A game by Flying Oak Games and E-Studio for PC, Mac, Linux, Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and Xbox X/S, originally released in 2020.
ScourgeBringer is a hardcore roguelike actioner set in a dark an unforgiving world. Long ago, a gigantic object appeared in the skies, laying waste to cities and civilizations as it travelled across the planet. The people came to call this object the ScourgeBringer. The few remaining survivors have become nomads to stay out of the path of destruction, while other brave souls have ventured inside… never to return. You take on the role of Khyra, a powerful warrior with flaming white hair. She enters the ScourgeBringer to fight her way through, and learn what the people did to deserve this endless reign of destruction.
On a first attempt, players enter a tutorial that explains the basic controls, and then they are dropped into the fray… room after room filled with deadly enemies and traps. Per genre conventions, level layouts are randomized, so every run is somewhat different. However, each themed area contains a specific set of enemies and hazards, so players will know what to expect in any given room. And of course, death returns the player to the start of the game to try again, but there are several persistent upgrades to be unlocked along the way (more on those in a bit).
Khyra is an extremely agile protagonist who is able to quickly flit about the environment and bring a quick end to the enemies that surround her. Khyra comes equipped with a very high variable jump, plus a double jump, and a multi-directional air dash. Chaining these three moves together allows Khyra to reach almost any point in the environment in a matter of seconds. She can also wall jump, wall slide, and run straight up any vertical surface.
Khyra’s primary weapon is a sword that she uses to slash enemies repeatedly, and she can also perform a heavy smash attack to stun powerful foes and knock them back. The trick to stunning an enemy is to wait until an exclamation point appears over its head… but that’s also the signal that they’re about to unleash an attack, which results in constant split-second risk/reward decisions on the part of the player. Do you dodge away to avoid the attack, or are you fast enough to close ground and deliver a heavy strike to prevent the attack and give yourself a few seconds to follow up with multiple sword strikes?
Further aiding Khyra's aerial acrobatics is the fact that she hangs in the air for a bit when swinging her sword, and she automatically moves toward whatever enemy she is attacking. Combined with her air dash – which is also an attack – she can quickly move from enemy to enemy. And landing a successful strike also allows her to jump or dash again in midair, so it’s possible to clear out a whole room full of baddies without ever touching the ground. This can be doubly useful, as there are often traps on the floor, walls, or ceiling, such as popup spikes, falling stalactites, or jets of acid… and these are thankfully disabled once the room is cleared.
Knowing your enemies is key, as you’ll regularly be dealing with targets in every direction, so it’s important to prioritize your attacks on the biggest threats. Some enemies move slowly and follow prescribed routes, while others constantly move toward you, some fire slow-moving projectiles, and others unleash extremely powerful attacks that can hit you from across the room. Understanding these behaviors will help you to determine what kind of attack to use, as your sword slash allows for repeated strikes, your dash lets you move quickly and kill weak enemies instantaneously, and your heavy strike not only stuns enemies but can be used to cancel projectiles… or deflect them back at enemies once you’ve unlocked the proper upgrades.
One other tool at your disposal is a gun. A gun may sound like the best and most useful weapon in a game where you’re facing enemies in every direction, especially since it auto-aims at the nearest target… but its use is closely tied to melee combat. Your gun can only fire a few rounds before it needs to be reloaded, and the only way to reload it is to strike enemies with melee attacks (operating similarly to the weapon system in Skelly Selest). As such, it’s best to hang onto your bullets until the situation demands, and to keep a few rounds in the chamber for miniboss and boss encounters.
That said, you’ll be slashing enemies like crazy, so reloads happen frequently, and there are multiple weapons to be found on each run, including a shotgun, machine gun, grenade launcher, refracting laser, and a mini nuke. The grenade launcher is very powerful but a bit tough to use since the projectiles bounce around for a while before exploding, but the refracting laser delivers a huge swath of heavy damage. There’s also a powerful unlockable fury attack that kills most enemies instantly, and it cancels projectiles, plus it takes a big chunk of life away from bosses and minibosses.
As capable a warrior as Khyra is, death is inevitable. Getting killed drops her at the foot of the Chiming Tree with a friendly NPC named Garo, and the whole place is surrounded by a lake of blood. Blood, as it turns out, is power, and you’ll need plenty of it if you hope to succeed. The Chiming Tree has an altar among its roots that accepts the blood of bosses and minibosses in exchange for permanent upgrades. This includes increasing your maximum health, unlocking a combo system (which rewards more blood based on attack speed and variety), new attack types, lengthier stuns, chances for better loot, and more.
Six upgrade branches are available at the start, with a seventh available once you defeat the final boss. Later, this area contains a computer that lets you view log files, a bestiary, and your stats. There’s also a warp point here that takes you back to the first area to try again. It’s worth noting that as you make progress, new challenge rooms, minibosses, and NPC’s appear in the earlier areas, adding a bit of variety to the experience and reducing some of the repetition inherent to the genre.
A map system (and minimap) shows each room as you discover it, along with exit door directions, merchant locations, altars, the miniboss room, and the door to the area boss… which only opens once the miniboss is defeated. An early upgrade allows you to instantly warp between any cleared rooms. Blood altars are important as they allow you to select from one of three run-specific blessings at no cost, which generally consist of passive buffs.
A couple of different merchants can be found as well, with one offering weapons, upgrades, and health restoratives in exchange for the blood that is collected from each standard enemy that you kill. Another merchant offers their wares in exchange for a permanent HP reduction. A friendly NPC named Peppy grants free rewards, provided you can complete the preceding level quickly enough. You also get multiple drops from defeating bosses and minibosses.
Pickups and purchased items include new weapon types, upgrades to your existing weapons, health restoration, increased maximum health, and increased attack power, as you’d expect. There are also some very specific items and blessings that allow for things like increased damage based on the amount of health you have remaining, slower enemy projectiles while you’re standing on the ground, or damage bonuses for clearing a room without taking damage.
Per genre conventions, there are a few opportunities for the player to give up something important for the chance at a greater reward, such as the aforementioned merchant who takes HP in trade for items. There are also Chiming Tree upgrades that allow you to destroy items in a shop for a chance at something better, and there are some optional enemy challenges. By initiating these challenges, the player is faced with wave after wave of enemies (standard levels usually consists of just a couple of waves), including a mix of powerful enemies and the occasional miniboss-class foe. The risk is that the player will lose health, since there are very few restoratives to be found, but skilled players can engage in these optional ordeals to collect a stack of random drops at the end of a successful battle.
Things get quite challenging as the game progresses. In fact, things are pretty challenging from the start, requiring the player to hone his skills through several replays of the first area before he can be expected to make it to the second. And each time the player makes it to a new area, he must learn new enemy behaviors, along with strategies for taking down the bosses and minibosses within. The action is generally quite fast and things get hectic quickly. In particular, the third area introduces many more level hazards in the form of acid spouts, along with lots of enemies that explode into projectiles when they are killed… adding another level of chaos to an already chaotic experience.
Boss and miniboss encounters present the toughest challenges, and these are usually 1-on-1 affairs, although there are occasionally some support enemies brought in… which may be due to the game’s adaptive difficulty feature. In any case, it is possible to take down some of these tougher foes with brute force, unleashing as many attacks as possible and looking for the chance to stun them, but it’s best to learn their patterns to avoid taking too much damage in return, thereby hurting your chances at a successful run. Each boss and miniboss has a range of attack and movement types, requiring the player to pay close attention… or to fight and die multiple times.
Aesthetically, the game is quite lovely. Despite the dark tone, sprites are crisp and colorful, and there are lots of tiny details to be found, plus lively animations that add a lot of character. The game also offers an intense soundtrack during the battle sequences. Narratively, the game remains mostly mysterious, with the player meeting unusual characters with suspicious motives while slowly uncovering a few details about the previous ScourgeBringer expeditions.

ScourgeBringer was developed by Flying Oak Games, a 2-person studio based in France and comprised of Thomas Altenburger and Florian Hurtaut, and the studio previously developed NeuroVoider. The developers cite Dead Cells, Celeste, and Monolith as inspirations for this game. The game’s soundtrack was composed by Joonas Turner (Downwell, Noita, Carrion). The game was developed in partnership with E-Studio.

The game was published by Dear Villagers, which previously published Souldiers, Revita, and The Forgotten City. Dear Villagers is the publishing label for Plug In Digital label, which published Splasher, Pankapu, and Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan, among many others.