The rougelite genre is easily one of my favourites. I have put an insane amount of time into games like The Binding of Isaac, Enter the Gungeon and Dead Cells. Over the past year or two, I have fallen off the genre, not because of any problems with the genre but just the fact that I was playing them so much. After playing BPM: Bullets Per Minute, I got that urge to sink my teeth into the genre again, and there is no better way to do so than with the new beautifully grotesque roguelite Cavity Busters. I will try to keep the tooth puns to a minimum because the game is already filled to the brim with them.
As the title would suggest, everything about this game is based around teeth and mouths. Similarly to The Binding of Isaac, I can see this aesthetic being quite divisive; luckily for me, I love the presentation of this game. This is probably the weirdest statement I will ever make, but everything is just squelchy. From your footsteps to your tooth hitting off a wall, it’s really hideous, but it works so well. The enemies, bosses, and NPCs all look like something from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. There is plenty of visual diversity, the look of the levels, bosses, and enemies all change the deeper you delve into the game. I could take or leave the music, it’s not bad, but I can’t really remember much of it.
I can’t believe how fun this game is. We have to clear something up here, THIS GAME IS NOT THE BINDING OF ISAAC. It clearly took inspiration from it, but I can assure you that it plays completely differently. Just a little summary of the mechanics, you can dodge-roll (which can deflect bullets), shoot your tooth (either quick-fire or charged), wallride, zoom up to the sky and plummet back down Hulk-style, and then shoot your shotgum. There are plenty of different systems in it that make it feel like a significantly more engaging combat system than Isaac ever had. Just note, I’m not speaking ill of my beloved Isaac, it will always have a special place in my heart.
Just like any other roguelite, there’s a great collection of enemies, bosses, and items. There is plenty of room for synergy with the items, and I have had some insane god-like runs. There’s a really nice risk-reward system with the items, and they all have positives and negatives, one of my favourites being an item that significantly increases your max health and fully heals you at the start of a floor, but the trade-off is that you can’t pick up hearts. Now, maybe you see an item that you don’t like or that you think the negatives will be detrimental to your current run, but again, there’s a trade-off. If you don’t pick the item up, the dungeon consumes it, which in turn makes enemies harder. There’s another mechanic here that I absolutely love. You have a shovel consumable that lets you dig into a wall, which can lead to you revealing a special room or taking you to an even larger part of the floor. All of this can feel overwhelming at the start, but once you get the hang of it, it creates an amazing gameplay experience that I haven’t felt from a bullet hell roguelite in a while.
With the game being relatively unknown, it has only helped with the sense of discovery. Secrets are an integral part of roguelites, and having to discover them by myself is a great experience. Usually, I would Google it or watch Northernlion’s videos on the game, but for Cavity Busters, I’m still discovering secret rooms, bosses, and items.
Even with Cavity Busters being in early access, it feels like a complete product content-wise. It did crash a handful of times for me and during gameplay, and there were a few bugs, but nothing severely hindered my experience with it. It takes a while to get a hang of the game and its systems, but the learning process of a new roguelite is one of the main reasons why I keep coming back. It’s currently $10 on Steam, so there isn’t much to lose. As a fan of the genre, I can recommend this game to any roguelite fan. Do you plan on picking this up?
Release Date: 12th August 2020
Gaming Respawn’s copy of Cavity Busters was provided by the publisher.