The innovative Metroidvania adventure game Afterimage is a pleasant surprise coming with stunning hand-drawn graphics, frenetic combat, diverse character configurations, and non-linear level design, all wrapped in a gripping narrative set in a fantastical world on the brink of oblivion.
The Metroidvania genre is known for its non-linear exploration, character progression, and the acquisition of abilities that allow players to access new areas. Afterimage takes these fundamentals and elevates them to new heights. You’ll find yourself enthralled by the game’s unique “Afterimages” mechanic, which adds an innovative layer of strategy to both exploration and combat.
As a fan of the genre, I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the game’s beautiful visuals, intricate gameplay mechanics, and great storytelling. Seamlessly blending elements reminiscent of beloved games like Hollow Knight, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Dead Cells, Afterimage stands out as a shining example of what the Metroidvania genre can offer.
▍Delving into the Wonders of a Fading World
In the mesmerizing world of Afterimage, players are transported to a post-apocalyptic land where the cataclysm called “The Razing” nearly annihilated human civilization. Mystic forces now assault the remaining settlements, and it’s up to Renee, an amnesiac girl, and Ifree, her partner, to investigate these mysterious attacks. They set out on a journey to uncover her past, say goodbye to her destroyed village, and unearth the truth behind these mystic forces, ultimately determining the fate of this fragile new world.
This enchanting world offers a diverse array of landscapes, including idyllic countryside scenes and intricate water-filled areas filled with mechanical contraptions. Each area is brought to life by breathtaking graphics, and the depiction of flowing water is particularly stunning. As you explore, you’ll encounter formidable enemies and a plethora of area-specific challenges.
As a good Metroidvania title, Afterimage expertly captures the essence of the genre, delivering an atmosphere that leaves players with a sense of wonder and exploration throughout the journey.
While exploring the fading Engardin, we will encounter a wide array o characters, each with their own backstories and struggles. These interactions serve to enrich the world-building of Afterimage and create an emotional connection between the player and the inhabitants of this dying land. The game’s carefully crafted narrative delves into themes of loss, hope, and perseverance, evoking a sense of wonder and melancholy that resonates with players as they progress through Renee’s journey.
As Renee navigates the perils of this decaying world, the mysteries of Engardin slowly unravel, revealing the profound truths hidden within. Through the journey, you will come to understand the weight of Renee’s role in restoring balance and the significance of the connections forged along the way.
While the game’s story isn’t necessarily bad, it may lack the originality or the same level of beauty found in the world and art design, which could have made the narrative more compelling. The character development could also use some enhancements, particularly with regard to the protagonist’s somewhat cliché and immature demeanor.
▍A World with Enchanting Visuals & Soundtrack
The beautifully crafted world is truly captivating, with attention to detail in both the environment and character designs. The atmospheric, hand-drawn landscapes and intricate animations bring the world to life in a way that is both enchanting and haunting.
One notable aspect of Afterimage is the sense of progression and discovery throughout the game. As Renee acquires new abilities and uncovers hidden paths, the world opens up in unexpected ways, evoking a sense of wonder and excitement akin to the exploration found in classic Metroidvania titles like Castlevania and Metroid. But the non-linear nature of the game can sometimes lead to confusion and aimless wandering, which might be off-putting to some.
The post-apocalyptic world of Afterimage presents a mix of crumbling ruins and majestic landscapes. Amidst the returning nature and struggling human settlements, the game’s compelling visual design and exploration mechanics create a captivating experience that entices players to keep pushing forward and imagine what lies beyond each new vista.
Afterimage’s soundtrack definitely deserves special praise. Hauntingly beautiful melodies are perfect when it comes to complementing the melancholic atmosphere of the game. Evoking all sorts of emotions as you explore the world of Engardin. Honestly, the music really makes you feel like you’re walking in Renee’s shoes, deepening your connection to the story, the environment, and the characters.
▍Unlock Movesets and Magic Spells for More Adventures
At the beginning of the game, the protagonist, Renee, is only capable of basic jumps. However, as you progress through the game, you’ll acquire a variety of movement actions, such as aerial dashes and sliding. Afterimage boasts a strong Metroidvania aspect, which means that as you gain new actions, you’ll be able to construct new routes, unlock shortcuts, and watch the map expand before your eyes.
Renee’s versatile arsenal, which includes swords, whips, and sickles, allows players to customize their combat style so that they can tailor Renee’s combat style to individual preferences. Up to two weapons can be equipped simultaneously and both can be used in combat. Choosing the right combination of weapons for each situation, like pairing the fast-attacking dual blades with the powerful greatsword, is crucial to your success.
Renee can also acquire grimoires to unlock various elemental magic spells. Although using magic consumes MP, it provides valuable long-range attacks with high power, making it an essential tool in combat. Additionally, armor and accessories can be equipped to enhance Raine’s defense and healing capabilities.
Afterimage also features a skill tree called “Talent” and passive effects known as Afterimages. Skills not only improve base stats but also unlock special techniques for each weapon type. By focusing on your preferred weapon, you can develop a more refined and sophisticated combat style.
Throughout the Afterimage, you’ll face formidable bosses with varying attack patterns. However, once you understand their patterns, any weapon can be effective against them. If you happen to be defeated, you’ll only lose a portion of your experience points and quickly respawn at the nearest save point. This encourages you to experiment with different builds and strategies to overcome obstacles.
As expected, the game is riddled with hidden passages. You’ll need to slide under walls, break through barriers, and sometimes utilize multiple actions to navigate through treacherous spike-filled paths. These hidden passage variations make exploration all the more engaging. When Renee encounters obstacles such as spikes, she is returned to her initial position, providing a satisfying level of challenge.
While the map remains unchanged until you reach a Save point along your journey, the design choice results in a sense of adventure and excitement when you finally expand the map after overcoming difficult areas filled with powerful enemies.
Afterimage is a game that showcases a rich variety of weapons, extensive character progression options, and diverse combat styles. The responsive controls and fast-paced, strategic gameplay make for an engaging experience, with leveling up occurring at a pace that minimizes stress.
▍Afterimage is a Visual Feast with Engaging Gameplay
One of the standout features of Afterimage is its exceptional and highly detailed graphics, which provide an impressive visual experience without any blurry elements. The game truly sets itself apart from others in the Metroidvania genre with its sharp visuals and captivating art direction.
The engaging combat system is another strength, requiring you to unlock various moves and combos as progress, adding depth and challenge to the gameplay. The well-designed loot system offers a multitude of weapons to collect and upgrade, using materials found in the game world.
Thoughtful placement of save points allows for the exploration of this vast and beautifully crafted world without the worry of losing progress. Challenging boss encounters provide a thrilling sense of accomplishment when conquered, though occasional difficulty spikes may be frustrating for some players, particularly those new to the genre.
But certain aspects of Afterimage could benefit from further refinement. Renee, the protagonist, occasionally comes across as slightly immature, which may affect immersion for some. Additionally, the game’s mobility could be improved to better align with other aspects of the gameplay, especially for those who enjoy exploring diverse defensive strategies.
Even with some shortcomings in story and character development, Afterimage remains a solid addition to the Metroidvania genre, offering an enjoyable and challenging experience. The game’s stunning visuals, immersive world-building, and engaging gameplay continue to shine, even when certain aspects don’t quite reach their full potential. Fans of the genre or those seeking a heartfelt adventure should definitely give Afterimage a try.
This review is based on a Steam code provided by the publisher. Afterimage is now available on Xbox One, Series X|S, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, and PC (Steam).
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Afterimage Review – A Beautifully-Crafted Metroidvania - QooApp Review
Afterimage captivates with its mesmerizing journey, melding exhilarating combats and exploration within a vivid and enchanting world. With rich customization options, this unique Metroidvania offers a spellbinding and unforgettable experience.
Operating System: Xbox One, Series X|S, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, and PC (Steam)
Application Category: Game