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Lee Howard

27 March 2023

The Guise

The Guise is a Metroidvania side-scrolling platform adventure game set in a dark and mysterious world. The Guise was developed by Rasul Mono and published by Ratalaika Games. He also developed UltraGoodness 2 (2021) on Xbox which was again published by Ratalaika Games. As soon as I saw this was published by Ratalaika Games I thought here we go, this is going to be easy to complete, badly written, and repetitive.

I have been pleasantly surprised by The Guise. I was immediately struck by the atmosphere it created from the start.


The game starts off telling a story about how the all-father vanished and left 12 children behind. The children fought and argued, slowly destroying each other, and the world that was created. The game then cuts to a scene of an orphanage room filled with kids, the kids sneak into a white-haired woman's room. After some encouragement from the other kids, your character Ogden puts on a white mask and changes into a monster. The white-haired lady comes back and is angry, but surprisingly offers to help Ogden. At this point you take control of the character, I found the controls a little unusual. To do a dodge you press the left button, to do an acid spit attack you crouch and press b, and to do a big attack you crouch and press x. To make it more interesting you can heal yourself by pressing b once you have killed 10 baddies. I often healed myself by accident as I was trying to dodge out of the way, and the spit attack took a little too long to do quickly when in the heat of a battle.


After some platforming, and killing a few monsters, I came across my first boss. The monster looked a bit like a Loch Ness monster and it could spit acid and smack you with its head. After many, many (many) attempts I came across the biggest issue with this game, the boss fights. I soon gave up all hope of working out how to kill this boss and searched for some help. Basically, you stand next to the monster, jump every time he attacks, do very little damage, then jump and do little damage again, rinse and repeat. I came across another boss not long after, who had another annoying repetitive attack. Ratalaika Games (rightly) has a reputation for releasing games that are all about getting Xbox Achievements. The completion video I found for The Guise was 35 minutes long, in the short time I played I managed to get 6 achievements out of 11 and completed about half of the game. This game is perfect if you are trying to get a quick 1000 Xbox GamerScore.


I really liked the graphics; it was interesting going back and looking at Rasul Mono's previous games. The characters have the same look, just not as bright, but the backgrounds have had a huge boost in quality. They really give you a dark and dirty feel of death and decay. There are nice touches of your controller vibrating when the lightning strikes and the rain and fire look great on screen. What’s impressive is it’s all for just over 1GB of disk space. What struck me about the music was the piano playing at the start, it really stood out and suited the feel of the game, throwing in a few cracks of thunder and lightning and it really set the mood. The other sound effects were pretty standard, sadly no voice-over work at all, but then as a one-person developer and a $5 game that is to be expected.


Overall, this is a pretty basic platformer, with extra mechanics of upgrading your character by finding Amulets, and when you defeat monsters you get eyes that can be spent on upgrades. I think this was a nod to the all-father who was all about the eye in Norse mythology. If you can get your head around repeating the same move for 5 minutes to defeat a boss, then it’s worth a look for the quick completion.


The Bad

- Graphics look great
- Quick completion
- Cheap
- Immersive audio

- Difficulty curve
- Tedious boss battles
- Controls are confusing

The Good

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