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The Story Goes On (Xbox)

Developed by Scarecrow Arts, The Story Goes On is available now on PC (Steam) for £5.79 and Xbox One for £6.39.

The Story Goes On is a hack and slash adventure game with roguelike elements. You have found yourself in the unfinished storybook of a crazed author which is on the brink of being discarded forever. Delve into the depths of mysterious dungeons filled with strange enemies and wondrous loot to discover what it truly means to be a hero worth writing about.

The Story Goes On isn’t an overly complex game and perhaps that is what makes it so brilliant. With everything combined with graphics, sounds and gameplay, it is a game which is accessible to all gamers regardless of age or capability.

The soundtrack in The Story Goes On is original, striking and enhances the game by adapting and evolving according to your environment as well as when you’re in combat/boss fights. The sound effects are also impressive which shines through from the offset; making The Story Goes On really feel like a game that has been made from love and passion.

The controls are responsive and incredibly simple, making the combat a pleasurable experience rather than a frustrating chore. Thankfully, you’re given a tutorial when you begin the game for the first time to ease you in to how everything works and if you do manage to forget then at the start of each run, there is a page listing all of the controls for you on a table which you can look at before you set out if you need to.

The Story Goes On is colourful, well designed and full of hidden surprises. Although each floor consists of the same sequential order of environmental stages, each of the levels are random in their layout, keeping the game varied in a familiar sort of way. There are six pages to gather which unlocks a new dungeon to warp to, these are seemingly prebuilt with set difficulty levels and introduce new mechanics, enemies and story elements.

One of the things I love most about The Story Goes On is that even though it is roguelike in that when you die, you will have to start all over again, the world is still progressing, and you always feel like you’re getting further and further through the game. There are secret areas to discover, puzzles to solve and you’ll even get to meet your sidekick.

I was amazed at how many bosses there were in The Story Goes On. Each one is brilliantly designed with a unique set of moves, some of which are harder to fight than others but after a few runs through to practice, it soon becomes second nature.  There are dozens of enemies to fight against which increases over time as you manage to progress through the game, keeping you on your toes.

To begin with, you only have one character to play as. Eventually, once you have discovered them all in their secret areas, you will have the option to choose between four characters, each with their own attack and special abilities. I preferred playing with the base character, he just seemed the easiest to use and his grappling hook certainly came in handy.

Death is inevitable in The Story Goes On, you have 3 hearts which deplete in halves as you get hit (6 hits and its game over!) but with any luck, you’ll find some health hidden around the rooms. There is a substantial number of items to be looted, some of which will provide standard improvements to speed, damage, etc. and others which pack more of a punch in a more unique way, rainbow trails, turtle doves and fire breath are just a few of my favourites.

As you kill enemies you’ll earn gold which you can use to purchase items such as potions, upgrades or a mystery box when you are in-between levels at the scarecrow’s shop. You may also find a silver key (different from the boss key which you’ll need to access the end of level boss) which will open one of the many chests you’ll stumble upon as you traverse the dungeons. I have had at one point, 8 keys to use up and open some chests and I am not joking when I say 4 of the chests I opened had a health pickup inside! Typically, I had full health at the time, so they were essentially wasted keys which was a little frustrating but made almost no difference long term, as most of the useful upgrades came from purchasing items.

The one slight issue that I have found in The Story Goes On is that there are times with no clear-cut instruction and I felt that it was by chance that I managed to progress, even once credits had rolled a new portal appeared and it was again by chance that I discovered what appears to be a boss rush mode. I appreciate the game was trying to create a feeling of discovery rather than spoon feeding everything to the player but initially it seemed to lack a sense of direction.

Overall, The Story Goes On is a wonderful game. Every time I thought I had experienced everything in the game, I encountered something new and unexpected. If I had to give it a score it has to be 9/10. This is quite possibly my favourite game of the year, so far! Very highly recommended.

The Story Goes On has 29 achievements available for a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. A respectable achievement list, featuring mostly progression-based achievements which will unlock through natural gameplay. There are one or two which you may miss the first time through, but you’ll be replaying levels frequently and odds are, you’ll unlock them at some point. If you need any help or guidance with any of the achievements, then head over to True Achievements where you will find plenty of useful information.

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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