Programming is a key part of gaming and it's no easy task. Even an expert with code can create something that works flawlessly every single time until one day, it just doesn't. Then, it's a whole thing to try and figure out why things have suddenly gone wrong, and sometimes it won't manifest until the game is already packed and shipped out. There are many videos of players posting some of the wildest bugs and glitches they've found, but what if that was the main goal? Clearly, it's what the devs at Bit Nine Studio with their title tERRORbane. This retro RPG is stuffed to the brim with bugs which is just what the creator intended.
RPG stories have a reputation for being all over the place, going from standard affairs to overly complex scenarios that only get more confusing as you play. In terms of tERRORbane, things are confusing right from the start with the usual RPG plot acting as a base. In a magical fantasy world, there was a goddess of light and with that light came darkness and an evil villain to control it. Said villain unleashed monsters upon the world and it's up to the champion of the goddess and chosen hero Terrorbane to save the day. However, you'll be more occupied trying to get through the game's programmed glitches while the dev pops up to hound you.
Though bugs are not something a person wants to encounter in a game, they can be very amusing when encountered. Since tERRORbane revolves around this, there's a lot of entertainment to be found. A big chunk of it comes from the comedy angle of the whole game. It's presented as a meta adventure with many characters seemingly being aware of the fact that they're in a bugged game as well as the dev himself appearing to talk at you when things go wrong. The bugs come in all shapes and sizes covering recognizable tropes as well as random humor.
The game itself is presented as something of a scavenger hunt. There are the typical mechanics of exploring and random battles, but all of the encounters are made to be memorable due to their oddities. When battling, you'll never fight the same battle twice and the rules can switch on you randomly. As you continue to explore looking for ways to literally break the game, you never know what's going to happen. There are no wrong answers and multiple paths to take based on what grabs your curiosity.
Though glitches and bugs can be enjoyable, they can also be very annoying and inhibit you from enjoying the game. Even though tERRORbane is all about the errors, the game itself has some things that hold it back. The main one is the sense of challenge and difficulty. There isn't a single point in the game where it feels like you're going to lose. When you do get a game over, or it seems like you will, you quickly learn that the punishment is non-existent and can even work to your benefit in progressing the story. This may add to the zaniness of it all, but it doesn't feel like you're achieving anything.
Then there are the bugs themselves and how they're implemented. A core aspect of the game is going wherever you can and finding as many bugs as possible. While some areas will ask you to use the glitches in order to advance, a majority of them are simply aesthetic. It's interesting to see how they affect the world but disappointing that only so few of them come into play in any meaningful way. There was a missed opportunity to gather glitches like items and abilities to use in battle and exploration.
tERRORbane Review | Final Thoughts
tERRORbane is a game in the style of retro 2D pixel RPGs where the goal is to try and make it to the end while navigating and cataloging glitches. It's a humorous take on the idea that keeps you guessing what's gonna happen next with every decision. However, it does lack challenge and variety in how the glitches are used which lessens the experience. Despite all this, it's enjoyable to put the error in Terrorbane.
TechRaptor reviewed tERRORbane on Switch with a copy provided by the publisher. It is also available on PC.
- A meta adventure with a smooth sense of humor.
- A blend of different types of encounters with unexpected results to keep you guessing.
- Captures retro RPG tropes in an entertaining way.
- Little challenge or difficulty in terms of fighting and progression.
- Lack of variety in how bugs are used in gameplay.
- Short with little time to build a sense of accomplishment.