Enjoy brawling? Hate evil spirits? Do forests put a smile on your face? If your answer is yes, then No Mercy might be for you.

No Mercy is a side-scrolling-brawler game set in the forest where an ancient darkness, the Corruption, has been unleashed. It is up to Elliot, Ray, Belle, and Orion to defeat this evil and restore order to the forest. No Mercy is being developed by Multivarious Games, a game studio based in Columbus, Ohio. They host an annual gaming expo called GDEX and a gaming and tech space for Ohio game developers called Sandbox.

Multivarious games are striving to make Columbus a hotspot for video game development, having grown to 1,100 members since the studio’s creation six years ago.

In the demo, you can play as Elliot, a fast-paced human armed with a chain whip and his fists, or Ray, a mysterious, ghost-like creature who can summon spirits to empower his ranged and special attacks. Ray is more powerful than Elliot thanks to his special attack – after standing still and absorbing energy, Ray deals heavy damage in a small area around him.

According to their Kickstarter, this game was named after its intended style of gameplay: No Mercy. Players must slay slugs, spirits, and corrupted golems destroying the forest by either bringing everything they have to the table or button mash their way through the game.

With this in mind, I first went the button-mash route as Elliot. Surprisingly, even this required an ounce of strategy because I had three attacks to choose from: primary, secondary, and special. Elliot’s primary is a swift punch, his secondary shows him spinning his chain whip in the air (similar to spinning a lasso) and slamming it down, and his special sends his chain whip a far distance towards an enemy and pulls himself to them. After I button-mash all of these attacks, it was no surprise to me when the swift punches were the most effective when you use it as if you’re frantically using Morse code to send for help. The strategic strategy for playing Elliot is to use your special ability to hook close to enemies, immediately use his secondary, and follow up with his primary. If done correctly, enemies caught in the chain whip are sent into the air, tied by the chain whip, and then smashed to the ground, leaving them stunned for your swift punches.

This demo consists of two stages, and after completing them as Elliot I replayed them as Ray. Before I played as Ray, I wanted to find out if I could play the character without resorting to button mash. Thankfully I succeeded thanks to the character’s superior attacks. Ray’s primary can be pressed quickly for a punch or held down to absorb energy, eventually shooting out an orb (damage increases the longer it’s held down) at the cost of movement. Although Ray’s special ability also costs you movement speed to absorb energy, it allows you to send out damage in a small area around you. Unlike Ray’s primary, you can quickly tap the special ability and use it, however, it’s far more effective when held down over a period of time as it increases your damage. I think Ray’s secondary should switch places with the special ability because of how powerful the secondary is. It doesn’t deal damage but instead summons spirits who enhance your primary and special. These spirits are left in the general area they are used and can be picked up. Move quickly though, as they will eventually scatter and disappear. I found if you summon spirits while you need to move (whether for dodging enemies or progressing through the stage), your attacks become nearly instant-kills against enemies.

Each character possesses unique attacks and advantages, including their “show no mercy” ability. When enemies are slain, they drop collectible black droplets. After collecting enough black droplets to fill your “show no mercy” bar, characters can activate their “show no mercy” ability. Based on what I’ve found in the demo, Elliot and Ray have a similar “show no mercy.” When activated, both characters have their attacks slightly enhanced until the meter runs out. Picking up black droplets extends the time “show no mercy” is active.

The artwork in No Mercy draws your curiosity. Elliot has an arm similar to the golems, and Ray’s face is strikingly similar to a handful of the enemies you are slaying. Was Ray originally evil and turned good? Or is Ray pretending to be on Elliot’s side only to betray Elliot in the end? These answers remain unknown.

To download the demo, visit their Kickstarter campaign here. For more information on No Mercy, go to the developer’s website here.

Jeremy Hetcher

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