EndCycle Vs is a fast paced, action RPG, set in a grid formation. Developed and published by 12B3.
EndCycle Vs contains a few single player campaigns. There are various stories, mostly about a group of heroes trying to rid various areas of monsters called “Noises”. There are plenty of characters and Noises (who become playable when unlocked). It mostly seems like a combination of resistance fighters and exterminators. But after all, the story isn’t the main focus of the game.
Gameplay in EndCycle Vs, is very similar to the Megaman Battle Network series. This isn’t by accident either, the devs are big fans of the series and make an effort to construct their own MMBN experience.
Battles are split into two teams, with varying amounts of characters. Each side must try to destroy the other side. Although I mention sides, battles can be set up with enemies flanking a character. The battle area is split into a grid, with blue, red and grey spaces. Your character moves on their color (i.e. blue characters move on blue and red on red spaces). The grey spaces are neutral, which means both teams can occupy them.
Battle occurs in real time, so you can constantly move if you want to. Moving is also preferable as you will need to dodge enemy attacks and line up your own.
You have three sets of moves that can be swapped on the fly. Each set contains four moves that are mapped to the face buttons (A, B, X, Y). The moves can be customised and powered up or completely replaced with new ones.
VOC’s are the names of the moves in EndCycle VS. And can be anything from a cannon or sword, to healing or area steals. There are multiple factors to consider when selecting a set up. The game gives you a starter kit to start you off, which is split into Attack, Healing and Defence, and area steal. However you can reconfigure them, moving skills from all three into one or making a purely offense set up if you want.
Each VOC will have a level, which indicates both the power and cost of the move. Higher level moves are stronger but will need more power to cast. Power builds up over time, so it might be best to use weaker moves more consistently, or dodge and wait to use stronger ones. There are also elemental traits with some of the moves which add more tactical choices. As well as considering the range of an attack. The default cannon fires on a straight line, whereas the spreadshot that fires on the same line deal damage on a cross formation if it connects. Similarly there are skills that will affect a vertical line but suffer from a horizontal shortcoming.
New chips can be won from battle or purchased from the store, these can be anything from new moves to move augments. Move augments include things like Power Up, which make an attack VOC stronger, but also increase the cost, allowing access to powerful one shot skills, that may take a while to use.
The main focus of the game. Multiplayer can be played locally on the same PC or online against friends or strangers. Whereas the single player mode has large components of working out the rhythm and flow of the AI, playing against an actual person brings a completely new challenge. Skill, luck and a good deck composition are integral to being competitive, and most rounds will come down to who has the better reflexes.
Graphically EndCycle VS uses a pixel art style. With a variety of colorful characters, and even the ability to create of customise your own. The “Noises” have interesting and varied designs, from robots to bombs to living sofas. Animations are smooth and vibrant.
Backgrounds are kept minimal, mostly like a default desktop on an old computer. One image tiled across the background, which may sound plain and boring, but with the amount of stuff happening on screen to focus on, a relatively plain background allows for greater focus.
EndCycle Vs has a pretty kickass soundtrack, the music is fun and upbeat, which fits well with the fast paced battle mechanics. Other tracks are slower and more intimidating, without detracting from the speed of the game. The tracks are mostly composed with synthesizers, which give the music an organic but still electronic feel.
Sound effects all fit well. Cannon fire, explosions, rush and sword attacks. Everything sounds crisp and appropriate. The most satisfying being when you attack an enemy enough to have them enter “crush” status, which allows for free hits. As they get closer to the crush status their is a tone that plays that ramps up in pitch, which makes the push to get them to crush feel more urgent.
The devs of EndCycle Vs, actively endorse modding of their game. So much that they have a mod install service built into the game, you can find mods people have made and install and activate them, everything from new game modes and maps, to my favourite, replacing characters faces with Dio from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. As I mentioned, the devs seem to enjoy seeing what the community do with the mods, so I would imagine that as the game builds up popularity, that the modding community will become somewhat of a focus.
Fast paced, easy to learn, hard to master. EndCycle VS, is a love letter to the Megaman Battle Network franchise, and a worthy entrant to the genre in its own right. With plenty of characters and VOC’s, and the ability to add new ones, both official additions from the devs and the handiwork of modders. EndCycle VS looks like it has what it takes to stick around. Filling the gap left by the lack of new MMBN titles. The last of which is now a decade old (Rockman EXE Operate Shooting Star, released 2009).
Rating: 7/10 – For fans of MMBN, fast paced RPG’s and modding.
Title: EndCycle VS
Release Date: 2 Jan 2019