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Astalon: Tears of the Earth is another retro-style action platform game on Switch eShop with a few RPG elements. It tells the story of an unspecified planet falling into chaos after endless battles between many kingdoms. After surviving in the wasteland for decades, a team of three heroes entered the Snake Tower, hoping to save their village. This is a fairly standard plot, but in the end it feels very skinny, with almost no fat to distract from the powerful gameplay offered here.
You play as all three heroes, which can be exchanged in the various campfires set up in the tower: Arias, a keen warrior who likes to fight at close quarters; Argus, a stoic wizard who can launch powerful spheres at enemies; and Kyuli, A sexy rascal with a slow but accurate long-range bow. Each character has its own attributes, which can be upgraded through the powerful Epimetheus, a terrifying beast that can provide our heroes with new abilities in exchange for the soul of Algus.
The gameplay is very similar to ordinary Galactic Castlevania, with multiple exploration routes, locked doorways, and a small amount of collectibles for you to collect on the way. Certain pathways require a specific personality to progress; for example, Kyuli can jump higher than Arias and Algus, which may be necessary to enter the high ground. Similarly, Arias can reduce blockages, and Algus can activate magic switches. It’s great that the game encourages you to play all three characters, but it’s very frustrating when you have to go back to the nearest campfire to choose the right character.
The enemies throughout the tower are different and always interesting; some float around the area, some can fire projectiles, and some just charge you unscrupulously. Mini-Boss encounters rarely happen, and when they appear, they always prove to be a good rhythm change, although not particularly challenging. However, the main boss is excellent and provides a difficult experience without feeling overbearing.
The game provides multiple graphic filters according to your preferences (although it is annoying, you can only access it through the main menu). By default, the pixel-intensive visual effect appears soft and gives a more retro feel, but you can change it to a “appropriate” CRT filter, black and white filter, or not use it at all. We rarely see games with so many graphics options, which is really great. Otherwise, the whole game looks good; the sprites and environment are quite basic, but the animation and effects go through and the colors are used well.
With a variety of environments, simple gameplay and a strong enemy lineup, “Astaron: Tears of the Earth” has become one of the more successful action platform games we have seen in recent months. It may only last a few hours, but there are many things to love here. If you are a fan of high fantasy Metroid Castlevania, this is relatively effortless.
About the author
Ronald is a blogger who is always fascinated with the games and the amount of knowledge he can gather from the internet. He is trying to nerdify everyone around his with that same knowledge, through his writings.