Skyshine's Bedlam (PC) review
"The unlikely tale of surviving Bedlam."
There are moments in Bedlam that just make me want to cry. Or scream. Or rage. Or invent new curses because the 1,400 years the English language has had to evolve still have yet to produce words strong enough to reflect my frustration and hate. There are moments of crippling disaster when you can see your entire campaign's work undone in one bad decision or unforeseen circumstance. And it could be so many things; Bedlam insists you keep multiple balls in the air, and dropping a single one means you’re screwed. And now you’re dead. Game over. Start again.
Permadeath reigns supreme in the Judge Dredd-esque wastelands that Bedlam calls home, where you’re tasked with driving a hulking Dozer full of passengers as you search for a fabled hidden city somewhere across the border. Until you run out of fuel or food and have to decide if you should maybe mangle some of your passengers into new resources. Or you roll into a huge spiny mutant who belches acid and one-hit kills members of your defense force. Or you decide to check out that crashed satellite and rogue AI robots blow your head clean off with sniper rifles. Or you explore that cave (why would you do that?) and never come out again. Or, desperate for food, you steal some from beneath a tribute statue and, oh god, why are there so many marauders and how have they got you surrounded already?
Bedlam is going to draw a lot of comparisons to some pre-established games. Its roguelike foundations that have you plotting a course through the wastelands picking up resources as you go will automatically remind people of FTL. The caravan full of people you will mostly fail to keep alive is highly reminiscent of The Banner Saga. It’s similar to both of these games while, at the same time, being completely different. The mission is to get from A to B, much like in FTL (just without a pursuing force hurrying your steps), but real-time space dogfights have been replaced with turn-based combat. Find a threat, and you’re free to dispatch your defenders to try and neutralise it. You’ll be sending them out to die.
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