Ziggurat 2 Review – Wonderful Roguelite With a Wizardly Experience

Developed By: Milkstone Studios

Published By: Milkstone Studios

FPS, Action Roguelite

Thank you so much to Milkstone Studios for providing a review code

FPS games are only a genre I have recently started to warm up to. I played Gunfire Reborn for the first time about 6 months back at the request of my best friend and I really enjoyed it. It mixed gun variety with a deep permanent skill tree and many levels of difficulty. That being said, I didn’t love the game enough to say that the genre had cemented a place in my heart going forward. Now that I have spent some time with the full release of Ziggurat 2, I can honestly say, I’m really starting to love this genre.

Game Summary

  • Ziggurat 2 begins with a retelling of how The Brotherhood an organization of wizards has fallen.
  • The Brotherhood’s job was to protect the world from harm, but a civil war between the wizards within the organization caused their main base The Ziggurat to be destroyed.
  • Now monster’s have infested the land and it’s the job of our last two members of the brotherhood Argo & Corina to save it.
  • Along the way Argo & Corina will have to recruit new and old allies of The Brotherhood to repel the monster’s army.
  • Ziggurat 2 is a roguelite fps, that sees you delving into the depths of multiple dungeons, in search of treasures and allies to assist your cause.
  • As an important note Ziggurat 2’s main mode is the campaign mode with unlocks, permanent progression, and an overarching narrative. If you’re a traditional roguelite fan, there’s also a classic mode and daily challenges you can play.
  • The campaign mode will start you off with a brief tutorial outlining the game’s mechanics. When you begin a run you’ll start in one of the game’s multiple dungeon types. The dungeons range from volcanic lairs, to adbandoned mines and even floating castles.
  • Each dungeon is divided into a series of rooms and floors. Every floor has a certain number of rooms to explore. To reach the next floor you’ll have to find the key to open the door, and the door to the next floor.
  • Every room in the dungeon is procedurally generated which means you’ll never know exactly what to expect. The usual format for a room is that the door locks behind you and you can’t leave until you have vanquished every creature.
  • While many of the room’s layouts are very similar the monster’s that spawn in waves are always different. Some battles will pit you up against crossbow wielding goblins, and others against giant carrot monsters. In all seriousness the giant carrot monsters are actually very frightening.
  • There are other room types as well such as challenge rooms that provide new equipment, healing fountains to replenish health, and shops to spend your gold on.
  • At the end of every floor to proceed to the next you’ll have to fight a boss. There are multiple different bosses that can be fought depending on the floor level. Each boss is not unique, however and many of them will be repeat battles across each of your different runs.
  • That being said the bosses have enough differentiation among them so that they never feel old. Not to mention, being able to fight the bosses in multiple different runs gives them a sense of familiarity. It’s almost like you’re starting to learn who these bosses are and each time you fight one is like fighting your old nemesis.
  • After you’ve completed each floor of a dungeon you’ll be awarded with a new piece of equipment that’s added to the pool of items that can be found in a run. You’ll also be awarded with new perks that are gained when leveling up in a run and some of the game’s meta-currency “Insight”.
  • Insight is what’s used to upgrade your skill tree. The skill tree applies to all of your characters and can provide them with a range of bonuses. You can increase the bonuses you get for everything be it, maximum health, elemental damage, experience increases and more. This upgrade system is extremely customizable and allows the player to tailor it to their needs.
  • Combat is the bread & butter of Ziggurat 2 and is also what always kept me coming back. Because, you play as a wizard you main tools to combat enemies are magic tools. Every character can equipped a wand which is the most basic magic weapon.
  • All weapon types use their own type of mana has ammuniton, but the wand is unique in that it’s mana passively regenerates. The wand is the only weapon you can use that never holds any fear of running out of mana on you.
  • Besides the wand the other three classes of weapons are staffs, spells and alchemic tools.
  • Staffs are for quick bursts of damage and act almost like a stronger version of a wand. Spells are more for hitting multiple enemies at once or hitting one single enemy with a concentrated attack. Finally, alchemic weapons are for tradtional fps fans that want something a little pragmatic. These are usually guns, crossbows and grenades that are imbued with magical properties.
  • Besides, weapons you’re also allowed to have one amulet equipped in each run. Amulets give special abilities that can be used on a cooldown, or only a few times per dungeon depending on its strength. My favorite amulet could be used 3 times a dungeon and gave me invulnerability for 10 seconds each use.
  • As you defeat creatures you’ll collect experience crystals from them and level up each run. Your level is dependent on the run and every run puts you right back to level 1. Leveling up in a run gives you a small boost to a stat and allows you to pick a new perk.
  • Once you’ve completed a run you return to the Citadel where you can choose between multiple different dungeons for your next run. Every dungeon also has a rating, one for length and one for the threat level of the dungeon.
  • After completing a certain number of quests you’ll unlock the next main quest. Main quest are usually longer and tougher dungeons, but unlock a new character after complething them.
  • There’s a huge roster of 10+ playable characters, each with their own special talent. Some of the special abilities include, bringing all items on the ground towards you, repulsing all enemies in a room away from you, or my personal favorite sacrificing health to make your mana unlimited for a specific amount of time.
  • Your character’s all also come equip with a dash ability that can be used every 5 seconds. This is great for slipping away from dangerous situations, that you’ll often find yourself in.
  • The final aspect of Ziggurat 2’s gameplay I should mention is the Mastery system. Each weapon, amulet and character has a mastery level that starts at 1 and maxes out at 6. The more you use any of these the more mastery they receive. Furthermore, before starting a dungeon you can pick your loadout and there will always be a character, weapon and amulet that give a mastery bonus of 10% each for that specific fun.
  • As you increase in mastery you unlock a bonus at level 3 and level 6 that is given to you when that item/character is in use. This is another additional permanent progression system that ensures every run is always contributing towards something.
  • Visually, Ziggurat 2 mixes its fantasy setting with its gritty world building very well. Every dungeon is atmospheric and designed perfectly around the elements within it. The creature designs are great and range from spooky, to downright terrifying (I’m looking at you again carrot monsters).
  • Each weapon is designed in detail so that none of them look less interesting then the others. If a Harry Potter game was releasing at this momment, I would trust Milkstone Studios to design all of the cool magical items.
  • The characters designs aren’t the best part of the visuals but their far from being bad. They’re well designed character that each have their own unqiue characteristics, much like the game’s bosses.
  • I do wish that the game’s settings better catered to the enemy designs, however. It felt like when I was in the dungeon surrounded by lava, that I didn’t fight more fire elemental enemies. I would have really liked to see the type of enemies you fight correspond to the dungeon’s setting.
  • Sound design is good, but nothing spectacular.
  • Ziggurat 2 offers 60 achievements and players will definitely have to invest quite a bit of time to find them all.
  • The game also offers dynamic difficulty modes that can be changed anytime within a campaign.

Pros

  • Fast-paced enthralling gameplay that’s made being a wizard more fun than its ever been
  • A fantastic array of game mode options satisfying all types of players
  • Campaign mode drip-feeds the player progression at a rate that is just fast enough to make it so satisfying
  • Nice mix of missions that allow for very short and very long runs.
  • Multiple difficulty options that can be changed anytime.
  • Terrific & terrifying enemy designs
  • Magical visual design
  • Tons of achievements
  • Wide range of characters & a skill tree that incentivizes tailored customization
  • Very replayable with gameplay that never seems to bore you

Neutral

  • Having a few other types of dungeons wouldn’t have hurt.

Cons

  • A few more room types would have helped make each run feel a little less predictable. You see many of the same rooms often throughout the game with few changes.
  • Having lore accessible and as a reward for completing dungeons would have helped players feel more invested in the story.

Final Thoughts

Story
Gameplay
Visuals & Sound
Accessibility
Bang For Your Buck/Replayability
Unique Game Design

8.5/10

My Purchase Price: Buy At ($25-30$) (Note prices are in USD)

Never have I ever had such a blast playing with magic as I did in Ziggurat 2. The gameplay loop is immensely satisfying and it just offers a little something for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of roguelites with no permanent progression or prefer ample amounts of permanent progression, Ziggurat 2 has you covered. Even if you’re not a fan of FPS titles or roguelites I still implore you to give Ziggurat 2 a try. The folks over at Milkstone Studio have really hit it out of the park, and it deserves to be in your Steam Library.

Steam Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1159560/Ziggurat_2/

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