If anyone has reason to celebrate in 2020, it’s fans of rogue-like and rogue-lite dungeon crawlers. From Hades recently released on Nintendo Switch, Spelunky 2 or Rogue Legacy 2, it’s arguably been the greatest year yet for procedurally-generated death loops.
Gone Viral looks to push past its unfortunately-timed name to join the same company, with some innovative tricks up its sleeve. This rogue-lite is set within a post-apocalyptic game show, where gladiator contenders make deadly runs while audiences applaud from the sidelines.
The audience is an active part of the experience. By pulling off flashy kills or stringing together combos, you’ll gradually accumulate fans who will drop loot boxes into the arena - offering new modifiers, health drops, or even the occasional nasty bomb surprise.
Gone Viral revels in chaos (Picture: Skullbot Games)
These “fans” also occasionally vote on various temporary modifiers which apply to specific rooms during your run. These range from the helpful (increased melee range, faster speeds) to the hilariously tricky - with one personal favourite seeing beach balls fill up the screen until all the enemies are cleaned out.
- Read more: How to set up Gone Viral’s Twitch features
While these are voted upon by AI if playing for yourself, connecting Gone Viral to your Twitch channel will enable viewers to vote on the modifiers instead - making the dystopian gameshow resemble something closer to reality. It’s a fun gimmick which makes Gone Viral stand apart from others in the genre, with new polls coming around just often enough to keep the experience for both players, and viewers, engaging.
This trick wouldn’t work if Gone Viral’s gameplay wasn’t already a blast. While it does lose some of its individuality stripped of Twitch integration, the same loop of surviving through a series of random encounters to hit the end boss is still addictive. The game comes to life especially on higher difficulties (unlocked after successful runs), where multiple enemy types and obstacles litter the same room as you wrestle the chaos.
There’s flexibility in the combat which varies with unlockable characters too. Melee attacks and a projectile grabbing hook to pull enemies closer are the base level tools, but when your run adds acid trails, deflectable bullets and a deadly, unwieldy super dash - there’s far more tactics to play around with when taking on the alien hordes.
Gone Viral’s longevity will likely depend on how Skullbot Games expands its Twitch integration features to become the streaming success it hopes to be, but for anyone who enjoys rogue-lites, this is still another compelling addition to an increasingly crowded genre.
Gone Viral is available in Early Access on Steam. You can download it here.