You’ve got to be careful. Start combining reveries with moonlight, and you’re only a step or two from smoking clove cigarettes in a graveyard while writing free-verse poems about autumn.
Well, they don’t go that far, but for something with such a cutesy look it does manage to create a surprisingly dark and somber mood. Between the falling leaves and misty forests, the shadowy towns and cathedrals, and the ominous red moon overhead–that’s never a good sign–there’s an awful lot of atmosphere for such a humble-looking little game.
Even more so than 3000th Duel this one really stress tests the fundamental strength of the metroidvania genre. How many load-bearing elements can you remove from a game like this while still retaining structural integrity? Turns out, quite a few.
Who needs endless farming and complex crafting systems, zillions of spells and items or a HD graphical sheen? Just hand me some intuitive controls, nice animations, moody atmosphere, melancholy music and a map to fill in, and apparently I’m good.
The backgrounds in particular really stand out here. Not only do they look good for their style in a superficial sense, but there’s also a real unifying artistry that helps them punch well above their graphical weight. You get the impression that the authors have a solid picture in their heads of this strange world of theirs. It comes across in the coherence of whole aesthetic, as well as the eccentric little touches–the cats, the the ringing bell save points, etc.–that combine to lend extra character.
I’ve heard people use the term “souls-like” to describe the combat, although in this case all that really means is that you have dodge sometimes and maybe think a little bit before swinging your weapon.
Oh, that weapon, by the way? If I understand it right, it’s some kind of magical leaf, which I’ve gotta say is definitely a first.
Yeah, don’t ask me why that is. I guess this game doesn’t require a whole lot of explanation, which is a good thing since they don’t really give you any. Like everything else here, the story is pretty minimal. You’re some kind of magic nun or something who shows up in a cursed land to cleanse it of evil by swatting the dark queen with her killer leaf, and, uh, that’s about all I got.
But hey, just goes to show that it doesn’t always take a lot. A tightly-made little game with a strong basic design and a bit of creativity and some signature flair can have an outsized impact.
If you’re interested in a nice metroidvania-style sojourn in a well-crafted setting–and who wouldn’t be?–you’ll probably walk away happy from this one despite their best efforts to the contrary.