Surely not another Metroidvania? The genre seems to be more alive these days than it’s ever been thanks to an army of independent developers exposing our love and desire for it. There is something extremely enticing about a good Metroidvania giving gamers the freedom to explore vast 2D (usually) worlds whilst having to use our brains and come back to previously visited areas once a certain ability has been obtained. On the flip side, it’s the backtracking that puts a lot of non-fans off and while I understand their notion, I will be explaining in as much detail as I can why even the non Metroidvania fans should at least give Unsung Warriors a look in. After giving the prologue demo a go (which you can see below) I came to the conclusion that Unsung Warriors has enough in its locker to hold its own and stand shoulder to shoulder with the many great Metroidvanias currently on the market.
The world of Unsung Warriors is inspired by Iron Age Europe and will feature many celtic style tribes, the demo has you control a Viking style guy and is a story of its own, hence why it’s called a prologue. The game is a 2D action platforming-adventure Metroidvania game which boasts lush hand drawn visuals and will offer a serious challenge to those who deem themselves worthy of it. You will be able to explore the vast world in which the game resides while shopping for new shields, skills, melee and ranged weapons in order to take down nasty foes and bosses. Players will need to learn new abilities as the game progresses if they are to master the art of dispatching multiple enemies at once while utilizing their dash and shield techniques in order to stay alive. When I played the demo for the first time I was often greeted by several skeleton enemies both with swords and bows, the ones with swords trying to surround me and cut me to shreds while the ones with bows standing from a safe distance trying to arrow me down! It is clear that you will have to get used to this type of scenario if you want to get far in the game as I imagine it will only get more crowded the further you progress.
The developers of the game, Osarion and Mountaineer insist that they are committed to giving us a great gaming experience as they aim to launch Unsung Warriors in 2020. While the game will be initially released on PC, Mac and Linux, the developers have made a Nintendo Switch port their second stretch goal on their Kickstarter campaign as they are such big Nintendo fans. As with most (if not all) Indie games, the Nintendo Switch seems to be a good fit and I am confident they will hit this stretch goal considering the game has already received almost £5,000 out of a required initial £25,000 at the time of writing this with 23 days to go. I am sure they will at least smash the initial funding goal! Check out their Kickstarter page for more details on other stretch goals planned for the game. Anyway, lets talk more about some of what the game has to offer, starting with a little bit more detail on the combat.
Throughout the game you will be able to buy and sell your weapons in the mini shop that you will often come across and naturally, the more expensive weapons will inflict more damage. You start the demo with a basic sword for your melee weapon and a basic bow (which auto aims) for your ranged but there are many close and mid-ranged weapons on sale including axes, scythes and halberds. I brought myself an axe before heading to the boss fight as it gave me more attack damage, the basic sword you start with has a 2-4 attack while the axe has a 4-4 attack. It’s not all about mashing the attack button either as doing so will only give you a 3 hit combo, if you time your hits properly you can get several more hits in. I was able to chain 5 hit combos with my axe. You will also be able to purchase additional ranged attack weapons that deal magic attack and are able to swap between it and your bow on the fly. Some of these magic abilities include zapping your enemies with an electrical bolt or even sapping their life to you. I was also able to hold down the attack button in mid air which sent me crashing to the ground pulverising the enemies beneath which came in handy against multiple enemies. Using your shield effectively will aid you in combat greatly as well, not only are you able to block enemies attacks with it but you can also use it to hurt enemies by dashing into them. A true warrior will need to utilize all of their different types of attacks while being prepared to dodge and defend with sharp reflexes. You will also be gaining xp as you defeat enemies and will have access to unlocking additional skills in your skill tree giving you the freedom to craft your player as you see fit.
Unsung Warriors offers more than just running around gorgeous hand drawn environments and an addictive battle system against ferocious enemies and epic bosses, you also need to master the art of platforming. Multiple puzzles will require solving and will get more challenging the further you get, the demo has a couple of basic puzzles to get you started like cutting a rope sending a chandelier crashing onto enemies and moving boxes to hold several switches down in order to open a door. But I am sure they are only the tip of the ice berg and I am very much looking forward to seeing what other platforming gold Unsung Warriors will have you try out. Double jumping is an important mechanic in the game, as it is in most games of this genre and you will need to use it effectively to help locate all those secret areas that are not visible at first glance. It is also worth noting that the game world will feature many different types of environments to platform through like a land of mountains, a town under siege and a snowy land etc. All of this sounds very good but we have eluded to one of the biggest factors of the game, the fact that you and a friend can play the whole game co-operatively couch co-op style! Unfortunately I haven’t had the pleasure of trying the game in co-op mode but I can imagine it is double the fun.
Give Unsung Warriors a try at least, it deserves that and you have nothing to lose, except your life in game many times…But seriously, give the demo a try and I’m sure you will agree that it was well worth your time and you will no doubt understand the games potential like I do. Give me your thoughts in the comments below and stay tuned for another look at more Indie magic soon.
Witten by Sammy J on 26th January 2019