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Juicy Realm

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: X.D. Network Inc.
Developer: SpaceCan
Release Date: May 3, 2018


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PC Review - 'Juicy Realm'

by Cody Medellin on June 28, 2018 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Juicy Realm is a roguelike top-down dual-stick shooter in which players must square off against bizarre fruits all across the world.

The PC has been home to roguelikes for quite some time now. It has also been home to some very solid twin-stick shooters that use both keyboard and mouse as well as dual analog stick controllers. The idea of mashing both of them together isn't new, as demonstrated in games like Enter the Gungeon, which lets you play the game solo or with a friend in tow. What makes Juicy Realm interesting is its style and the fact that it started as a mobile title with the premise of being a twin-stick roguelike. That's about it.

The premise is that you're on the losing side of a war between humans and plant life. In a short amount of time, the fruits and vegetables of the world have become sentient, and while you don't know why this has happened, you know that these natural snacks have become hostile. While you can spend some time researching their discovery via notes left behind by previous adventurers, your real task is to fight back and hope you make it out in one piece.

After being thrust into the tutorial before a title screen even appears, you're given the choice between one of four class types. Truthfully, the classes only differ in overall health and movement speed, but you never sense that difference during play. The only exception is the ninja, who starts off with a melee weapon instead of a ranged one. Though it may seem like she's initially at a disadvantage, she has the ability to destroy bullets if you time your slashes correctly. You can also choose to play either by yourself or with a friend, but that choice needs to be made at the beginning since the game doesn't support drop-in/drop-out play. You also have no option for online play, which feels like a missed opportunity for the platform.

Once gameplay begins, you'll find that the twin-stick shooting mechanics work as advertised. The controls allow for some precise shooting, and melee attacks work fine. You're limited to two weapons at a time, each with limited ammo and reload periods. You have a dash move that's limited by regenerating energy and health that can be regained by eating food. You move at a fairly decent speed, but you're not so slow that you can't avoid enemy fire.

In this regard, the weapons have received the most attention. You have a standard assortment of normal guns, like pistols and rifles, as well as some decent melee weapons in the form of various swords. Instead of doubling down on more conventional weapons, though, Juicy Realm instead opts for more humorous weapons. Some of those melee weapons include a rubber chicken or a loaf of French bread. For guns, you may encounter some shock bombs or even a Steam logo that shoots discount banners so enemies leave more coins for you to collect. None of the weapons act too differently from one another, so it feels like funny skins being grafted onto regular weapons, but at least the humor is appreciated.

As alluded to earlier, Juicy Realm takes the twin-stick shooter and infuses a number of roguelike elements to it. No matter which character you choose, you only have one life, and you lose everything once you start a new run. The weapons and enemies are randomized, and the stages change every time you die and start again. You also have the option of saving a decent amount of cash in a piggy bank, so you can access it in the next run.

If you're a fan of the genre, you'll discover that the title is missing a number of things that would make it a real roguelike. For starters, there's no real character progression in every run. For the most part, the character you start with remains unchanged in the end. The game also does a poor job of randomizing levels. The randomization is present, but changes are infrequent enough that many will mistake it for being completely static.

The weapons also suffer from this, so finding two AK-47s, for example, means there aren't any stat differences between them. The game also happens to be short, which amplifies those aforementioned flaws. None of the levels are long, so if you're a strong player, you can wrap up the game in an hour or two. You have the option to increase the difficulty level, but all that does is make enemies more resilient against bullets.

There is one area that everyone will agree on, and that is the amazing presentation. The anime style used for both the characters and the enemies is adorable, and the bold colors used for the environments make everything look rather clean, especially since it has a solid frame rate. The addition of some onomatopoeias in large comic book font also does a good job of making this a more playful shooter compared to its contemporaries. Meanwhile, while the game lacks voices, the soundtrack is epic, and the sound effects are strong.

Juicy Realm has the presentation nailed down, but everything else is merely serviceable. The shooting is fine, and the guns can be wacky, but the roguelike elements are lacking, dampening any reason to replay the game once you beat it. The short length doesn't help things, either, and while co-op is a nice touch, it doesn't extend the game's longevity. It's a fun title while it lasts, but don't be surprised if you quickly forget about it.

Score: 6.5/10

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