to defeat the disembodied head of his opponent upon winning in order to collect his prize (an item).

Some rooms are devoid of enemies and simply contain item pickups or unlock new hats, modifiers, or playable characters. Warp rooms allow the player to teleport to another room in the dungeon, although these do not appear in small cubes. There are also one-way warps that send the player to the nearest challenge area where he can fight for valuable upgrades and boss keys.

Smaller cubes not only feature fewer rooms but are also a bit easier to navigate, as most challenge rooms and boss doors are open from the start, whereas the largest cube often sees players seeking small keys to open challenge rooms to earn large keys to fight bosses. The game features four boss creatures, which are larger and tougher variants of regular enemies. As expected, these creatures have long life bars and can deliver heavy damage – and one can kill you instantly by smashing you against the wall – but players face the same bosses on each run, allowing them to develop successful strategies that make these encounters less difficult. Defeating bosses grants the player a new heart for his health meter and a full health restore, and defeating all of them allows the player to open the door to the final boss… but getting there isn’t easy, even in the smallest of cubes.

The game has a high difficulty level, and being a roguelike, each death returns the player to the start of the game with only his unlockables intact. The initial difficulty curve is steep, and this high difficulty comes from several factors. For one, the player’s movement is slow, with many enemies and projectiles exceeding his speed. Secondly, many enemies are not content to sit still and be shot; some will change course when attacked, others will disappear and teleport to other locations within the room, and many will dash straight toward the player. Thirdly, most enemies can absorb a ton of damage before being destroyed, at least until the player earns better weaponry.

Finally, many enemies fire multiple projectiles that remain onscreen for a long time before disappearing. Some of these projectiles come directly toward the player, some pass through solid objects, some bounce off walls, and many following curved paths, which means that enemy-packed rooms can fill up quickly with projectiles moving in multiple directions, making it difficult for the player to effectively dodge them and simultaneously deliver damage to their originators. Only upon repeat play does the player learn the behaviors and firing patterns of enemies and how to best deal with them, and even then, combat is often quite chaotic.

Items can be a great help in defeating enemies, and players encounter a different selection of items on each run (although some are more common than others). Passive buffs include a lower cooldown time for special abilities, a slow recharge of your special meter, increased movement speed, sacrificial hearts that restore health when yours are depleted, additional firepower when your health is low or high, and a bullet-deflecting shield. Single-use items include increased firepower, health restoration, and a Legend of Zelda-style warp whistle.

Some particularly useful items include hovering projectile emitters that add extra firepower, with some shooting alongside you and others targeting enemies individually and slowing them down. Another is a U-shaped energy exchanger that transfers energy between your health meter and special meter, allowing you to earn health by picking up energy-restoring potions. There are also half-hearts that can be discovered, and collecting two of them adds an additional heart to your health meter.

Players who stick with the game will eventually unlock loads of hats and modifiers, as well as some new playable characters, each of which offers advantages and disadvantages over the default Straima Ninja, such as more accurate but slower firing weapons, or the inability to acquire or use special abilities. Enterprising players can also discover rusty keys that unlock similarly rusty chests or doors that lead to special challenge areas. And encountering each of the game’s bosses and collecting the boss keys unlocks a Boss Rush mode in the main menu.

Straimium Immortaly was developed by Anthony Case, a.k.a. Caiys, who is based in the UK, and the game was published under his Caiysware label. Anthony’s other works include Skelly Selest, Spirits Abyss, Echo of the Wilds, Ilamentia, and Straima. Straimium Immortaly is set in the same universe as Straima and features a similar graphical style and many of the same enemies. The game was developed using GameMaker Studio. Music for the game was composed by Josh Penn-Pierson.


Tales said...

Great overview on this great lil game