Having just narrowly escaped death at the hands of an enraged cultist by jumping into a glowing blue portal, I found myself stumbling through the night, bleeding onto the rotten wooden planks of a moonlit jetty. At first, I was safe. Then, there were pirates. This is bad, I thought. Pirates are the opposite of safe. The opposite of safe, in case you’re wondering, is extremely stabby. These were some extremely stabby pirates.
Do I want to be stabbed by these pirates? I thought. No. I decided. This is not the day I die from a terminal case of pirate stabs. I resolved to do some stabbing back, reasoning that if I stabbed the pirates before being stabbed myself, they might not be able to do the stabbing at me in the first place. It was a stroke of foolproof genius so profound I genuinely scared myself for a second. It was then I realised I had nothing to stab the pirates with. Stabbing implements being as vital as they are to the act of doing stabs, this was obviously a problem.
It was then I saw it; the glorious, pixelated glint of a throwing knife. Ah! I exclaimed. This will do nicely. A long-range stab is always better than a melee stab for avoiding potential revenge stabbings.
Then the pirate picked up the throwing knife. Then I was dead from a flying stab.
All the enemies in Ebony Spire: Heresy have the exact same abilities as the player in terms of object interaction. This means they can, and will, use environmental objects and pickups to make you die whenever possible. Also, when you’re dead, that’s it. So even if you manage to get revenge on the next group of pirates you meet, they’re technically different pirates. This is kind of frustrating, because I wanted revenge on those exact bastard pirates. All told though, Bearded Giant Games’s Ebony Spire: Heresy is a fantastically addictive old-school dungeon crawler with some seriously inventive pixel art creature design, perfect for short play sessions. You can grab a free demo on Itch.io now.