Strategic combat… slick visuals… a deep narrative with a fantasy-fuelled world… No Place for Bravery ticked ALL of the right boxes for me when it was initially revealed. Now, after spending plenty of hours playing through it, I’m happy to report that it delivered an experience that lived up to my expectations too – even IF some technical issues do hold it back a little.
Check out some screenshots down below:
No Place for Bravery puts players in the role of Thorn, an aging solider who looks for a peaceful life running a tavern following a war that raged across the world. Woe followed him beyond this battle though, with his daughter Leaf kidnapped by a mysterious figure. Time went by and Thorn found a new purpose by protecting a child he had found abandoned, but Leaf’s disappearance still haunted his dreams. Fortunately, a chance encounter gave Thorn a clue as to Leaf’s whereabouts, leading him on a journey to rescue his long-missing daughter and battle an evil force that has lurked in the shadows of the world.
There’s a lot of depth to No Place for Bravery’s storytelling, with an abundance of lore to be discovered as well as plenty of text-heavy sequences that explore the ins-and-outs of the events within the world. It’s really engaging for the most part and it was easy to invest myself in Thorn’s plight, though there were also moments where I wished it would just speed things up a bit. Fortunately, the narrative pacing is fine for the most part and there’s definitely plenty of intrigue to be found across the tale as a whole.
Whilst it’s a story-heavy experience, combat is at the core of No Place for Bravery. Players can swiftly change their weaponry on the fly, alternating between the speedy slashes of a sword, the hulking blows of a hammer, and ranged prowess of a bow, all whilst utilising their different strengths and weaknesses to overwhelm and outwit the foes you face off against. And believe me, you have to be cunning to defeat the game’s foes, with the varied enemies all embracing different fight styles that’ll keep you on your toes. Some will get up close and personal, some will fight from afar, whilst some will try to bully you through sheer force; there’s plenty of versatility to be found in your opposition and utilising both offensive and defensive manoeuvres is imperative to your success.
“There is plenty of strategy to be found in No Place for Bravery’s battling, and whilst it’s also possible to simply mash buttons to deal out some damage, those who hope to survive until the very end will have to spend more time outwitting foes than outhitting them.”
Fortunately, Thorn is more than capable of controlling the battlefield, with his swift dodges making it easy to control the distance between foes and keep out of harm’s reach. He’s also able to parry attacks to land quick counter hits, whilst it’s also possible to place traps and lure enemies into some pain. There is plenty of strategy to be found in No Place for Bravery’s battling, and whilst it’s also possible to simply mash buttons to deal out some damage, those who hope to survive until the very end will have to spend more time outwitting foes than outhitting them. You’ve got a stamina bar to manage too, so you’ve got to carefully consider when you need to go on the attack and when you need to preserve your energy.
I may be making the game sound a bit too intimidating there, because combat isn’t really all that complex. It’s easy to control Thorn, unleash attacks, switch between weapons and your inventory, and use items, whilst the enemies themselves don’t bring anything you wouldn’t have seen before – even the bosses can feel a little predictable and mostly boil down to learning their move patterns (even if they are impressive to encounter). It just gets all of the little things right to make each showdown feel like more of a strategic affair, where one well-timed strike or one misjudged dodge can be the difference between life or death. Add to that the different skills and moves you can learn along the way that add more layers of intricacy to combat and you’ll quickly find that No Place for Bravery certainly delivers plenty of tactical thrills with its action-fuelled encounters.
One thing that’s worth noting is that No Place for Bravery plays like a Souls-like, so players can expect a tough experience. I’ve already mentioned the challenge and depth of combat, but there are also things like enemies respawning when resting or losing your currency (used to purchase upgrades) when dying – and then losing it permanently if you don’t return to your spot of death. If you haven’t been a fan of this sort of thing before, you certainly won’t change your mind here… if anything, No Place for Bravery can feel a little more challenging at times, especially since it’s not afraid to fill the screen with enemies. It isn’t the hardest game I’ve played, but it isn’t afraid to punish players who don’t think each encounter through carefully. And those aforementioned bosses? Yeah, you’ll rarely beat them on your first try.
Check out some screenshots down below:
With a meaty adventure to go on, a genuinely interesting story, and gripping combat, No Place for Bravery hits all the right notes with its adventure. It’s a pretty looking game too, with some detailed pixel art on display throughout that manages to capture both the beautiful vistas and the horrid sights across the world perfectly. It’s a REALLY impressive land to explore and I often found myself in awe of the landmarks strewn across it, especially when you read more of the lore and find out the stories behind them.
For all its strengths though, No Place for Bravery does have its share of flaws that prevent it from striving towards greatness. Not only did I encounter a variety of weird bugs when playing that did require a reset on a couple of occasions, but I also noticed a whole bunch of frame rate drops too. There was nothing game-breaking by any means, but they were noticeable in some encounters and did throw me off. The developer has released a patch that should address the majority of issues that I faced, but it wouldn’t be unfair to say the performance was a little rocky during my playthrough.
There were some other little things too, such as some enemies’ hitboxes feeling a little too big, the execution system a little awkward when in the midst of a combo, and the menu being a little clunky to navigate, but these were minor flaws in the grand scheme of things that might not bother other players. Fortunately, the technical issues and these little annoyances didn’t stop me from having a good time playing No Place for Bravery, but they did make it feel like a ‘good’ game as opposed to a ‘very good’ game.
No Place for Bravery Review
No Place for Bravery is an enjoyable action experience with slick combat and an impressive world, but some technical issues do hold it back on the Nintendo Switch. Fortunately, there’s nothing game-breaking, but the bugs that required a reset and the frame rate drops could be annoying – especially since there were a few other little aspects of the gameplay that didn’t hit the mark.
Thankfully, the strategic combat does more than enough to make up for these little nuisances and ensure that the game remains very fun to play, whilst it’s easy to invest yourself in the lore-rich storytelling too. No Place for Bravery isn’t a perfect game, but it still manages to deliver a deep and thrilling action-adventure that hits more than it misses.
(I was tempted to mark my score down a little because of some of the technical flaws, but with a patch hitting after I finished my playthrough, I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt that most of those issues SHOULD be fixed.)
Developer: Glitch Factory
Publisher: Ysbryd Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC