Afterimage Preview – A challenging but stimulating cinematic Metroidvania

Although 2D games may seem like a thing of the past, they continue to prove their worth in the modern age, introducing new fun tactics and huge maps. From Hollow Knight to Limbo, each part offers a unique experience through gameplay, storytelling, and intricate levels that require strategy. And now the 2D collection has expanded even further with the Metroidvania action-adventure afterimage.

At first glance, the game’s art style felt very similar to Genshin Impact’s designs, as both have brightly colored worlds and characters with anime-like traits. After some time with the game, Afterimage stands out visually, especially as everything is hand-drawn, much like Cuphead, which must have been a challenge given the variety of locations and monsters.

In the beginning, you will be introduced to the world of Engardin, which is full of formidable beasts and dangerous beings known as “Wanderers”. As a player, you take on the role of Renee and use her warrior skills to eliminate anyone who stands in her way. The first mission tasks her with patrolling the area with her companion Ifree, where she encounters various enemies with different attack techniques.

Afterimage gameplay
Image Source: Screenshot via Aurogon Shanghai

I admit that the story aspect was a bit confusing as it didn’t fully explain everything that was going on and there was some terminology that I didn’t know the meaning of. However, as this is a preview, there is an opportunity for further clarification with the final product.

The brightest aspect of Afterimage is its dynamic game mechanics and non-linear levels. Even though I only played part of the narrative, I was impressed by how extensive the map was, as there were so many hidden areas and alternate routes that could lead to valuable treasure. In addition, each monster has not only an individual design, but also different movements and techniques.

While some creatures are easy to defeat, others require you to time attacks or develop a strategic plan. For example, a bird-like opponent has a damaging rush, forcing players to dodge them quickly and use their weapons immediately. Then, players must hit an archer’s wanderer’s arrow to send the projectile back, damaging it in the process.

Even though I’ve played 2D games before, Afterimage’s enemies are relatively difficult to eliminate, especially when they’re all attacking you at once. It also doesn’t help that there aren’t many checkpoints, forcing you to go back from the start and do everything all over again. On the other hand, players who like challenges will no doubt enjoy the experience as there is always something different to tackle in each domain.

Luckily, Afterimage’s RPG mechanics provide you with weapons, abilities, and tools to improve Renee’s combat performance. Specifically, the talent system boosts the character’s HP, MP, defense, and attack by connecting them through the skill tree.

Image Source: Screenshot via Aurogon Shanghai

You also gain additional mobility abilities from fallen enemies, such as the Emblem of Windwalker perk, which improves Renee’s walking speed and jumping power. What I liked about this concept is how it allows players to get to areas they couldn’t previously by zooming in mid-air and timing their landing, leading to more targets to discover is applicable.

The only thing I would like to say is to pay attention to the character’s health bar, because the regeneration potions are low and the healing powers are limited. However, like most games, it gets better over time after you equip the right materials and buffs.

Gameplay aside, the scenery and graphics are some of the most outstanding designs I’ve seen in a game, and you can definitely tell that a lot of time and effort has gone into each character and location. Sometimes you’ll explore a dark and mysterious dungeon, and other times you’ll travel through a radiant grassy field.

Renee in the afterimage
Image Source: Screenshot via Aurogon Shanghai

As a result, each destination offers a brand new experience, whether it’s a complex maze or the home of a fearsome boss. Additionally, the soundtrack changes with the landscape and features a melodic piano that eases the tension in intricate battles.

With these features in mind, I would highly recommend Afterimage to more experienced 2D players looking for a challenge due to the high quality boss fights and confusing map. Even beginners can give it a try, as long as they can handle a few rage breaks here and there. Still, defeating powerful enemies or solving a complex puzzle is incredibly satisfying.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the game improves once it’s officially released as the developers have tried to incorporate changes through fan feedback on various social media platforms. All in all, Afterimage will definitely continue the hot period of 2D games and prove that they are here to stay. Afterimage Preview – A challenging but stimulating cinematic Metroidvania

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