Dead evil king, cursed minions called the Undying, a path to salvation that can only be conquered by a hero who can rise to a near-unbeatable challenge; in a fantasy realm that must mean it’s Wednesday. There is no happy land of magic and sunshine without a lurking horror that’s already halfway towards its goal of dragging the world down into an unending dark torment. The only real question is how bad things have gotten. Is it too late and the hero of legend will need to drive out the evil so eventually good may sprout from the charred corpse of the land, or is there still hope that the kingdom can be saved? Whichever it may be it won’t be accomplished without a serious effort, and that’s where Archvale’s bullet hell comes in.
Archvale is an action fantasy-adventure for Switch and PC that combines a little bit of roguelike with a more standard progression. There’s no permadeath but it’s built with replayability in mind, featuring a large number of potential builds based on your playstyle and gear. The starting character is the same every time but equipment controls class while badges define perks, and one of the tricks to survival is equipping them to complement each other. The other trick, of course, is the ability to not get hit, because Archvale’s fantasy kingdom is deep in the heart of bullet hell. Each new area is filled with enemies that toss out bullets by the wagonload, shooting across the screen in straight lines and curling patterns. The hero can get a good number of hearts but that may not be enough when the level is swarming with hostile creatures and their firepower crowds the arena.
Today’s Archvale announcement for its Summer release came as part of the Nintendo Direct Indie Showcase, but the game has been in development for a good while already. If you just want to check out the launch trailer it’s below, but there’s also a series of devlogs showing the interesting decisions that had to be made during the game’s long evolution, the latest of which can be found here. If you’re curious about what goes into making a big chaotic bullet-hell dungeon crawl, it’s well worth a view.