Perish is a co-op first-person shooter with rogue-lite elements. The basic premise involves you and up to three additional friends fighting your way through multiple levels; slaying enemies as you complete objectives.
Your end goal is to reach Elysium, the fabled paradise for heroes and warriors in Greek Mythology, Often depicted as a land of perfect happiness.
This difference between the old faith and the lowering of religious standards seems to be the crux of the narrative in Perish. The game’s two endings reflect this; you are either rewarded with entry to the promised land or punished by being thrown into Tartarus ,the Greek equivalent to hell.
The gameplay loop consists of two phases. The first step is navigating to the objective. This gets progressively more complex, with later levels sometimes requiring the avoidance of traps or the completion of jumping puzzles. These often require the perfect timing of your dash. These objectives can vary each run but seem to cycle through a couple of options per zone, some taking you through different segments of the level such as the sewers.
Completion of an objective unlocks a passive upgrade that each player picks out of three choices for the rest of that run. Examples of these upgrades include: Your health being refilled, an enemy spawn rate increase in exchange for a higher Danke reward modifier, or chance to deal lethal damage to any enemy you’re looking at per second.
Following the completion of each objective, you are sent toward the exit. Occasionally this involves the same sort of challenges that were faced during the first navigation phase, having to dodge the enemies as you go. It’s possible to die very quickly when starting out, but all dead players respawn upon completion of a level, only with reduced health.
Danke is earned as you kill enemies during a run, with occasional extra awarded amounts. It’s satisfying to watch the money come, but be warned. Death within a run comes with a harsh penalty, each reduces your currently amassed currency to a paltry sum. This money can be banked by exiting the run between levels by exiting through a golden colored portal found within the checkpoint rooms. It’s within one of these rooms that you’ll find the first of several stone chests, hidden throughout the rest of the game. Opening them unlocks new weapons for purchase in the store. My group found it a good option to simply redo the first three levels multiple times in order to quickly purchase equipment.
Perish has a respectable amount of equipment. There are six equipment types: weapons, rings, crowns, consumables, skins, and orphic rites You can equip one weapon, one crown and six non-duplicate rings at one time. The weapons were quite varied and had something for everyone in our group. I personally favored the pistol, but our group’s resident sniper, and shotgun hobo, were both happy with how their weapons of choice were represented.
I recommend playing this with a group of friends as opposed to the solo experience. While it isn’t terrible alone, having a buddy changes the experience completely. My problem is the inclusion of defensive objectives in the solo player experience. These missions force you to stay in one spot in a game otherwise based on movement and dodging. It doesn’t help that the defense objectives typically require you to defend yourself in 360 degrees.
The difficulty is even higher if you’re attempting a successful Elysium entry run.
The art direction in perish feels gritty and detail oriented,working fairly well with the various Greek monsters such as minotaur, skeletons, giant crabs, and even stranger enemies. The zones are all fairly distinctive, such as The Forges of Hephaestus and the Maelstrom of Charybdis. The latter being quite mesmerizing to look at.
The soundtrack also consists of heavy metal guitar riffs, which help maintain the adrenaline filled atmosphere.
Perish is an excellent rouge-lite FPS with an engaging gameplay loop that is perfect for several weekends with a core squad of friends. There were also a few times when the game would simply crash for no apparent reason, but this was very infrequent.
- Satisfyingly difficult “hardcore” mechanics
- A lot of variety in methods of play
- Metal soundtrack
- A little glitchy in places.