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Songbringer gets tuned up with a new boss and difficulty

Pitch perfect

It's always been a surprise to me that last year's Songbringer didn't catch on more, especially given John's gushing review. Hot on the heels of the likes of Hyper Light Drifter, it presented a similar brand of deliciously pixelly hack n' slashery, but paired to a remarkably robust rogue-ish template. Perhaps today's free piece of DLC - The Trial Of Ren - will bring a few more players into the fold with promises of a dramatic new boss fight, quirky new gear and a new power to unlock.

The headlining fight of this update is a chance to cross swords with Ren, Brother of Kiel. Unlike his wild, punk-looking brother, Ren is a much more calm and calculating swordsman, full of fancy techniques and more likely to teleport around the arena unpredictably than just run at you screaming. Apparently Ren is now is one of the toughest fights in the game.

There are also a pair of new craftable pieces of gear. One fairly bland, one incredibly cool and a must-have for anyone. First is a flamethrower, which shoots fire. All well and good, but the Hyper Boots just seem vastly more entertaining. A pair of high-tech shoes that not only make you faster, but leave a lightning mine on the ground with every step you take. In a room full of baddies it immediately turns the game into a stunning (and hard to comprehend) lightshow. There's a few new things besides that, but those do seem the most notable.

Probably the thing that interests me most about the update is The Cursed Ring. A new artifact item that effectively increases the difficulty of the whole game, up to and including giving bosses new attack patterns to deal with. Rank-and-file enemy fodder are also tougher and more damaging, but the fact the developer went back and added new code to every boss fight in the game impresses me. Then again, I've always had a soft-spot for Hard Modes that actually change the game in fun, meaningful ways.

Before this, the game did receive six other updates, each one adding some variety of interesting new features. You can view the full patch-log for the game past and present here. The game is currently half price over on Steam, bringing it down to £8/$10.

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