Sweet Surrender has the bones of an addictive new VR shooter.
Right now, though, it really is just that – bones. The tiny slice of this upcoming roguelite available at Steam Next Fest is a very early look at the game, but it’s just enough to suggest that Salmi Games is on the right path.
What’s there right now doesn’t stray too far from what you’re probably imagining for the genre. If you’ve played Until You Fall or In Death you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect here; Sweet Surrender swaps out swords and arrows for firearms and sees you clearing out procedurally-generated rooms of robots, upgrading your character, dying and then starting over again with the hope of doing better on your next run. The demo offers just a few levels, capped off by mini-bosses.
The game plays very smoothly right now. Weapon handling fares on the lighter, more arcadey side but enemies have chunky health bars that require chipping down with a barrage of bullets. It doesn’t feel quite ‘bullet sponge’ territory, but each is strong enough to pose a real threat to your own health bar if left ignored. While you could fire pretty competently from the hip, the strength of enemies keeps you alert in combat rather than letting you switch your brain off.
Upgrade-wise, Sweet Surrender drip-feeds little stat boosts with chips you place on your wrists. Right now it’s just fractional upgrades to health etc, but if Salmi can hone in on an upgrade path similar to the progressive satisfaction of Until You Fall, it’ll be in a good position.
If there’s a standout element it’s the art, which mixes hazy Hotline Miami vibrance with a futuristic set of clanky robots. Simply put the game looks great inside a headset, and I’m hoping we see Salmi conjure up some bigger, more impressive environments to really put it through its paces.
Maybe a little routine, then, but a rock solid take on a tried and true formula all the same. I’m not yet convinced Sweet Surrender could dethrone the retro mastery of Compound, but the game’s got its own promising upgrade path and arresting visual style that suggests the two could, at the very least, enjoy a peaceful coexistence. It’s out in late 2021 on PC VR headsets and you can try the demo for yourself right here.