Pathfinder: Gallowspire Survivors

Pathfinder: Gallowspire Survivors Early Access PC Review

Nowadays, if you see any game with the word “Survivors” in it, then you immediately assume it’s another Vampire Survivors clone. While this isn’t inherently negative, every new iteration should bring something new to the table. BKOM Studios’ latest venture, Pathfinder: Gallowspire Survivors, unfolds within a spin-off segment of the Dungeons and Dragons universe. We had the opportunity to explore this game prior to its Early Access release on Steam, and while it promises an enjoyable experience, it doesn’t quite break the mold.

If you’ve dabbled in any Vampire Survivors-related game previously, then you’ll feel right at home here. Your role primarily involves guiding an auto-attacking character through relentless waves of menacing creatures. Right from the outset, you’re presented with a selection of three character classes: Fighter, Rogue, and Wizard. Each class boasts a distinct ultimate ability, ranging from time manipulation to conjuring protective barriers. Additionally, you have the option to opt for a male or female iteration of each character, a subtle but appreciated touch.

“The game operates seamlessly on my PC, boasting swift loading times and smooth frame rates.”

Despite its placement within the expansive Pathfinder universe, I found it challenging to become emotionally invested in the narrative, or the lack thereof. The storyline seems to revolve around thwarting the malevolent entity known as Tar-Baphon in his attempt to break free, yet it fails to captivate. Furthermore, the game’s graphical presentation, while serviceable, lacks any remarkable qualities. It effectively fulfills its purpose but doesn’t leave a lasting visual impression. However, it does effectively capture the somber ambiance characteristic of tabletop RPGs, employing a fitting palette of dark purples and reds.

Given its modest polygonal visuals and genre, Pathfinder: Gallowspire Survivors doesn’t impose significant demands on the technical front. It operates seamlessly on my 3080 PC, boasting swift loading times and smooth frame rates.

One of the standout features in Gallowspire Survivors is the inclusion of a loyal AI companion who fights alongside you on the battlefield. Interestingly, this companion belongs to a different class than the one you selected for your main protagonist.

Your primary objective is straightforward: endure waves of relentless monsters as you navigate the map, with your character and their companion coordinating attacks at intervals. As you progress, you’ll earn experience points to level up and uncover loot chests containing upgraded active and passive abilities to enhance your strength. Opening these chests triggers a roll of a 20-sided dice, determining the number of rewards you receive. Loot items are color-coded, adhering to the standard tier system, where orange signifies ultimate, blue represents rare, purple denotes ultra-rare, and so forth.

“Gallowspire Survivors falls under the roguelike category.”

To inject more unpredictability into the gameplay, the game incorporates three randomly generated quests or missions for each playthrough. These objectives may include defeating a specific number of elite enemies or clearing a certain number of floors. Accumulating a predetermined number of kills, as indicated in the upper left corner of the screen, culminates in victory on the current floor, transporting you to the next round.

Along the way, you’ll encounter formidable bosses, who are particularly challenging on your first few runs. This is due to the game’s inherent design, which prohibits dodging or blocking the boss’s attacks, forcing the player to either evade attacks from distance or utilize damage-absorbing abilities.

Since Gallowspire Survivors falls under the roguelike category, where you retain very little upon death, you restart from the first floor each time. However, you do retain accumulated experience points, which you can invest in leveling up your characters, as well as gold to reroll hard-to-complete missions.

Skill points can be allocated to improve one of six attributes: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Furthermore, you can also develop and advance your companion, emphasizing the value of investing in something beyond yourself. Currently, the game boasts five difficulty levels, sixteen floors, three biomes, and four bosses. As this game is slated for Early Access, we can expect ongoing developer updates to introduce additional content before full release. Fortunately, there is still a decent amount of content already available.

Pathfinder: Gallowspire Survivors is similar to Vampire Survivors

At the end of the day, Pathfinder: Gallowspire Survivors doesn’t stray too far from the formula that Vampire Survivors pioneered, adhering to a familiar formula. However, it manages to captivate with its immersive gameplay, particularly for enthusiasts of tabletop RPGs.

It serves as the ideal title for a few quick playthroughs before your attention turns elsewhere, making it a promising addition to the Steam Deck, which is a goal the developers have their sights set on for the full release. For the low launch price of US$6.99, Pathfinder: Gallowspire Survivors is definitely worth it.

Pathfinder: Gallowspire Survivors is set to debut on PC via Steam Early Access on September 14, 2023. You can check the game out here. Due to the game being in Early Access, Game Crater does not provide a review score until the game has fully released.

*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PC; code was provided by the Publisher.