Xaviant's Don't Die, Minerva! is a spooky roguelite that's currently in Early Access/Game Preview, and I already love it. You play as Minerva, a young girl trapped in a haunted mansion, with nothing but a flashlight to defend yourself.
It follows the same basic premise of roguelite gameplay at its core. Randomly generated levels with a loot based system to improve as you go. We've seen a lot of roguelites lately, so it's always nice to see one that looks as pretty as DDM does whilst working so well.
The art style of Don't Die, Minerva! is gorgeous, with a very Halloween-y colour palette and aesthetic. Minerva has a little gothic vibe going on, and the house itself looks like it's right out of a horror movie. The lighting works really well throughout each level, between the light from your torch and other sources in the house such as flickering candles. Sound design is done fantastically also, with spooky music playing as well as the eerie sound of wind outside to set you right on edge.
A twin-stick shooter through and through, you can fight ghosts and ghouls easily enough if you've played other games of the genre. The Binding of Isaac definitely has a lot to do with how I've learned to move with twin-sticks, and it really helped me here. Dodging around projectiles and ensuring I was within range of damaging enemies, whilst also picking up any loot or essence along the way. The controls sometimes felt a little more awkward than the likes of TBOI, which took a bit of getting used to, but hopefully this will be tightened up come full release.
The aforementioned essence that you pick up can be traded in once per level by tossing a coin into the bloody fountain and being transported outside to the starting area. Here you will find the butler, and by giving him your collected essence, you can unlock additional features that will be permanent instead of resetting each time you die. You can also spend coins on new items, clothing and pets in order to give you a fighting chance when working your way through the mansion. If you come across the blood-fountain before you've completely cleared a floor, leave it and come back, as I said, it can only be accessed once per level so if you waste your trip outside, then that's on you. Don't say I didn't warn you.
One slight annoyance with this is the backtracking you'll likely find yourself doing, as you might find the end room before the fountain, or vice versa (or you might even miss the large chest room, in which case you might want to go look around some more!). Thankfully, one of the upgrades that can be unlocked is the ability to fast travel via your map, this makes clearing a floor so much simpler as it removes the long, tiresome treks to and fro as you wipe out the apparitions.
As this game is still in Early Access, we will not be giving it a final rating. We will revisit it upon release and do an updated review then. But for now, we're enjoying it. It has a free trial available on Xbox One - so give it a go!
Have you tried Don't Die, Minerva! yet? What do you think of it?
Let us know in the comments below!
- V x