Game Reviews

Mechanical Metroidvania

Jump in and explore this review. Metroidvania seems an odd term at first, since other games that are derived form a specific genre are generally suffixed with “-like”. E.g. souls-like, or rogue-like.

Metroidvania comes from merging the two names Metroid, and Castlevania. Games in this genre are generally a mixture of the two as you may expect. Featuring a large map, and having to locate/obtain certain key items which will allow you to progress or go back and find certain secrets. It’s a classic genre and as you may have noticed from earlier reviews – one I quite enjoy.

While the classic metroidvania game is 2D, even 3D games like Darksiders have metroidvania aspects. Other recent metroidvania in the reviews here include UnEpic, Dust, Sundered and last but certainly not least Yoku’s Island Express.

Ghost 1.0

By the same creators of UnEpic, UnMetal (Upcoming) and Mini Ghost. Ghost 1.0 features a similar comedy as UnEpic and is worth a few chuckles and a playthrough for that reason alone.

You play as the same character as in Mini Ghost, but rather than a very short metroidvania, Ghost 1.0 is a proper full game instead of the 1$ prequel game called Mini Ghost.

Ghost 1.0’s graphics are quite similar to UnEpic in a way that the game is likely running on the same engine, but now at a higher resolution. You play as ghost, a secret operative hired to infiltrate and retrieve the A.I. for a new type of robot. Stealth is optional – and quickly thrown out the window – but always optional.

What makes this game unique from most metroidvanias is the characters. The guys who hired you will bicker and joke at each other. Ghost will often respond as their voice line is left open by accident. In short, you’re not just playing one character alone in a mission to save the planet. You’ve got a small crew of remote hackers helping you in the space station you’re trying to infiltrate. And they’re good – but not always very fast. Meaning you’re left to your own devices in terms of “not stealth” and shooting your way out of trouble quite a lot.

Also interesting is the way the game works it’s save system. You’re a ghost – but you control a robot. If you’re broken, you find yourself back at the latest 3D printer and able to take control of a new robot suit. Secondly, if you save/scan, quit and come back later you will get a small “previously on ghost” cinematic that tells you what you achieved recently. It greatly helps with getting back into the game after a long drunken weekend.

Upgrades left and right

As mentioned you control a robot (ghost), but you can also control “other” robots around the station. This gives you a unique way of solving puzzles and fighting. Just keep in mind you always need to come back to your original suit at some point or other. Sorry, you can’t keep that heavy armor guard bot that tried to shoot rockets at you.

Ghost’s progression areas unlock by finding keycard fragments which basically has you progressing the map areas in a haphazard way. There are several challenge rooms to encounter while exploring. These serve mainly as progression locks and for farming extra energy to use on weapon upgrades. Similar to how UnEpic has some farming for materials. That said – dying will cause you to lose most energy cubes, so try to stay alive. The cubes are used to power replicators in the “not a shop” which provides you with different weapons and upgrades

Another thing the game encourages is clearing all rooms. If you find a few floating sparks – collecting them all for that room will award you with either a single use item or other upgrade.

Another nice perk is that you get a free bonus familiar if the game detects UnEpic in the your steam library.

Release date: 7 Jun, 2016

Minimum system requirements: Windows XP or later, 2 GB Ram, honestly you should be quite fine with almost anything from the last 10 years.

Axiom Verge

True to the Metroid heritage, Axiom Verge looks and feels a lot like Super Metroid. It comes with a very wide variety of guns… Or rather, a wide variety of bullet types since you always use the one gun.

Excellent retro graphics and unique abilities. Not your usual roll / double jump stuff. Sure the extra health and firepower is there, but those “need” to be, right?

You’re a scientist in a strange biomechanical world. A lab accident got you here. Or rather you, the clone of said scientist. The story unfolds very well and you’ll quickly wonder what actually happened to land you in this situation. It’s hard to explain without spoiling the story – so, we’ll skip on that 😉

Guns, so many guns

From simple blaster, 6 way remote detonated bullets, lightning, lasers, flamethrowers, grenades and so many more. 23 different weapons. You can find and use at will – with the exception of one, these are optional to find in secret areas and will help you fight the different bosses.

Guns aside you’ll need to find a lab coat, and “glitch” equipment. Each with their own unique abilities to help you travel through terrain otherwise unreachable.

Release date: 14 May, 2015

Minimum system requirements: If your potato can’t run this – get a better potato.

Plenty more

Those two recent ones aside I’ve played a good bunch more metroidvanias over the years that are worth checking out. But, I just don’t think I can do justice to them all in a single post right now. Have a peek at these – they are GOOD games. If you like the genre, then stick them on your wishlist.

Also good – hopefully, but I haven’t played it yet: Dead Cells. And there’s no doubt a few dozen more that should be on the list. Feel free to suggest them in the comments below.

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