March 5, 2023

Elderand (Steam) Review | WalaWalaGames

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Elderand (Steam) Review | WalaWalaGames

By Joel | March 5, 2023
Elderand Review (Steam) Review | WalaWalaGames

Elderand tells the story of a person who changes the direction of his life and the lives of the people he saves after a sudden storm leaves him washed ashore. The townsfolks see this as a long-awaited prophesy and hail him as a savior.

The game arrives from South America by developer Sinergia Games trailing clouds of glory. Elderand won the best game and best game design in the Gamepolitan awards, Brazil's biggest gaming event. So there was a lot of hype leading up to the release.

Elderand Review (Steam) Review | WalaWalaGames

Journey Towards the Darkness

The gameplay should be familiar to anyone who has played a Metroidvania-type game, and because the theme is fictional, the story takes on an alluring timelessness. It is about people stuck in an ancient culture of repression, greed, and punishment, and how some can escape it by spiritual strength while others take up arms to fight against it.

As with most side-scrolling games, the action starts small but snowballs into something bigger. Armed with a sword and shield, you play a warrior of great courage called upon to rid an evil that has taken over the land. He is everything you could ever hope for in a warrior; short, muscular, and can throw axes, shoot arrows, perform a double dash, and jump exceedingly high with a push of a button.

The basic premise in Elderand is like any platformer where you move from left to right, disposing of enemies to collect coins and level up. There are four components in the skill tree: Vitality which increases health; Dexterity increases the chances of critical strikes; Wisdom increases magic damage; and Strength which increases overall physical damage. Judging the game by this limited option, you may assume this is simple. But dig a little deeper, however, and it reveals much more than just the essential elements of your average platformer.

It is a universal truth that, in any game, a hero requires a villain and that the developers had some fun creating heinous-looking enemies, from powerful demons to dangerous trolls. This is accomplished with such sensational action that every boss encounter feels almost organic.

Elderand Review (Steam) Review | WalaWalaGames

Platforming Goodness

Elderand's character creator is simple and lightweight that primarily focuses on the external appearance: hairstyle, color, and skin tone. There isn't any options to include height, build, or specific characteristics, so you're stuck with a character that resembles, for all intent and purposes, Gimli, from Lord of the Rings.

Putting character creator aside, the best in-game feature is its depiction of the warrior's epic journey, created with breathtaking beauty. Even in the age of 3D gaming, its visuals stand out for its captivating description of the warrior's quest. While not unique, the graphics are pleasing with vibrant colors and interwoven with pixel graphics to create a beautiful fantasy realm.

This aesthetic is further accentuated by end level bosses that are created nicely, featuring unique designs and abilities. Players would need to memorize their attack patterns to be successful in combating them, which helps shape the engaging atmosphere of excitement and suspense.

The map feature of this game is a beneficial tool that makes navigating the game world more accessible than ever. By tracking objectives and particular areas, it quickly becomes apparent which direction players should take to complete a level.

Furthermore, the colorful dots on the map make it straightforward to keep track of critical areas at a glance, especially when levels are longer than usual and can quickly leave players disoriented.

Elderand Review (Steam) Review | WalaWalaGames

Respect Your Elder

My only caveat is that the game is relatively easy to complete due to the ability of Hero's level and skill-boosting capabilities. This reveals that there needs to be more balance between the skills available in-game and what is necessary to win. Hit detection is also a concern since even the slightest contact with the enemy damages your character more than it should. However, it is worth noting that game balance is subjective and will differ from player to player.

Overall, however, the struggle for survival is fun, and even in its most frustrating moments, Elderand delivers an immersive gaming experience. It's also nice to know that some developers are still willing to call a time-out on the 3D craze and create a 2D-style game that's actually worth playing.

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