Sundered Review: A Great Metroidvania With Tons of Replayability
Thunder Lotus Games' latest release, Sundered, is bound to be a hit. As a fan of their last game, I jumped at the opportunity to play this new one -- and I'm honestly hard-pressed to find something about this title that I dislike.
The story is interesting, and told in a way that lends itself to the mysterious atmosphere of the world. Most fun of all is the way its gameplay fluctuates between intriguing exploration and hectic survival, keeping you constantly on your toes.
You play as Eshe, a cloaked wanderer, as you take on the challenges of the endlessly transforming caverns that make up the game world. With each death, the world around you will shift -- making each life a new challenge.
The use of procedural generation makes the game pretty intense, since the map changes drastically every time you die. And death is a fairly common occurrence, since you will be attacked by randomized hordes of enemies throughout your travels.
In true Metroidvania style, the game includes a ton of interesting abilities. While the powers aren't particularly unique to Sundered, the game allows you to corrupt and upgrade these powers with Elder Shards that you collect from defeating bosses. By deciding whether to corrupt your abilities or not, you also make a decision on which ending you'd like to see -- as each of the three endings is determined by how many abilities you corrupt.
So between the multiple endings and the procedural generation, there's a ton of replayability potential here -- which is excellent given how fun the game actually is.
Sundered also features a massive upgrade tree. You can modify a ton of your stats, allowing you to tailor your gameplay to your personal preferences. The modifications range from basic damage upgrades to more behind-the-scenes stats like Luck.
Apart from stat boosts, the upgrade tree features a few extra powers that can ease the difficulty of your game. My favorite upgrade so far has been the ability to destroy projectiles when hitting them with my weapon. The power is fairly minor, but it allowed me to reserve dodges for other enemies, which has since saved me from a ton of deaths.
The impressive gameplay in Sundered is further enhanced by the impressive artistry of the game's atmosphere and characters. Its hand-drawn horrific monsters and beautiful scenery speak for themselves as a testament to the work put into this game.
You face eldritch horrors that are an unsettling combination of tentacles, wings, teeth, and technology. Colossal boss fights show off a beautiful style similar to the developer's previous game, Jotun. All in all, a vibrant aesthetic mixes with some truly gruesome sights, making this game stand out among the wealth of indie Metroidvanias currently available on the market.
By mixing procedurally generated areas with the exploration typical of a Metroidvania game, Sundered has created a world that is massively enjoyable to explore while being incredibly difficult to navigate. All in all, the game is difficult but ultimately satisfying.
The game's art design is fascinating and serves the game well, and there's a ton of replayability potential here because of the procedural generation and multiple endings to discover.
If this sounds like your kind of Metroidvania experience, you can pick up Sundered for $19.99 on GOG.