Betrayal At Club Low is an interesting take on the point-and-click adventure genre. Instead of inspecting surroundings and collecting objects, you are interacting with obstacles and rolling dice to get past them. Your objective is simple: rescue a captured operative who is trapped. How you achieve it is up to you.
It is hard to permanently lock yourself out of an obstacle. You can always repeatedly try (and fail) to pass an obstacle while earning money for upgrades. You can also choose which stat you want to use to overcome obstacles, giving you different variations and playing to your strengths. Unfortunately, the adventure isn’t very long, clocking in at 2-3 hours of gameplay. While you can play with difficulty settings as you like, there isn’t much replay value unless you want all achievements.
Betrayal At Club Low is currently available on PC.
Story – Extracting an Operative
Betrayal At Club Low has a simple story. You are working with an agency who asks you to extract a trapped operative from the titular club. The operative is being monitored by a crime boss named Big Mo, and no one wants to deal with him. You are disguised as a pizza delivery man who is making a delivery to avoid suspicion. Your goal is to get inside the club, rescue the operative, and prepare an escape plan for a getaway.
How you rescue the operative is up to you, and that’s where the fun part lies. The beginning and end don’t change, but the middle isn’t set in stone. You can try and force your way through the front door, or try a side entrance. Try to tinker with a special dinner at the bar, or mingle with the club crowd. It’s possible to usurp the DJ’s role, or talk with his manager. How you accomplish the mission is up to you, and that level of freedom makes the story interesting.
Giving players that level of freedom allows them to experiment. They aren’t restricted or railroaded into an outcome. Even if their initial approach doesn’t work out, they can always switch gears and try another method. While the game can be completed in 2-3 hours, there’s no rush to finish. If something doesn’t work out, you have the freedom to tell the story in another way.
On its own, the story isn’t new or remarkable (though it can be ridiculous). The freedom to dictate how the story is carried out keeps gameplay fresh and prevents players from feeling locked in. If the story doesn’t happen to go the way you want, you can always change course. Even crazy or silly ideas will be able to come alive, and that adds excitement to a regular story.
Gameplay – Choose Your Own Dice Rolls
To get past an obstacle, you must roll dice. You have seven stats: Cooking, Deception, Music, Observation, Physical, Wisdom, and Wit. Each stat is represented by a dice roll, with numbers on the faces showing the value that is expressed. That dice roll will be matched against a dice roll done by the obstacle, in a manner similar to Atom RPG Trudograd. Based on what you roll and what the obstacle rolls, you choose your next move.
Unlike regular point-and-click adventures like Trouble Hunter Chronicles: The Stolen Creed, you must move your character to these obstacles. You can then highlight the stat best suited to getting past the obstacle. Your opponent also rolls dice to beat the numbers you are able to roll. You can also gain certain statuses that either help or hinder your dice rolls.
Putting your outcomes up to chance can be harrowing for a point-and-click adventure. The flip side is, since success is random, you take the outcomes seriously. Success and failure are actual things to celebrate, instead of something you expect.
There will also be side objectives you can pursue in the form of Clues. Clues will highlight potential opportunities to make your mission easier. This is part of the fun of choosing your own approach; you can do what you like with these Clues. You can act on them, or leave them alone.
A big part of Betrayal At Club Low is accepting that your dice rolls are inadequate in the beginning. You will get past a few obstacles without much trouble, but future obstacles will surpass your initial dice amounts. You must upgrade your dice with money obtained from dice rolls to get higher numbers. This is where the game’s second set of dice comes in: the Pizza Dice.
Pizza Dice – Everything You Need
You are taught about Pizza Dice early on when you encounter your first pizza oven. You can cook pizzas with various benefits that can heal, give you money, or change dice roll outcomes. Pizza Dice are your primary form of making money when you fail, since they can be made to generate money.
Pizza Dice can also restore vital statistics if you lose any, or influence the obstacle dice rolls. It can save you if you are in a tough spot, or provide the edge you need. It is difficult to beat the game without Pizza Dice, and you always want to get more. You can only get a maximum of 3, but it will be enough to turn the tide.
Pizza Dice will be great for earning money, even if you don’t succeed in the dice rolls. Failing will be the main way for you to roll Pizza Dice and earn money for upgrades. You can then upgrade your stats with higher values until you pass the obstacle.
The concept is silly, and you can customise them just like you would a regular pizza. There aren’t a lot of topping choices, and sometimes you have to make do with what you have. This can somewhat dull the appeal of Pizza Dice, though it does keep with the random nature of the game.
Pizza Dice keeps things entertaining by being a consolation prize even if you fail. It is the main reason you can get back up again and fail, because you get something for your efforts. While it can be repetitive grinding for money until you succeed, it keeps you motivated to continue.
Randomness – A Double-Edged Sword
While it is nice to have your dice rolls up to chance, it can be frustrating at times to progress. The obstacles become harder to pass as you get closer to your objective, which require a large investment of time and money. You can get past with enough patience and luck, but it doesn’t feel as rewarding at the end.
The game length and story aren’t compelling enough to prompt a replay game for a casual player. Only people looking to get all achievements or push themselves would go through the random dice rolls again. You would have to constantly grind to earn enough money to succeed at dice rolls, and that can dull the replay value significantly.
You may be more aware of what stats you if you are pursuing different endings. However, the inherent randomness means that most people will just be happy they made it to the end.
Audio & Visuals – Simple 3D With Simple Audio
Betrayal At Club Low has club music playing in the background at all times, though at different volumes. It fits with the theme of the game and the venue you are targeting. The dice rolls themselves have crisp audio, it sounds good to hear them roll. You can even hear the moment of truth as the rolls gradually slow down.
There’s nothing sophisticated about the designs of the characters or the club itself. There was effort to ensure the pizzas looked delicious and the environment was realistic. Character designs are simple, and other visuals (such as a pot of stew or fruit) have basic imagery. It’s not the worst visuals in the world, but it does stand out to a new player.
Betrayal At Club Low was reviewed on Steam with a code provided by Cosmo D Studios.