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Review: No Place for Bravery is a Great Sekirolike for Newcomers of the Subgenre

Can you find Bravery here?
Thorn and Phid on a mountain
Image via Glitch Factory

As a gamer who would consider themselves an enjoyer of the hardcore action RPG genre of games like Dark Souls, Elden Ring, and Sekiro, I’m always on the hunt for indie releases that try their hand at being one of the next great titles that players around the world fawn over. When I initially heard about Ysbryd Games and Glitch Factory’s latest release, No Place for Bravery, I knew that I had to try it for myself.

A gorgeously-crafted pixel art game with a sweeping score and promising combat and progression loop, it was a game I really looked forward to playing, for possibly hours at a time. After having now had a lot of time with the game, I can honestly say that the game is indeed fun and will check a lot of boxes, specifically ones newer players to the subgenre may be looking for.

No Place for Bravery Review Biggest Takeaway

  • The learning curve in No Place for Bravery is what you make it.
  • Its world is gorgeous and begs to be explored.
  • No Place for Bravery moves organically without anything feeling rushed.
  • This is a great title for newbies to the hardcore action RPG scene.
  • The game loses some points for polish.

Review Score: 8

Combat is Difficult Though Not Unforgiving

No Place for Bravery Blood Pool
Image via Glitch Factory

When it comes to combat in No Place for Bravery, it’s actually a pretty simple premise. Over the course of the game, you’ll amass a small arsenal of weapons: a sword, hammer, and crossbow, with the chance to upgrade these weapons with better skills and abilities which will make you more effective in combat. Additionally, you have skills you can use, with light and heavy attacks for the melee weapons.

Weapons play a big part in gameplay aside from being things you use to kill your enemies with, as they work as keys to unlock additional areas of the game’s map. It gives No Place for Bravery more of a Metroidvania spin, making you want to backtrack to certain areas in order to obtain skill points that you’ll use to unlock the upgrades and skills for your weapons.

When it comes to actually using those weapons on your enemies, it can be a fun time to be had, for sure. Enemies have varying attacks, of course, with no two ever really feeling the same. Even the enemies that are mainly there as fodder can and will get the better of you whenever they can. Boss fights are intimidating, and you will replay them many, many times. But nothing ever felt too difficult or unfair at all. It’s a well-oiled machine as far as the combat aspects of the enemies go.

When it comes to your main character, Thorn, he does a decent job at attacking as well. With a game like this being played from the top down, it can be difficult to pitch him toward the right enemies, but luckily, you can lock onto them. It does become a bit cumbersome though when you’re trying to block enemy arrows, as pitching him in just the right angle can be easier said than done.

Swinging your weapons and dodging enemies though, for the most part, really works effectively, and I had a pretty positive time fighting these hordes of murderous zealots. I loved each weapon for the purpose it served, and was actually enjoying the fact that I could switch between them on-the-fly without worry.

Related: Review: Soulstice is an absolute spectacle to behold

Newbie Friendly Settings

Something that I truly appreciate about No Place for Bravery is that the developers have really made this game an experience that players can tailor to their own needs. For instance, there are a lot of various settings for difficulty in-game that allow you to change just about everything about it.

Not only can you choose between the preset difficulty settings of Story Mode (Easiest), No Place for Bravery (Medium), or You Are Not Prepared (Hardest), you can totally adjust the sliders for player health, player defense, player stamina, player damage, and player parry window to your own liking.

It allows players, no matter their skill level in this type of game the chance to play, train, and eventually take on the harder difficulties. The best part? You can change these settings at will and continue on without having to worry about starting a new save at all. Now that’s epic!

The Art Style is a Vibe

If you’re looking for a game that has a lot to offer both visually and audibly, No Place for Bravery is fantastic. Each and every new location and biome is absolutely gorgeously illustrated. I really wasn’t expecting the game to look as good as it did. Playing it on a Nintendo Switch OLED is a treat for the eyes as it really feels like this is how the game was meant to be played. It’s its purest form really.

I also found the game’s audio to be superb, especially for an indie title. The music is extremely effective at making you feel like you’re connected to the world’s lore, getting an understanding of this unique new land. The regular sounds, like a sword hitting armor or coins being picked up are also great and incredibly satisfying to hear, over and over.

There Are Areas for Improvement

A campfire in the woods.
Image via Glitch Factory

With as much as I truly love No Place for Bravery, I was a little saddened when I’d find bugs or other issues in-game that would actively take me out of the immersion I was feeling. I experienced issues where the game would seemingly freeze when pulling up a save game, the menus would go crazy while in-game, choosing its own options while I was navigating them, and the game even froze and crashed on me entirely a time or two while playing.

It’s unfortunate because No Place for Bravery really does a fantastic job in most cases, so little things like this are really noticeable when there isn’t too much to complain about when playing a new game. I think just a couple more weeks in the oven would’ve done this game good to release in tip-top shape.

A Happy Place for Bravery

I think that No Place for Bravery is an extremely special game that I am happily going to continue to play, again and again, because of its unique world and fun gameplay loop. This isn’t a game you’re going to get tired of easily because it just does everything right. It doesn’t try to go too far or play with gimmicky mechanics.

I’d also argue that this game, especially on lower difficulties, is actually a pretty cozy title when all is said and done. Though its story is anything but, the world just looks so easy on the eyes, luring you in like a siren song.

If you’re someone who’s new to the action RPG subgenre and need something to help you work out your muscles for the Elden Rings of the world, this is a great place to start. And even if you’re a veteran of these types of games, you’ll find a lot to love because this game can also be pretty unforgiving on harder difficulties.

No Place for Bravery is available now on the Nintendo Switch and PC.

Be sure to check out our other pieces of coverage for No Place for Bravery!

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