Beast Breaker places you in the role of Skipper, a brave little mouse who’s tasked with killing giant (well, to a mouse anyway…) beasts that threaten the peaceful lives of the towns and settlements populated by other adorable animals. You do so by engaging with gameplay which is one part pinball game, one part strategic RPG, which proves to be a surprisingly excellent pairing with lots of interesting ideas. The primary goal of each battle is to kill another giant crystalline monster, each of which is comprised of a series of interconnected parts with their own health bars. Only destroying one of these parts—the core—will kill the monster outright, but you often don’t have a straight shot or need to chip away at other parts before you can get to it.
Skipper is given a limited number of actions per turn, and you then select from a menu of attacks that usually result in him flinging himself toward the beast and bouncing off its crystalline hide at high speed. You’re given an indicator of where is initial trajectory will go, but Skipper often bounces off several surfaces before coming to a stop. An effective turn, then, is one where you line things up just so that he hits several surfaces at once, but you also have to take his terminal point into consideration, too. Each turn, a red zone is marked out on the field indicating where the monster will strike, and if you finish a turn in that zone, Skipper takes a hit and loses health.
It sounds simplistic at first, but this gameplay quickly shows itself to have plenty of depth. There are other weapons to use, like a bow or a hammer, and each weapon type has a different loadout to change up your playstyle. Then there’s the fact that certain actions will build up “Charge” which is a limited resource that you spend to use the more powerful abilities in your moveset. Plus, every fight is precipitated by a brief 4X-style interface where you navigate a small board and look for resources to give you an advantage in battle while the beast stalks quietly around the map. It doesn’t take long for what initially seems like a simplistic game to show off that it has plenty more ambition than you may think.
Fortunately, the presentation proves to be just as well-executed as the gameplay, going for an aesthetic that seems vaguely flash game-like but has plenty of personality. Character portraits are generally expressive and cute, while the gameplay interface is intuitive and doesn’t get too bogged down in drowning you with details.
Beast Breaker is the epitome of a hidden gem, and we would highly recommend you give it a shot. Like its main character this game may be small, but it proves to be exceedingly effective at what it sets out to do. Creative, engaging gameplay and a surprising amount of depth combine to make for an experience that may surprise at just how much it hooks you.