This psychedelic PlayStation platformer is already 2024’s mo…

With a brutally busy 2023 coming to a close, you’d think I’d be ready for a break from video games. And trust me, I am, but I still can’t help but look forward to what’s going to be on the horizon in 2024. I already know that games like Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth And Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth These would wear me out, but there’s one indie game I have my eye on: Altroz, The ultrastylish Metroidvania made a strong impression on me at this May’s PlayStation Showcase. This was largely due to its eye-popping visual style, which is unlike anything I’ve seen in a video game before.

Whereas Altroz As it looks, I was less sure about how it would actually play. I finally realized this during the extensive 90-minute demo. From the volume I played, I got a feel for its confusingly deep combat, strange farming components, and surprising roguelike structure. It was a complex gameplay snippet that I didn’t fully understand until the end, but it made me even more curious about the final product.

the cycle continues

at first sight, Altroz It seems to be a straightforward game. It feels like your typical 2D Metroidvania where players move through a maze-like map while collecting power-ups. Within a few minutes, I felt like I understood the entire gameplay loop. This was fine for me, as it gave me more time to soak in its wild art style, which really makes it unique. Each room is a psychedelic wash of colors that resembles a Grateful Dead poster. All the painterly details can make it a little hard to navigate, but I loved making my way through all of its fascinating exotic locations, which are rich with vibrant flora.

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The more I played, the more I realized it Altroz This isn’t just a standard Metroidvania with a unique art style. It has a ton of gameplay systems that I’ve never seen before in this genre. Chief among them is its rogue-like structure. At certain moments in the story, players start back from the beginning. Any upgrades they earned are erased, although map progress is retained. I experienced two complete loops during my demo, each of which ended when I killed a wizard.

In Altroz, a character encounters a giant insect.
kepler interactive

The bicycle concept is certainly a little difficult to explain. After my first run, I was a little disappointed when I realized I had to backtrack through several already explored screens to retrieve my double jump upgrade and travel to a new area from there. . Altroz There’s also a massive skill tree that unlocks game-changing combat and traversal mechanics – and they’re wiped out in a new cycle. Luckily, there is a currency to permanently lock a skill, but I can see it being hard to collect enough materials to unlock the same skill over and over again.

Although I have questions about that system, the demo gave me a glimpse of some creative ways to implement it. For example, Altroz It includes a surprising farming component where players can drop seeds at certain locations during the race. I didn’t know what it had done when I planted my first plant, but when I returned to the soil for my second cycle, I found that the plant had now grown tall enough that I could reach the platform where I was not able to reach earlier. The more the end game is played with time-altering ideas like this, the more I expect I’ll click with the cycles.

What’s less than a question mark, it’s the core Metroidvania gameplay that’s off to a strong start. especially, Altroz‘Hack-and-slash combat takes a lot of depth. It starts off with some basic attacks and sliding to avoid enemies, but grows increasingly complex with various maneuvers unlocked through the skill tree. There are two different hooks. One is that combat encounters are graded, with the more moves used the more points are awarded. Secondly, there is an emphasis on “juggling”, as players can toss one enemy into the air and attack another. The more I understood the system, the more I clicked on it Altroz, It has stylish self-expression like 3D action game hi-fi rush, but effectively translates it to a 2D context. I would get the chance to make the most of this in a difficult boss encounter, in which I would have to climb onto the back of a monster and perform as many moves as possible to maximize my damage.

In Altroz, a character swings from a tree.
kepler interactive

This system combines with the traditional platforming you’ve come to expect from the genre. One extraordinary sequence had me climbing through several rooms on a giant sword that kept slashing the ground. There’s nothing fancy about it, but the funky visual style makes the basic platforming segments feel alien. should go a long way towards making this Altroz It feels different even while sticking to Metroidvania beats.

After 90 minutes, I still don’t really know what to expect Altroz – And I’m glad. That level of mystery is exactly what sold me on Indie in the first place, so I’d be a little disappointed if I walked away from it feeling like it was playing it safe. I’m curious to see how many layers a fantastical title has, even if not every one of them is a winner.

Altroz Launching on February 13, 2024 for PC, PlayStation 4, and PS5.

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