GamingReview: No Place for Bravery

Review: No Place for Bravery


- Advertisement -

2D souls-like games just about warrant a genre categorisation of their own. The top-down variations are rarer than their side scrolling counterparts, but they usually offer an equally entertaining experience. This is exactly what I thought No Place for Bravery would reward me with. And while it wasn’t unenjoyable, it certainly left a lot to be desired.

Still, if developer Glitch Factory manage to amend some of the inherent problems, then we may eventually have a winner on our hands.

A tale of family and tragedy.

No Place for Bravery is set within the fictional world of Dewr. Thorn, our resident protagonist, traded in his life as a soldier to open up a tavern post the conclusion of a gruesome war. His hardened exterior is ultimately marred by the lament of his long-lost daughter, Leaf. Her disappearance was the result of a kidnapping by an unnamed warlock, the image of which still haunts Thorn in his dreams.

Years after this event, Thorn adopts a young boy by the name of Phid. At first, this partially assists him with overcoming his loss. However, his unwillingness to accept the likely outcome of his daughter constantly plagues his mental stability. This notion is only heightened after a second chance encounter with the warlock. Now, having knowledge that their adversary is still at large, Thorn, along with Phid, aim to carry out their revenge.

No clear narrative direction.

Unfortunately, No Place for Bravery’s storyline suffers from a lot of structural problems. For instance, the main draw of Thorn’s characteristics are, at best, generic, and at worst, a poor imitation. The best example of this can be found within the father and son dynamic. If you take what Kratos and Atreus had in God of War, then strip it of any real sensibility or connection, you end up with the relationship of Thorn and Phid. It’s soulless and completely uninspired.

This exact same philosophy can also be applied to all other hooks surrounding Thorn. His daughter’s disappearance, the warlock, and his background as a solider, are all substandard replications of popular tropes. Nonetheless, for reasons I cannot truly explain, I still find myself somewhat drawn to Thorn as a character. Beneath all the rubble is a story worth telling. It sucks that the story never really emerges.

Barring Thorn, the secondary characters have little to no narrative direction or developments. While one could argue that this is a stylistic choice, I’d argue that it’s merely lazy writing. The writers evidentially copied Hidetaka Miyazaki’s principles, whilst simultaneously missing the intricacies that go with it. Essentially, No Place for Bravery’s story tried to be too grandiose for its own good.

Sloppy Sekiro style combat.

Turning towards the gameplay, No Place for Bravery mixes exploration with random combat scenarios. It’s incredibly similar to Hyper Light Drifter, although the formers combat is significantly more negligent. This is due to a few reasons, the likes of which include non-cancellable actions, and misaligned hitboxes. Even rudimentary inputs, such as switching between targets, are unnecessarily painful to perform.

What’s regretful about this is the theory behind the combat mechanics aren’t all that bad. Think Sekiro, but in a 2-dimensional plane. Actions such as basic attack combos, special abilities, blocking, parrying, executing, and dodging, are all pulled off via deliberate button inputs.

The goal is to obviously kill your enemies before they do the same to you. In No Place for Bravery, the best way to go about this is to deplete an enemies stagger bar. You can achieve this by either chipping away at them, or by parrying their attacks. Once done, the recipient will receive a slew of extra damage for a short amount of time. This is akin to the stagger system found in the recent remake of Final Fantasy 7.

As a general rule of thumb, I love systems like this. The only time I don’t is when the game in question is working against me. And, as I’ve already mentioned, No Place for Bravery suffers precisely from this drawback. To make it clear, these issues aren’t excessively awful, but they did dampen my enjoyment of the game. The silver lining in all of this is that these concerns are easily fixable. What’s more, it seems like the devs are willing to take on the criticism, and work to improve upon them.

Discovering Dewr.

As with any open world game, Dewr has a ton of different regions to explore. Within these locales, you’ll find NPCs to interact with, treasure to loot, and a plethora of monsters to slay. Of course, there are also boss battles to overcome. These sequences are actually what sold me on the potential behind No Place for Bravery’s combat. Correspondingly, I found these sections to be the most fun.

Outside of the endless bloodshed, you’ll also encounter random puzzles. While not exceptionally challenging, they did disrupt the normalcy of the gameplay loop in a positive way. I did have some problems relating to the UI during these segments, but I believe this has since been patched out.

A horde of customisation options.

To save the game, you’ll have to find the Dark Souls-esque bonfires called Battle Memorials. Resting at these replenishes your health, and, with the exception of bosses, resurrects all fallen foes. On top of this, the Battle Memorials also allow you to craft and equip unique combat skills.

Take Rumble’s Last Thunder. This causes enemies to be knocked back and temporarily stunned. Caesar’s Whirlwind on the other hand deals a large amount of Area of Effect damage. To craft a combat skill, you have to discoverer its blueprint or rare material out in the wild.

Besides the abilities, there are also a myriad of weapons to experiment with. They all play a bit different from one another, so you’ll most likely find something to suit your needs. Lastly, consumables and throwables, such as HP potions and throwing knives, can be purchased from venders dotted around the world. When putting all of this together, No Place for Bravery has an abundance of customisation options.

Gorey, yet beautiful.

In the grand scheme of things, No Place for Bravery has pretty outstanding visuals. This can mainly be accredited to the incredibly vibrant colour pallet. Their radiant and striking tones masterfully showcase the sprawling lands of Dewr, leading to some truly cinematic shots. I’d also like to praise the artists for knowing when to be minimalistic with their designs. Their wherewithal effectively ensured the backdrops and foregrounds didn’t interfere with the gameplay, even if the combat dolefully did.

The character and monster sprites also stand out for their near impeccable quality. I don’t think they’re quite on the same level as a 2D scroller like Blasphemous. But for a top-down design, it’s fairly outstanding what they’ve managed to achieve.

There are a handful of instances where the art direction lets itself down. First off, it’s hard to distinguish environmental details such as edges and barriers. This can lead to some frustrating moments, especially when it comes to the platforming sequences. Additionally, the combat sluggishness marginally impacts the otherwise sleek animation quality. These are relatively minor complaints though.

An unbelievably kickass soundtrack.

One area I cannot fault No Place for Bravery in is the soundtrack department. It combines vocalised hymns with traditional throat singing, creating a mesmerising, yet melancholy ambiance. Similarly, the bombastic war style drumming and, what seemingly sounds like a bowed lyre, acutely simulate Viking period motifs. This helps to give a sense of authenticity to the fantasy setting.

For me, composer Eduardo Zolhof is No Place for Bravery’s MVP. Almost every track in the game left me with goosebumps, and I would have happily accepted more original compositions. Seriously, take a listen to the title track linked below and tell me that it doesn’t sound awesome.

I don’t really have much to say in regards to the sound effects. It’s largely satisfactory in what they aims to achieve. However, for how gory the game intends to be, I would have liked the SFX to have been a little more visceral.


Although I found it partially enjoyable, No Place for Bravery ultimately didn’t do itself justice. Its narrative structure is more than a bit messy, and it often comes across as clichéd. The gameplay, while having a fair amount of customisation options, suffers from sloppy combat functionality. If nothing else, the visual and audio departments prop up the game to a slightly above average Souls-like.

I really hope that Glitch Factory takes the criticism on board, and uses it to give No Place for Bravery the quality of life update it deserves. But, as of right now, I can only offer a light recommendation.


+ Great visual presentation
+ Fantastic OST
+ Plethora of customisation options
- Sloppy combat
- Disjointed Narrative
- A few gameplay bugs

(This was reviewed on Steam. You can also find this on and Nintendo Switch.)
Lee Fairweather
Lee Fairweather
A lifelong video game lover turned games journalist and historian. You can find me playing anything from the latest AAA PC releases, all the way back to retro Mega Drive classics.

Stay connected



You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

+ Great visual presentation </br> + Fantastic OST </br> + Plethora of customisation options </br> - Sloppy combat </br> - Disjointed Narrative </br> - A few gameplay bugs </br> </br> (This was reviewed on Steam. You can also find this on and Nintendo Switch.)Review: No Place for Bravery