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Video Game / City of Brass

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City of Brass is a 3D first-person action Roguelike game based on the story of "The City of Brass". It was developed by Uppercut Games (a company led by former Bioshock developers), and released on May 4th, 2018 for PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One, after first spending some time in Steam Early Access. It was also ported onto Nintendo Switch on February 8th, 2019.

In it, you are simply an explorer, who intends to loot the 12 levels of the titular City of Brass of as much treasure as they can carry. Of course, the city is also filled with a lot of angry undead, many with mystical powers, who have no intention of letting an intruder plunder their place.

Tropes present in this game:

  • Advancing Boss of Doom: Staying on the level for too long results in the Dervish showing up, which is essentially a vortex of fire and sand that is completely invincible and will keep chasing you no matter what. The worst thing is that he'll eventually appear even on the levels that already have their own bosses and require you to defeat them to get to the next level.
  • Airborne Mook: Early game has floating skulls with flaming eyes and a dangling spinal cord, which will attempt to dive bomb you and blow up. Later on, there are small skeletons whose lower bodies are set inside brass lamps, like an undead version of the genies.
  • Arrows on Fire: The archer enemies shoot flaming arrows.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All the treasure in the city is cursed. Even after you defeat the Final Boss, there's no way to leave besides letting the magic chest reclaim all of the treasure you plundered. As the city disappears into the sands, your protagonist twirls what they've earned from the trip — a lone gold coin.
    • This isn't really a surprise if you go through the tutorial, as there are peaceful spirits you can interact with who'll tell you the same thing. However, many players either won't bother with the tutorial, or run through it as fast as possible, so this ending might come off as a pretty big shock.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: The whip can pull the enemies' weapons right out of their hands. Weirdly, they won't even attempt to pick them up afterwards, and just go straight for trying to claw at you with bare hands.
  • Blow You Away: There's a hurricane potion that damages everything around you with such strong winds. However, it can be rather Awesome, but Impractical, as it'll also shatter all the destructible environmental objects nearby… including the explosive vases that will damage the player as a result.
  • Bottomless Magazines: The character who fights with throwing knives carries them in sets of three, but has an infinite number of those sets.
  • Bottomless Pits: One of the trap types in the game. While they are deadly to you, you can also lure the enemies inside them.
  • Can't Move While Being Watched: There's a giant statue that plays by these rules.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: Here, levels often have passages to secret rooms hidden behind a constant stream of sand falling down.
  • Concussion Frags: You can throw jars with an explosive concoction inside. It is also the only way to deal with the statue boss.
    • A potion named Salitar Juice gives you an infinite supply of these as long as its effects last.
  • Deflector Shields: The first Gatekeeper boss is wrapped within a magic sphere that won't go away until she's finished firing several bursts of her magic orbs. The second Gatekeeper also starts off protected by one, but it goes away once the battle properly starts.
  • Dem Bones: A lot of the enemies in the game are skeletons.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: One of the early enemy types is a legless torso that can only attack through spitting out blasts of hot sand. Moreover, there's a wall-mounted trap that fires these jets of sand at regular intervals. Weirdly, this attack takes away a whole heart of your health, thus being equivalent in power to getting impaled by a whole bed of spikes, and deadlier than most of the regular enemy attacks, like a sword slash or a flaming arrow.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: The second Gatekeeper boss creates multiple clones of herself that all attack you at once. However, they also get destroyed by a single hit of the whip.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: You can find treasure through smashing vases, barrels, etc.
  • Dual Wielding: You fight with a sword/spear/throwing knives in one hand, and a whip in the other.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: One of the items you can buy from the genies does this.
  • Enemy Summoner: Some of the genies will summon unarmed, ghostly skeletons to take you down.
  • Explosive Barrels: They are there, and with luck and/or practice, you can knock the City's Undead straight into them.
  • Garden of Evil: The second set of levels, The Gardens of Contemplation, is this, both due to their cursed inhabitants, and because the curse corrupted their own nature as well. For you, that means that instead of spikes popping out of the ground, you have suspiciously barren beds of sand in the same places (i.e. right in front of doorways) where spikes would have normally been. Stepping on one of such beds sends entangling roots out of it: these deal no damage, but do hold you in place for a few seconds. Your approach should be inverse to that of spikes: trying to slide over them will get you entangled, but jumping over them works fine. Also, you can no longer try and rely on the spike beds to kill the enemies for you, although the Spike Shooter traps and rotating spike columns can work instead, though it'll take a bit more effort.
  • Glowing Eyes: Pretty much all of the enemies have eyes that will glow either blue, or red/orange when they spot you.
  • The Goomba: The Servants are by far the weakest enemies in the game, as they are nothing but completely unarmed skeletons that go down in one hit. While armless skeletons and legless torsos are also pretty weak, the former is at least fast, and the latter has more health.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Played straight with the cursed denizens. The melee fighters are all male, while the archers and the spellcasters are female.
  • Healing Potion: The alchemical tables can have any one of the 20 potions in the game show up, and this is an option. However, it heals through regenerating health, rather than all in one go, and is unlikely to heal a near-dead character to full health.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: The basic Guardsman skeleton has a variation with somewhat better armor.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: You start the game with a sword (or rather, a saber) in your right hand. However, the starting protagonist is a roguish Anti-Hero who got in by stealing the amulet from its owner. The next character, however, is that owner, and she also fights with the same kind of saber.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Averted when you activate the Burden that sets the entire game at night during eclipse — everything becomes truly dark as a result.
  • Homing Projectile: Efreet's fireballs will lock onto your location. So will the bluish orbs launched by the first Gatekeeper boss: however, those can be knocked back with your whip.
  • An Ice Person: One of the potions temporarily gives you a frosty aura that freezes all of the nearby enemies and makes combat a cakewalk while it lasts. Genies can also sell an item that triggers this aura when you get hit.
    • There's also a more practical version of this in the form of a freezing upgrade for your whip. It's one of the most expensive items you can buy, but it is very much worth it.
  • King Mook: The fourth Gatekeeper is essentially the larger, elite version of the flying lamp skeletons. Several of them also back it up. Ironically, you are encouraged to defeat the boss by stunning those with a whip, and then grabbing them, and throwing right back at the boss, which causes them to explode.
  • Knockback: Both regular attacks and magic like efreet's fireballs will knock you and/or the enemies back, potentially right into traps.
  • Non-Human Undead: The Black Market level has a lot of ghostly chickens. These can be grabbed by the player, and then thrown to distract the enemies into attacking the chicken instead.
  • Pinball Projectile: Magic attacks like fireballs can be knocked right back.
  • Playing with Fire: The efreet are essentially flame genies, and so they have flame-based attacks.
    • However, you can also pay the peaceful genies to upgrade your weapons to cause fire damage, amongst the available options.
  • Poison Mushroom: One of the potions is literally poison, and will instantly reduce you to 5 hearts. Technically, nearby enemies will also get damaged by its effects, but restoring health in the game is so difficult that it is very much not worth it. Luckily, its purple appearance is easy to spot, even if you have never drank it.
    • There's also another bad potion, which seems to turn the player into one of the ghostly chickens encountered on the second level. You can do absolutely nothing useful while its effects last, so at best, it'll result in the loss of precious seconds and the Dervish's appearance being brought closer.
  • Respawning Enemies: This can be turned on as a Burden, which will increase your score for completing the levels.
  • Timed Mission: Every level shows an hourglass in the corner of the screen. When it drains, practically invincible dervishes appear and make your life much harder.
  • Spike Shooter: One of the potions will somehow lead to spikes shooting out of your body in all directions for the duration of its effects. It's a pretty good effect, though you are strongly advised not to approach any of the explosive vases while it is on, as they'll invariably blow up as a result and damage you.
    • The Gardens of Contemplation also have a trap that is styled as a golden mask mounted on the wall, and which will shoot spikes out of its mouth.
  • Spikes of Doom: A bed of spikes extending from the ground when someone (including the enemies) passes over them is a frequent trap. In fact, your playthrough will invariably begin with one placed right in front of the second doorway into the city proper. Traps placed in front of the doorways or stairways will be a constant theme throughout the game, so you need to get good at bypassing them from the start.
    • Notably, trying to jump over the spikes will usually get you impaled more often then not: you'll need to slide over them instead. Taking a step onto a spike bed and then immediately retreating so that it extends harmlessly and lets you pass over while it's retracting can also work, but is more time-consuming, and increases the risk of a Dervish appearing.
  • Suspiciously Cracked Wall: Sometimes, levels will have walls where the white facing is cracked, exposing a column of bricks. Throwing an explosive jar there blows it up and lets you into a passage to a loot room.
  • Sword Lines: Enemies' swords leave glowing lines in the air when swung and waved about.
  • Three Wishes: You start with them. Each one can be used to upgrade one kind of genie in all their future appearances. Benevolent genies offer better services (heals for more, has better stock, disables traps in the entire city, etc.), the two hostile efreets become allies, and the three final bosses are instantly defeated.
  • Utility Weapon: You wield a whip in your left hand, and using it is absolutely key. While it deals much less damage than a sword, it stuns enemies if it hits them across the face, disarms them if it strikes their weapons, and can both trip them by striking their feet, or pull them closer, potentially right into traps. You can use also it to grab remote treasure behind bars, or latch onto hooks and reach hidden areas. You can also buy various upgraded whips, from one that can knock even the largest enemies back, to one that briefly freezes all the enemies it touches.
  • Who Needs Their Whole Body?: One of the early denizen types are greenish torsos that crawl on the ground with their arms, and whose only attack is to spit out sand up close (at what is essentially melee range). They are quite easy to dispatch, though in spite of being a torso, they are still more durable than the servants and the mad armless denizens, generally requiring two hits instead of one. And while they are obviously slow, they can still "jump" a good distance upwards if you happen to be at an elevation above them.
    • Another variant of the trope are the screaming armless undead, who attack by charging in a straight line and not stopping until they run into something. They are very weak, but are also fast (to the point they'll run over spike traps without getting impaled), and may well hit an unwary player.
  • Wolf Pack Boss: The final boss battle is against three genies.