Monday 20 April 2020

Sundered: Eldrich Edition

Mechanically long for the sake of length.

From the makers of Jotun comes this very nicely animated platformer with a good, responsive set of controls. Much like that other game, here you play as a female that finds herself in a strange and dangerous land. Unlike Jotun though, this one in far less user friendly. Tiles and art that can be interacted with aren't always obvious, and the sprawling map encourages much backtracking, which you will be forced to do right at the tutorial.

Indeed the start of Sundered is very weak, but the game does improve. A handy map gives you a hint of where to go, which is helpful in zones that are procedurally generated. Exploration is always rewarded, and at the center of it all is a massive skill tree that the devs clearly put a lot of work in.

How the bad guys are handled is interesting too - while there are bosses there are no static mobs. Instead a horde of enemies just tends to show up if you idle too long. While at first these are a nuisance they do become a threatening swarm further in. Alas, seeing lots of the same things quickly reduce the art factor though. This goes both for the monsters and the eventually predictable room types.

The swarm will always find you!

The main problem with Sundered though is that it is a grind. Everything gives you EXP and you lose nothing on death but in order to validate the massive skill tree, it feels like the player is forced to do a shit load of grinding as the game progresses. Also there is an irritating ploy per area where initially your exploration is gimped due to a lack of an ability, which feels like a very mechanical way to just lengthen the game.

Ultimately it falls into the "too much road and not enough destinations" category which is why I'm dropping it. It's not a bad platformer, but when it has to stand up to other games that want my time it doesn't have a chance. I give it 2 elder shards out of 5.

Insight: You need to attack orbs to open doors. I wish that was in the tutorial.

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