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Feudal Alloy

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 3 - 2019

Metroidvania with a fish-controlled medieval robot, and why not?

Fans of the Metroidvania genre are well catered for across all platforms. When it comes time to hop platforms, avoid traps and fight enemies, all while trying to find a way to access that inaccessible area from way back, gamers have plenty to choose from. So, how can a new game in the genre stand out and get noticed? Well, Attu Games’ answer is to put the player in control of a medieval robot with a fish bowl for a head, which is pretty unique to start with. But what else can it do to tempt Metroidvania fans?

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The story is a great quirky start. The fish-controlled robot, called Attu, is no hero, just a simple farmer. But when outlaws attack the village and steal the oil supplies, Attu decides enough is enough and takes off into the wilderness to rid the land of this menace. So far as reasons to go on a quest goes, it is serviceable. However, players shouldn’t expect too much more from the story as the game progresses, as that is pretty much all they get. This fantastical medieval world with strange inhabitants just begs to be fleshed out with more detail and lots more fun. It is all a bit silly after all, but the developers have decided to rely more on the quality of their gameplay than story-telling, which will be fine for many.

As it happens, the gameplay is of a sufficiently high level to warrant that decision. Attu heads off to right the wrongs with very little by way of skill and ability, and indeed the early game moves at a slow pace as the player builds Attu up into a force to be reckoned with. Attu is weak to begin with, and players will have to get used to the various different systems and the way that Attu controls. His movement is a little clunky, something which players will have to adjust to, and in the early days of exploring different areas of the world, his weakness will make things difficult.

There are two things that the player has to keep an eye on with Attu. Firstly, there is his oil gauge, which represents his health. This is fairly self-explanatory. However, players will also have to keep an eye on their temperature. Every action that Attu makes will increase his temperature, which acts as a stamina of sorts, and overheating will result in Attu being pretty much incapable of doing anything but slowly running away. This means that button mashing in battle is a risky business that can lead to the player being open to attack. As the player progresses through the game and unlocks certain new abilities, the player will have to be even more careful as using these abilities will cause overheating even quicker. Fortunately, there are various ways to cool down quickly, including special potions of sorts, and so players may be able to plan their attacks and uses of abilities with that in mind.

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As is often the case, the player will quite quickly come across areas that are inaccessible, and will then find abilities further down the line that will make them available. This will mean a certain amount of backtracking, which is all well and good, except that the map in Feudal Alloy is purposefully vague. Presented on hand-drawn scraps of paper, the map will prove to be an essential tool, but lacks a certain precision, which will lead to players often missing the route they intend to take.

The early game is a bit of a drag, but as the player unlocks new abilities, both for movement and combat, and also finds new items of armour or weapons, and levels up to make Attu that bit better, Feudal Alloy really starts to pop. That is not to say that it is easy, especially when it comes to the testing boss battles, but it all feels more possible. Players are able to visit stores to stock up on the various potions and the like, giving them an extra edge.

Perhaps the first thing that will attract the player to Feudal Alloy are the visuals. There is a great amount of detail to the hand-drawn environments, although they are not massively varied. The colour schemes throughout don’t exactly pop, mostly being quite subdued, but give the game a unique feel. Little visual details, such as the fish bobbing around in Attu’s head, add a sense of charm to the game. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is somewhat disappointing with a collection of barely memorable medieval tunes keeping the player company through the game.

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Feudal Alloy is a solid Metroidvania game that manages to accomplish everything a player would want from the genre. It does squeeze in a couple of interesting ideas, such as the cooling system, and a great, quirky setting. It’s a bit slow to get moving, but once it does Feudal Alloy is a joy to play. Metroidvania fans will not be disappointed.




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