Superfuse Makes Old School Action New Again

Superfuse Preview

Are you like me, just a little tired of turn-based action and roguelikes? I thought so. If that’s the case, check out Superfuse, now in early access. It’s an isometric, hack-and-slash action game with a serious Diablo-in-space vibe. It also does a few things that the folks at Blizzard never thought of.

Dungeons in Spaaaaace…

Maybe the most immediately striking aspect of Superfuse is its art style. It has a very attractive, comic-book superhero look that’s colorful and unique for the genre. Everything, from the onscreen text to the neon colors, looks like it was ripped from a comic. There are monsters and abominations galore, but Superfuse is miles away from the usual medieval dark fantasy setting.

Actually, make that light years away. Set in the far future, you play as a mercenary of sorts, tasked by the billionaire rulers of the galaxy — known as Gods — to wipe out the corruption that is killing the population. Turns out, a dead populace is bad for business. You have a home base space station called Eros, a chock full of vendors, NPCs, and mission givers. Missions take you to various levels of the space station, as well as far-away planets and star systems. Completing a mission unlocks the ability to teleport to that area, which allows you to push forward to the next objective.

Superfuse is not, thank goodness, a roguelike. When you die you can respawn back at home base or the nearest teleporter. You don’t lose your gear, weapons, or consumables. The enemies respawn and you’ll have to trek through them again.

Classy Choices

At present, you can pick from a trio of classes: Elementalist, Berserker, or Technomancer. You can probably guess that each specializes in some form of combat, from melee to elemental-spell magic. Each class has a pretty wide range of weapons, special attacks, and short-term consumables that boost powers, defense, or damage. If you’ve played Diablo, Path of Exile, or any number of ARPGs, you’ll pick up the system easily.

The name of the game comes from its Fuse system, which allows players to combine powers and abilities in synergistic harmony. Ultimately, it’s a tech and skill tree, but it twists the idea just enough to make it interesting and fresh.

Rinse and a Lot of Repeats

Mechanically, Superfuse borrows from Diablo 2 and its legion of imitators. The interface will be immediately familiar, as will movement, combat, and spell casting. The on-screen map is a little lean on information, and doesn’t point to objectives or show enemy locations. There are also a few bugs here and there where characters balk at my attempts to change their facing or they got stuck on objects.

No matter what class you choose, the flow of combat is the same. While there are bosses, a great deal of time is spent fighting large clots of enemies. Usually, these are mixtures of faster, less powerful monsters and powerful corrupted creatures, and crowd control is essential. Every class has some way of dealing with large groups, as well as picking off single monsters from distance.

Currently, there is a fully fleshed out, eight-or-so-hours-long campaign and lots of side missions. Areas can be revisited if grinding for gear and XP is your thing. The biggest gripe I have about Superfuse is that the pacing and levels can get pretty repetitive. I also wish there was fully implemented controller support.

Sci-Fi Comics Come to Life

Superfuse looks great, and I thought the comic art style was a refreshing change. The electronic score has a Blade Runner-esque feel that fits the setting. The game’s voice acting and writing are competent but don’t fully escape the confines of a modest budget.

I can see Superfuse developing in a positive direction as it moves toward full release. The bones are there for a stylish, sci-fi alternative to humdrum dark fantasy. An old-school hack-and-slash is particularly refreshing in a gaming landscape choked with turn-based RPGs and roguelikes. Fans of isometric ARPGs and dungeon crawlers should check it out.

Thank you for keeping it locked on COGconnected.

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