There’s an odd sadness to the twee, fuzzy notes that greet you on starting The Onus Helm. They ripple up from darkness, sweet but heavy, scraping themselves along the torchlit stone walls. There is an unsettling spaciousness to the room, too. Cavernous and claustrophobic at once, it feels as if you are both deep underground and removed from physical space entirely. The blankness communicates a sense of loss, of longing beyond time and memory. When a strange helm floats to your head, what should feel like protection in this unknown place instead promises untold burdens. You walk forward with heavy head, and heavier heart.
The Onus Helm is the first game from B-Cubed Labs, who describe it as “randomly generated action adventure game with Rogue-like elements”. Featuring permadeath, various weapon pickups, and a roster of enemies and bosses, there is, on paper at least, very little to separate The Onus Helm from a deluge of similar titles. A little time spent with The Onus Helm’s free demo, however, should be enough to convince you of a uniquely unsettling aesthetic. Mysterious and mournful, as if some terrible curse had sapped the life from its inhabitants.
Take the Helm
On your quest to remove the strange helm, you’ll travel through a “a seemingly endless maze looking for a way to overcome its burden”. The combat is a slightly frantic, top-down affair, often requiring you to keep track of multiple enemies and attack patterns.
B-Cubed Labs list the following features on their Kickstarter page:
- Melee and ranged combat
- Randomly generated levels
- Wide range of weapons and items to collect
- Keyboard & gamepad controller support
- Wide variety of bosses and enemies to defeat
- Built in speed run clock
If The Onus Helm sounds like a good fit to you, you can check out the campaign here.