Review – Profane (Switch)
Bullet hell, boss rush, time based, and twin-stick shooter. All these, and more, are terms that can be tossed into a blender to force out what is Profane. Profane was a challenge I wasn’t ready for and a challenge I honestly had no idea I needed. But given the current state of the world, it was a great game to take my mind off everything. Developed by OverPowered Team, Profane came out last year on Steam, but now in 2020 is seeing a home release that it genuinely deserves. The bosses are tough, the gimmick is tough, and the amount of bullets that fly at you at any given time is VERY tough. Once you start to learn and once you find a way to tackle each challenge, the game is so, so satisfying.
To start, Profane has absolutely no chill whatsoever. The “tutorial” is a boss called Tutoriaal, who will probably kill you over and over, but you’ll learn the attacks slowly but surely. The hardest part is the fact that all bosses have stages. As you take down one health bar, you’ll enter the next stage of the fight and the attacks will change. It’s a whole new pattern to learn and remember, but it’s doable. All bosses have different gimmicks, some more interesting than others, and some are mind bending. If you play through the story mode, the second boss you’ll fight is Khalepo, who is basically just a four piece totem pole. This thing is properly hard and it’s the first case where you’ll come across the screen being FULL of bullets, but certainly not the last. Each piece of the totem pole has a different attack pattern, this will be the first REAL challenge of the game now that you’ve found your footing with Tutoriaal.
Profane has a few different mode. Story mode will have you facing each boss in order and unlocking different abilities as you defeat them. Arcade mode, which plays just like the story does, but has everything unlocked and allows you to pick the order you fight the bosses in. Then there are the Daily Challenge and Challenge modes, which give you specific abilities and extra modifiers for fighting the bosses. The modifiers in Challenge mode can range from less health, more damage, faster movement speed, or plenty of other things. The Daily Challenge, like in most games that offer it, only allows you one attempt to make it as far as you can. Challenge mode on the other hand, lets you start a challenge run, suspend it, and even share the seed to compete against friends.
As mentioned before, you’ll unlock abilities as you progress through the game. You’ll have your active abilities, which need abilities shards dropped by bosses to use, but also cost you time. You’ll also have passive abilities that can provide a higher rate of fire, an orb that rotates and absorbs shots, etc. In Profane, you don’t have health exactly, but you can die. The way this works is each boss has a set amount of time to take it down. As you take hits, use abilities, and obviously just play the game, this time will decrease. Once the timer hits zero, it’s not game over, but you are now a one shot kill target. Essentially, you can afford all the mistakes you want, until that timer runs out.
One thing I did notice about Profane is the fact it was MUCH easier to play on a TV than it was in handheld. Between reaction time, being able to see the shots, and being able to aim my own shots, it was all much easier on a bigger screen. It wasn’t impossible in handheld though, it was actually quite enjoyable. Since the bosses generally have a timer of three to five minutes, it’s a pretty easy game to pick up and play, especially if you have a particular boss that you find fun to fight. Plus Arcade mode lets you mess around with different builds and fight whomever you please.
Honestly, I would have to say one of my favourites was one of the harder bosses, Ylaudit. This was one of the more unique bosses, who is split into two different entities for the first part of the fight and you can only hurt and be hurt by one at a time. Light, when it’s light and Dark when it’s dark. This whole fight is mind bending to keep track of who you can attack, what shots to avoid, and letting other shots just phase through you. The music will give away when the light is about to change over and luckily, the game is fair enough to not let it happen when you’re standing in the middle of a minefield of bullets.
Profane might not have the most bosses and it might not be for someone looking for a simple pick up and play game. If you want a challenge or if you want to prove your mettle, Profane is definitely a great game to play. It’s hard and you’ll get mad, but each boss is oh so satisfying to take down. Even the first time taking down the first phase of a boss feels good. So what are you waiting for? Jump in and git gud.
The cell shaded art style lends itself well to any style of game. It can make any game feel as recent as the developer likes.
Profane is brutally hard, but fun to master. This isn’t a game for anyone who gives up easy, but a great game for the dedicated gamer.
The use of sound for some particular bosses is done really well and the music fits in with the game. Unfortunately there’s no music I would find myself listening to outside of playing it though.
Fun Factor: 8.0
It took some effort, but gaining ground on this game always felt like an achievement. Profane has been a blast to play and a game I find myself continuously returning to.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Profane is available now on PC and Nintendo Switch, .
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
A copy of Profane was provided by the publisher.