Solar Ash is a solid 3D platformer from Heart Machine, though some players may find it a bit repetitive and short.
Heart Machine developer formed in 2013 to work on Hyperligero vagabond, a stylish action RPG that is a clear homage to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Hyperligero vagabond garnered mostly positive reviews upon release, developing a dedicated fan base and taking home some awards in the process. With such a positive reception for Hyperligero vagabond, there was high hope for the next Heart Machine project, Solar ash, and while it may not reach the same heights as its predecessor, it is still a solid endeavor and a fun way to spend an afternoon.
While Hyperligero vagabond it was a 2D game with retro style graphics, Solar ash is a full-fledged 3D platformer with a similar aesthetic. Both games make heavy use of bold colors like hot pink, and character designs in Solar ash are no different from what players can remember from Hyperligero vagabond.
The combat was a great focus on Hyperligero vagabond, and while it is present in Solar ash, it is not so much a focal point. The player character Rei is capable of attacking enemies with a basic melee attack, but there are not many enemy encounters and the boss fights barely present themselves as traditional battles. Instead, bosses in Solar ash They are self-contained platform challenges in which players have to reach objectives within a time limit. So though Solar ash Players aren’t directly fighting these bosses, encounters can be intense, and it’s always satisfying when conquered, especially since a bug causes players to replay an entire segment.
the Solar ash The bosses are the highlight of the experience, taking the form of huge black sticky creatures destined to look like different animals. There is one clearly inspired by a snake and another that looks like a huge bat, for example. While their design may appear generic on paper, the way the bosses are presented in the game makes them inspiring and intimidating, large enough for players to see from the other side. Solar ashgame world.
Going face to face with Solar ashBosses are a treat and truly the only reward players receive for conquering each level. Levels in Solar ash Watch players establish their base of operations first, then look for a number of anomalies. Solar ash Anomalies are defeated by completing timed platforming challenges, similar to boss fights, and they always end with players stabbing a bulbous eye. Getting rid of all anomalies results in a boss fight, and this repeats for every area of the game.
Solar ash Players have a variety of unique abilities when it comes to exploring the game world and looking for anomalies. Solar ash The protagonist Rei is a Voidrunner and is therefore equipped with equipment that allows her to skate through the clouds. Players can use a boost feature to increase speed and launch Rei off the ramps, clearing large gaps and reaching hard-to-reach areas. Rei has the ability to slow down time and also has a grappling hook-like device that can be used in specific situations. By mixing all these skills together, Solar ash Players can be creative when exploring the game world.
All the Solar ash Platforming skills are available to Rei from the beginning of the game, without much in the way of a tutorial explaining how to best use them, encouraging experimentation and giving the game a sense of freedom. Players are given all the tools they need to tackle all challenges right from the start, but this approach is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it ensures that Solar ash Players can use Rei to her full potential right away, and having these different abilities available makes platforming and exploration more fun. On the other hand, there is no rewarding sense of progression. The payoff for beating a boss is simply moving on to the next area, with Rei starting out as strong as she can be and never really getting better.
The only way Solar ash Players can upgrade Rei by giving her more shields, purchased from plasma found throughout the game world. Plasma in Solar ash It is the currency of the game, but it only serves to recharge Rei’s shields. And what is more, Solar ash Players can easily accumulate enough plasma to maximize Rei’s shields early in the game, but Solar ash arbitrarily removes a piece of shield after each boss fight, forcing players to search for more plasma to pay for something they already had.
Solar ash Players can also search for unique outfits for Rei to wear, each with its own ability. For example, one of Rei’s outfits in Solar ash can improve your attack power, while another can reduce the cooldown of your abilities. The problem is that none of these benefits are necessary for players to advance quickly in the game, since Solar ash it can be completed quite easily, not to mention how quickly. Players will have no problem beating Solar ash wearing the default outfit if they wish.
It takes approximately five and a half hours to complete Solar ash For a starter game on standard difficulty, and even higher difficulties, it shouldn’t take much longer. Unlocking all trophies in Solar ash However, it will require multiple plays, so those wanting to get the Platinum trophy should keep that in mind. There’s also not much engaging secondary content, as all side missions amount to doing the same thing over and over again.
the Solar ash Side activities like finding alternate outfits and completing quests for the few NPCs players find in the game basically come down to finding secret areas and collecting something. There is nothing especially unique about any of them, and while the stories attached to the side quests can be interesting, everything is told primarily through files and dialogue interactions, making it difficult to be truly involved in the game world or otherwise. what is happening.
Solar ash it’s repetitive and short, but that doesn’t take away from how much fun the main game is. The developers have nailed Solar ashwalkthrough system, which makes it really fun to explore and complete the various platforming challenges. The art style is striking, the bosses are impressive, and although it may not have the same lasting impact. Hyperligero vagabond did, Solar ash Fans of the Heart Machine work and the 3D platformer genre in general are still worth checking out.
Solar ash is available now for PC, PS4 and PS5. Game Rant received a PS5 code for this review.