Andromeda: an interesting 8-bit take on the Metroidvania genre
Metroid has been getting a bad rap lately. After the disaster that was Other M, and the bad press Federation Force has received it comes as no surprise that everyone is looking to cash in on the void Metroid has left behind. That's why when I saw Andromeda's Metroid-like title screen, I was almost instantly turned off by the prospects of another Metroid wannabe.
What I found instead was actually quite interesting...
Andromeda: There Is No God Up Here
Let's face it: the poster art for Andromeda - There is No God Up Here looks like a Metroid poster. In fact, it looks nearly identical to the Super Metroid centerfold from Nintendo Power Issue 57. As such, I came equipped with the typical cynicism I bring to any clone-game I find. However, Andromeda promises something very different from anything I have found before.
While many developers of late have tried to reinvent or recreate the essence of Metroid, Andromeda does something different. In a way, the developers of this Kickstarter project have more in common with a 3-in-1 "Value Cartridge" than any other game I've seen. The reason I say this is because Andromeda is a 3-piece game.
In Andromeda you have 3 gameplay types: planetary exploration, star travels, and galaxy investigation.
The planetary exploration portion of the game is very much the Metroidvania-style gameplay I expected upon seeing the title card. You've got your standard platforming, exploration, monster-killing, boss fights, and so on. All of this isn't exactly new by any definition. What I did find interesting about Andromeda, however, was its choice of weapon.
Dubbed the "DNA Gun", Andromeda's protagonist is capable of absorbing the DNA of defeated enemies in order to utilize new weapon types. While this may seem entirely unique to some gamers, it actually shares characteristics with a Kirby game - Kirby and the Crystal Shards to be precise.
Personally, I have been waiting for a game to try using this mechanic again. While Kirby and the Crystal Shards was hardly the best game in the world, the concept of combining classic abilities to come up with new weapons always intrigued me. However, the use of the ability was wasted in the old N64 game since it did little more than provide new ways of killing enemies.
In Andromeda, these combination abilities actually serve an important function: defeating bosses and solving puzzles. Assuming that the developers know how to hide secrets that will require returning to an old location with new abilities in tow, the possibilities could be near endless for puzzle creation. Considering their demonstration of ability combinations in-game I think this is a safe assumption.
Of course, all the classic Metroid upgrades are here as well. We got different environmental safety armors (above), a jetpack upgrade, and I'm certain more will come in the future as the game gets further into development.
The protagonist of Andromeda - Max Weaver - has a spaceship called the ATILA-1, much like Samus has her own starship in Metroid. However, unlike Samus, Max Weaver will actually use his starship for both travel and battle in Andromeda.
These sections of the game known as "Star Travels" will have the player navigate dangerous space battles and dungeons. These will typically consist of bullet-hell like sections that will put the player's abilities to the test. Thankfully, the ship is customizable to help level the playing field as the player progresses further into the game.
Bullet hell... of course it has to be bullet hell, doesn't it!
The Galaxy Investigation
The least of the smoothly-named gameplay sections, "The Galaxy Investigation" involves sending probes across the in-game solar system in order to complete the main task of the game: exploring the Andromeda galaxy.
The Galaxy Investigation is by far the least interesting portion of the game, at least superficially. Very little information has been given about this part of the game on the Kickstarter page, and so by the images alone we can only assume this would be similar to the often overlooked FrontierNav part of Xenoblade Chronicles X.
Like what you see so far?
Andromeda - There is No God Up Here is currently running a Kickstarter funding campaign. The goal is to raise €30,000 of which only €4,145 has been raised as of the publishing of this article. If you'd like to help the developers out or if you would like to learn more about the game then you can jump over to their Kickstarter here. Otherwise, you can check out how much has been pledged so far by taking a look at the widget on the right.
In either case, best of luck to the Andromeda team. It looks to be an interesting concept, but only time will tell if the campaign or the final product will succeed.