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Skyshine's BEDLAM

By drcoolio34527-10-2015
Skyshine's BEDLAM

The Defence

Skyshine Games
Versus Evil
Action, Indie, Role Playing, Strategy
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Core 2 Quad 2.0 GHz
AMD equivalent
Nvidia GeForce 460
AMD equivalent
4 GB
6 GB

The Case

Skyshine's BEDLAM was funded on Kickstarter a couple years ago and has just had its full release recently. Like most indie Kickstarter games, it was full of ambition and new ideas, but limits on money put harsh restrictions on the team. Did Skyshine shine their way through their indie problems? Or did it crumble under them?

The Trial

On your adventure through BEDLAM and into Aztec City you'll be seeing a lot. Mostly you'll be seeing a Mad Max-ish world and a game that's heavily inspired by XCOM's turn based ideas and FTL's harsh roguelike decision making, but throughout all of it you can see a good game.

Just another day in the wasteland.

Just another day in the wasteland.

Straight from the beginning you can tell what BEDLAM will be, a game stuffed with hard choices, dangers, and enough stress to drive a man as mad as one of the hundreds of marauders you'll inevitably murder your way through. Do you want to go into that whale sized cockroach over there? Do you want to risk going in through its mouth or possibly anger it by cutting a hole in its side? You could lose people and resources with this decision, so you better make the right call.

The best part about all these scenarios are that they're all randomly placed, and you never know where you'll run into them. Whether you run into a stockpile of fuel or an android warlord's ambush is totally random, so those decisions won't get any less tense no matter how many times you play. The sheer amount of scenarios there are is unbelievable, and you can beat the game without even seeing most of them, meaning replays are encouraged the same way they are in FTL.

They're not easy decisions, but they have to be made, and sometimes those decisions will land you right in front of a monster that barfs up acid and melts the skin off your units, and that's where the combat comes in.

Honey, did that nice man back there said to turn left or right here?

Honey, did that nice man back there said to turn left or right here?

As BEDLAM puts it, "one turn is two actions," and the actions you'll be doing the most of are moving and shooting. There are four classes that are essentially tanks, snipers, shotgunners, and gunmen that all have differences in looks, health, damage output, ranges and strategy, once again, just like in XCOM. Snipers do massive damage but are slow while melee units can get in fast and take a beating but are weak while the other classes fall somewhere in-between, but there aren't enough distinctions between the classes to make them stand apart enough.

You can take multiple units into battle, but each additional unit you bring the rewards of the fight decrease and you only have two actions shared between all your units each turn anyways. There are special units that do have almost double the health and do incredible amounts of damage, but you have to beat them in a fight before you can recruit them. It's possible to beat the game with just leveled up regular units, but boy is it helpful when you get to the unfairly brutal last boss. While those special units are better than your regular ones in every way, they’re gone forever just like any other unit once their HP reaches zero, so be careful.

The unit variety is fun, but none of them have any sort of special ability or skill tree that make them interesting. While they get more health and damage with each level-up, they never unlock special skills they can use or get points that you can invest. BEDLAM is balanced for that, but it's a glaring missed opportunity that's hard to ignore.

Oh don’t be rude.

Oh don’t be rude.

Combat and choices make up the biggest parts of BEDLAM, but there's also a resource management aspect to it where you have to manage your fuel, meat and power cells. Fuel and meat go down as you drive through the game while power cells are used to power up your dozer or use "equalizers" or special weapons during combat to give you an edge. It's usually a combination of losing all your good units, losing battles, and running out of fuel that ends up killing you.

The Verdict

BEDLAM's setting, art, characters, and decisions are fantastic and make it a game worth at least trying out for fans of turn based games or roguelikes, but it's easy to see missed opportunities as you play.  I never thought I'd find any fun in a turn based Mad Max game, but Skyshine managed to prove me wrong. BEDLAM loses points for its missed opportunities in combat classes and its lackluster leveling system, but it's up there with games like FTL, and it’s easy to see how people can spend dozens of hours happily trying to beat it.

Case Review

  • Choices: Discerning what the best option is isn't easy, but it's always entertaining.
  • Writing: Skyshine managed to make simple character sketches engaging with their great dialogue and the choices they present you with.
  • Setting: A lot of thought went into BEDLAM's wasteland. There are factions, religions, monsters, and everything in-between.
  • Themes: BEDLAM is very Mad Max with its crazy marauders, massive cars, and tyrannical warlord leader, so if you're not into Mad Max you might not be into BEDLAM.
  • Difficulty: This is a game for people looking for challenge, not so much for people looking for a nice, easy time.
  • Combat & Classes: Combat is no small part of BEDLAM, which is why it's so disappointing that they didn't make an effort to vary the classes more or diversify encounters much.
Score: 4/5
Skyshine's BEDLAM might not be the new XCOM, Banner Saga, or FTL, but it tries and it gets a lot right.


So, where to start...BEDLAM is a rougelike game, and well, I have to say it doesn't feel like it should have been on computer in its current state. It feels more like it was supposed to be a mobile game rather than an actual full game with some of its mechanics and simple combat systems along with very annoying range mechanics for “Deadeyes.” Or the sudden “how the heck did he do that much damage” in some fights. Also the lack of powercells meaning that fights can go seriously wrong as you can't heal your crew.

There is humour there but it's very tongue-in-cheek and at best it's an “over the top of the glasses” look at them, the “implied facepalm” look as mentioned online. There are some not-so-subtle humour digs at the fourth wall, along with its swearing get-around, but it doesn't feel natural at all. At least the graphics are good but do feel more like it would be a phone game for a “time-waster” when you have an hour free.

There has been problems with crashing - if you crash out mid-battle it counts as a null combat round, so you can't repeat it, just progress, which is annoying if it's a boss fight as you lose the chance to get that boss for your crew. When the game launched easy difficulty was impossible as I kept losing most of my crew on the first match. At least that has been fixed but it still has its share of bugs, and a lot of missed opportunities.

Score: 3/5


Skyshine's BEDLAM is that of a post-apocalyptic world. This wasteland rouge-like takes place over a point-to-point map similar to that of FTL. Your goal is to reach the safe haven known as Aztec City by traversing the lands of Bedlam to save not only yourselves, but the population you transport with you. BEDLAM is an inhospitable domain controlled by King Viscera, full of marauders, mutants, cyborgs, and rogue AI. It’s up to you to manage your resources. Fuel, food, energy cells, and the very people in your caravan. While fuel and food are used every time you move, energy cells are used for upgrades and special combat abilities. Your populace also has a mind of its own. Lose in combat, and people might just think they’re better off on their own. Every time you move, there’s a chance for unique opportunities to arise.

Combat is played on a grid where either side is placed in a semi-organized formation. Each side gets 2 actions per round, be it to move or attack. However using energy cells, for example, to heal or increase defence do not. The enemy doesn’t have the bonus of fuel cell usage, but every few turns they get an extra action on their turn called a blitz. There are 4 character classes: high range, mid, short, and melee. They each have their own stats and uses, but it may not be best just to take one of each out into battle. Part of the strategy going into battle is knowing your enemy.

Playing BEDLAM has been something of a pain for me, technically. Between the frequent crashes and non-working tutorial videos, the overall appearance and game style would fit a mobile platform much better. Its developers seemed to be “self-aware” in that the humor of the game feels very indicative of its own corny-ness. This game gets a marginal pass from me. Nothing innovative, but has a good mix of rogue-like elements.

Score: 2.5/5
Comments (2)
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Posts: 1317

Hehe, yeah this game looks like it could be fun (but also frustrating), but it's the kind of game I traditionally buy on the cheap, and then forget about it because I don't have time to play it right at that moment, so it goes into the backlog forever. :/

Posts: 120

I'm looking forward to getting to this game in my backlog, which never seems to decrease sadly.