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Kurr Snaga Review - You Not Gorn

Gaming article by Ron Welch on May 22, 2019 at 11:00 AM
Review

I really don’t know what I expected. I saw Kurr Snaga and thought, “this looks like Gorn.” When I realized it wasn’t a VR game, I thought Kurr Snaga might be an interesting take on the same kind of gameplay. While Kurr Snaga is thematically similar to Gorn, it plays like a slower Skyrim, and ultimately just made me want to play Gorn instead.

You play a lone Orc in a fantasy world. Your goal in each level is to kill the designated number of humans. That’s it. Kurr Snaga features six maps, each repeated three times. Each map presents different environmental hazards, one of which is a pair of water-themed levels. These probably should have been lava themed since both you and your enemies die if so much as a pinky toe touches the deep blue.

 

Since Kurr Snaga is all about the combat, it should be pretty satisfying, right? Unfortunately, no. Kurr Snaga bills itself as fast-paced melee brawler, but it’s just not there. This is mostly because of an extremely limited move set. Your Orc can only charge attack, throw weapons, kick, or block. You can’t even use your fists. If you find yourself unarmed, you just have to run around the map, attracting a conga-line of enemies until you find a sharp piece of metal.

Unpacking Kurr Snaga's Underdeveloped Combat

kurr snaga knight
The environments look really nice. They're probably the best part of Kurr Snaga.

The charge attack is ultimately what makes the combat feel slow. Whether you’re using a dagger or a war hammer, you have to hold the attack button for a full second before the swing. The result is infuriatingly slow swordplay where the enemy attacks, you step to the side, and then you release your charge attack. Kurr Snaga might have the illusion of fast gameplay if you could control your FOV and mouse sensitivity, but you can’t. You can't even change the key bindings.

 

You can also throw any weapon you find. This functions almost identically to the charge attack, but with range. If an enemy is blocking, your thrown weapon just deflects off their sword. It’s honestly frustrating that every weapon plays exactly the same. Throwing a sickle at someone has the same effect as throwing your greataxe. Enemies die in one hit, so there’s not even the satisfaction of wailing on a fully armored knight until they finally fall over.

The kick is similar to the Gravity Boots in Bulletstorm. Enemies and deadly physics objects go flying across the area, bowling over anything in their way. Enemies collapse if a physics object so much as brushes their shoulders. Even blocking enemies can’t defend against a kick or an object, which automatically makes kicking the best weapon in the game. Why throw your easily blocked sword, when you can just kick a boulder in their general direction? For these reasons, I played the last two levels without using any weapons.

 

Punishing Kurr Snaga's Awful Enemy AI

kurr snaga flooded village
Bowling for Humies

Blocking is weird. As long as you have a weapon, you can hold it sideways and protect yourself from all incoming damage. It even defends against multiple attacks. Oddly, there’s no stamina bar for blocking. You can block indefinitely, leaving the AI completely helpless because it's not smart enough to flank or attack from behind, something that's been expected from melee combat since 2007's Assassin's Creed. Of course, if you’re feeling pacifistic, you might just hold block and let the enemy knights kill themselves or glitch out of time and space.

Kurr Snaga's enemies are dumber than a Level 0 Orc. Enemies will not defend themselves unless they’re already attacking you. This means you can stand straight across from a knight, make eye contact with him, and throw a mace into his forehead. They have set attack patterns which consist of walking up to you and doing a single attack animation based on their weapon. If you step to the side, take a step back, or just block, they have no way to defend themselves. Enemies are so focused on running toward you in a straight line that they’ll walk directly into spiked barricades, instantly killing themselves. I can’t even say it’s fun to watch them stumble through the battlefield. The only fun enemies have to offer is when they hit you. Taking damage catapults you into the air, almost like getting shot with the Force-A-Nature.

I wish Kurr Snaga had dismemberment. Or even impaling. When you hit someone, they vomit ketchup all over you and fall over. That’s it. Crushing someone with a boulder has the same effect as poking them with your dagger. It feels like a missed opportunity that could have added some much-needed variety. That's really the big takeaway from Kurr Snaga. There are a lot of good ideas here, but they're only surface level. A hack and slash brawler with slow combat, weak enemy variety, one-hit kills, and cartoon gore just isn't going to cut it in such a competitive space.

Kurr Snaga Review | Hacking Away at the Problem

kurr snaga arena
These enemies walked right into the barricade and died instantly.

Gameplay gets really repetitive and so does the music. Kurr Snaga starts up to a fun fantasy-rock title song, but a second, softer song plays on every single level in a 30-second loop. If you die, the song starts over. Add to this that each level is only 2-3 minutes long and you might as well mute the music and put on your own hack-and-slash fantasy playlist. Kurr Snaga left me bored because every level was the same slow, buggy gameplay in slightly different environments set to the same looping tune.

 

In addition to everything else, Kurr Snaga has more bugs than an Orc’s kitchen. Enemies clip through objects, sometimes disappearing into solid walls and mountains only to come out slashing only a second later. There were a few times where I'd rush an enemy, only to watch my kill quota tick down from 20 to 15 without any explanation. Some enemies ran off the map and others glitched through the floor, dying instantly. Of course, enemies despawning just meant less work for me.

Characters tend to snag on angular surfaces. How unfortunate that Kurr Snaga’s final level takes place on the slanted rooftops of a drowned village. Enemies will stutter through the geometry until they just give up, drop their weapon, and inexplicably fall out of the world. You sometimes find yourself stuck in the geometry as well. When that happens, you have to choose between navigating through the world or making a risky jump. Just remember, missing your jump and falling in the water means restarting the level.

Kurr Snaga feels unfinished. It identifies itself as a fast-paced brawler, but that’s just not how it plays. The combat is slow and ultimately comes down to kicking fleshy things into sharp things. The enemies are dumb and prone to just leaving the game, perhaps out of embarrassment. Environments are full of collision errors. Worst of all, the combat is as repetitive as the music. Kurr Snaga may not be a great fantasy brawler, but it is an amazing advertisement for Gorn.


TechRaptor reviewed Kurr Snaga on PC via Steam with a copy provided by the developer.

Review Summary

3.0

Kurr Snaga wants to be a fun and fast fantasy brawler, but it feels unfinished. The pieces are here for a satisfying melee combat game, but it needs to be further developed. The AI is weak. The combat is clunky and repetitive. The maps are buggy. Even the 30-second music loop feels unfinished. In its current state, Kurr Snaga feels like a pre-alpha proof of concept.

Pros

  • Reactive Environments
  • Fun Level Design
  • Arcade-Style Battle Arena
  • High Replay Value

Cons

  • Limited Moveset
  • Identical Weapons and Enemies
  • Poor Enemy AI
  • Game-breaking Bugs.
  • No Controls Options
  • Repetitive Soundtrack
  • Very Short

About the Author

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Ron Welch

I love dissecting game design, seeing what works and what could be improved. While RPGs, shooters, and strategy games are my favorites, I'll tackle just about anything. I also do voice overs, make an award winning wing sauce, and (formerly) write about post-apocalyptic goodness.