Solar Ash Review – IGN

I glide leisurely through the undulating turquoise waters, enjoying the smooth motion as I cut a path through the landscape… what? Cloud ?! Ultravoid is a completely surreal place – beautiful, colorful, but also broken and desolate. This is all that remains of a series of forgotten worlds, sucked into the gravity of a massive black hole. Above me, a monstrous-looking creature called the Remnant was patrolling the skies, and it was so massive that I would literally slide when I confronted and killed it; part of a desperate attempt to save my home planet from becoming the latest victim of The Ultravoid’s insatiable appetites. Solar ash there are some big ideas, and while it’s not all smooth thanks to minor control errors and a few design elements that haven’t reached their full potential, it’s certainly been a journey worth taking. to participate.

Rei admires Ultravoid before jumping in.

Rei admires Ultravoid before jumping in.

Rei Crisis

Solar Ash’s vibrant color palette is reminiscent of the last game by the developer Heart Machine, Hyper Light Drifter, but transferred to the 3D open world, where dynamics is the most important design principle. In Solar Ash, you face platform challenges, light puzzles, encounters with enemies, bosses, and impossible spaces – and you glide through it all, accompanied by a Sci-fi score driven by matching atmosphere.

You are Rei, a Voidrunner who has ventured inside a black hole called The Ultravoid, and you are trying to find out what happened to each of your companions and secure the paths they set. established across different areas of the active space. These are the things needed to power a massive, monolithic piece of technology known as the Starseed – which, in turn, is the only hope of closing the black hole itself and saving Rei’s planet from destruction. going to happen. This vast story set-up means reaching out and removing anomalies that are interfering with the pipelines, and then defeating each area’s giant boss creature.

The action platformer is Solar Ash’s main driving force, but it’s also interested in world building and has a lot to learn through story elements like the audio logs left by Rei’s missing comrades. leave, scribble notes in the environment, a handful of survivors you can talk to and quiz the friendly AI of Rei building Cyd about the details of the quest. All of this helps to make the overall plot more impactful as it gradually becomes apparent, leading to a harder climax than I expected; a neat twist to a game that’s always focused on dynamics.

This dynamic is expressed through the expansive environment and foundational challenges that allow Rei to be almost always in motion. You can scan each area for key targets, while narrative icons on the surfaces reveal whether hidden audio logs are nearby. What’s interesting about it is figuring out how to achieve goals, not having to wonder where they are, so I always feel like I’m navigating the world with purpose.

Rei has a lightweight yet powerful skill set, crafted specifically for the open world platform. She transitions smoothly between running and skating, with an incredible feel – and sound – boost ideal for zooming in on past enemies, lip-tapping at full speed, or just zooming forward. right from the start. I appreciate having to remove Rei’s inertia to bring her to a sudden stop after being completely normal, but the joy of moving is sometimes hindered by odd questions like going the wrong way. confusing on the tracks, completely missing or falling off the platform, thanks to an unhelpful camera.

It’s a world full of ramps, floating platforms, local gravity, and simple yet satisfying motion puzzles.

But for the most part skating feels great in between those hiccups, whether you’re accelerating then double-jumping to bypass the surface of a dangerous acid lake, jumping over a series of mid-air grappling points. air, directly and then ride a mushroom track, or ascend a bulbous cloud column to reach an ancient structure in the sky. It’s a world full of ramps, floating platforms, local gravity, and simple yet satisfying motion puzzles.

Sideshow Melee

While there are enemies to fight, the encounters with them are streamlined. Rei can time slip to slow time then dash in, instantly knocking down smaller enemies with a slash or two. When this works, it nicely adds to the Solar Ash’s flow, and Rei can do some pretty sweet moves like grappling an airborne enemy, and killing it before jumping in a climbable surface. When not, however, Rei can feel a bit clumsy. For example, she is very good at closing distances, but not very good at dealing with multiple enemies, and can be difficult to avoid damage in some situations.

However, these enemies are really a side-scroller – obstacles to avoid or defeat on the way to the main goal: the anomaly. These are areas of volatile black goo (as opposed to inert black goo, which can be climbed throughout levels) and each area is treated as a moving puzzle. Slashing on the contact nerve ending (indicated by a protruding spike) reveals an energy path through the groove and bone to another point, and potentially many others, each of which must be slashed before the anomaly overheats and fry anything on it. In a stylish touch, Rei can always struggle to the very end to stab its energy core and erase the anomaly.

Each of these little challenges is unique, but their quickly familiar structure means that only a few really stand out. The best anomalies rely on Solar Ash’s movement-focused platforming to make Rei feel like the bad guy, but just like in combat, others can make her feel like her. have two left legs.

Defeating the giant giants Rei grappled on also follows a similar structure of node-to-node movement, but is built entirely around skating and grappling, giving them a sense of rhythm. Faster and more streamlined than some anomalous games. Each rest is hit in stages – usually the same triple hit on the nerve endings, but each slide adds extra steps or less secure areas. These encounters are a frantic dash against the clock, and the spectacle of riding along the back of a flying, otherworldly creature or leaping onto the arms of a stumbling giant before passing through other parts of its body is certainly impressive. That said, they also expose some of the weaker elements of Solar Ash’s gameplay – mainly, it can be difficult to gauge your position and momentum while standing on top of a moving creature, especially as the camera moves around.

Like Shadow of the Colossus... just with more inline skating.

Like Shadow of the Colossus… just with more inline skating.

It’s generally not that much of an issue for the first two levels of each Remnant challenge, but I’ve noticed the third and final sequence – where there’s less room for error – some of the beasts are a bit annoying, especially when a slip could mean restarting the third stage. Heart Machine has certainly relied on its ability to slow down time and grapple during these encounters, making controls feel more precise without sacrificing energy and spectacle, but overall, I’m generally relieved than excited to defeat these bosses.

All in all, in fact, it’s really the journey – as opposed to the destination – that I get the most out of Solar Ash’s game, and that’s probably because this is when you’re the most. in world, enjoying its striking aesthetic and the differences between biomes. For example, the Mirrorsea region mixes trails of trails and floating space debris with acid pools and ancient ruins. The Eternal Garden, on the other hand, is completely different to explore, making clever use of native mushrooms for motor puzzles and mood swings as Rei ventures into dark caves.

Screenshot of Solar Ash Review

It’s also well worth the chase for Solar Ash collectibles, as finding all the Voidrunners stored in an area unlocks a new outfit for Rei to wear, often providing a really useful new buff. useful. These include doubling your attack power, greatly reducing the cooldown, the ability to sweep remaining stacks, and more. However, it would be nice if this wasn’t/or choice – I’d love to be able to equip at least a few of these bonuses at once. There was also the fact that by the time I actually collected all the clothes, I had very little to do in the world. Solar Ash Review – IGN


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