Video Game Review: Vicious Circle

Disclaimer: Since I am a Rooster Teeth First member, the company’s paid membership for exclusive content and other incentives, I did get the game for free. I went in with an open, objective mindset, but I thought anyone reading should know this before going into the review.

Rooster Teeth, the internet production company known for Achievement Hunter, animated shows like Red vs. Blue, and a variety of podcasts, has released the first developed game from their Rooster Teeth Games division. Vicious Circle has a unique premise along with some other nice touches, but it lacks enough depth for extended play sessions.

The idea is simple, a group of mercenaries must collect nuggets, a cosmic good, to escape from the level from a deadly monster. Only one can survive, so everyone must work together then stab each other in the back to escape through the evac zone, just don’t die by the rooster alien. The high-speed rounds lack any tension and do not incentivize any teamwork, just push others in the way and live.

Nuggets can be obtained from pods found around the map or stealing from other players. You can’t harm your fellow soon to be enemies, but using gadgets can not only take from them, but it can also ensure survival against any lurking creatures. Devices have a variety of uses that feel unique along with rarity to indicate usefulness.

Each character has a particular playstyle as each merc has one weapon and ability. They all stand out by their looks and powers. The guns, on the other hand, prove to be bland, useless BB guns as fighting off the giant monster proved to be pointless. Slay tiny creatures and run for those shiny goodies to escape without anyone else.

Playing as a dangerous rendition of the rooster in Rooster Teeth’s logo has a lot of power behind its abilities. The overpowered behemoth changes the pace and gameplay radically. While balancing issues are present between the two sides, I would rather play the monstrous bird.

Death has an interesting twist as it is one of the best mechanics found here. You turn into a small alien that must kill anyone to become that player’s chosen character and go on to collect those nuggets. If everyone has turned into those slimy, not very cute creatures, then the big boy monster wins.

Movement is key, yet does not always feel right. Running around has a fun speed to it, yet jumping on the other hand, weirdly feels heavy, especially the double jump. If an award went to the worst jump in gaming history, it would be Vicious Circle.

Lacking levels hurts, but the ones available have a neat, simple design. Each map sets itself apart by its layout and personality. Nothing too fancy, but a delightful touch.

Colors explode onto the screen with neon lights and bright character costumes. While the palette is gorgeous, not everything matches that level due to some watered down textures. Only once I observed this, but items in the world had some obvious pop-ins that distracted from the beauty of the scenery.

Customization hits the basic requirements with character skins, emotes, and anything else one would expect. The basket of cosmetics holds plenty to bring all four mercs to life. It might seem setting the bar low, but it does a job well done.

A wide variety of challenges under gameplay, character, event, and special categories make leveling up easier. Going through the ranks unlocks more cosmetic items, but nothing too tasteful that made me want to go through each weekly.

The developers have promised more content updates, and it seems the plans can bring more life to this somewhat lifeless multiplayer title. Lacking in content, a good feel for the gameplay, and not hitting the mark for its premise makes this a dud. A $20 price tag is tempting, so read up on updates until it is safe to put in your credit card information.

Score: 4/10

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Header image via Rooster Teeth

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