Switch between three characters for some maximum side scrolling action.
The side scrolling action game has become a packed genre over the last couple of years. With retro-esque titles like Shovel Knight, the race to bigger and better pastures is upon us. When I first noticed Astalon on the BitSummit showfloor, I didn't know what to make of it. Sure, the game seemed fun, but I wrote it off as ''another one of those.” Shame on me, because the moment I started to experience what the game was doing, I actually found out how novel Astalon really is. You have to make a constant switch between three characters, and the results make for something rather special.
As mentioned, Astalon: Tears of The Earth is a side scrolling action-platformer. The look is very much 8-bit sprites with authentic looking backgrounds and world building to boot. What makes LABS Works' latest effort a tiny bit different is how it actually plays in motion. While it limits you in what you can do, the game is quite responsive and smooth. I had no problem learning the ins and outs, and was running through all of it in no time flat. The action was plentiful and really kept you focused on what is happening.
A couple of really interesting elements make Astalon rather unique. First of all, it doesn't run on a typical health bar, but rather on a numbered HP counter. Depending on the attacks you can endure, the Hit Points will faze out and forces you to be that teensy bit more careful. At the same time, Astalon embraces the sense of dread. When you perish, you have to get back to earth and use orbs that you collected for more possibilities. It can range from a simple health upgrade to mercy, which requires a whopping 2000 orbs.
Astalon constantly sees you using different characters to solve puzzles, defeating monsters or simply reaching new floors of the tower. You have Arias the Fighter, who uses his Sword and Shield combo for effective close combat and beast slaying. Algus the Wizard, who uses magical attacks to overpower anything that moves in his way. Finally, Kyuli the Rogue has speed and a bow and arrow on her side, which makes traversing the tower an absolute blast. Each has sections that only they can do, and there are set locations where you can freely swap to ensure that you can make progress.
While Astalon: Tears of The Earth may look a little standard from a distance, the action is anything but. With three characters in hand, you constantly have to deal with surprises. It seems that climbing the tower will not be a simple feat, but I reckon that the experience keeps building as a result. I didn't really get a major sense of the story, but the music and overall feel of the game keeps making me excited. Astalon is scheduled for a 2019 release.