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Game Review #447: Valfaris (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: WoodmanFLG

Developer: Steel Mantis

Publisher: Big Sugar

Category: Action, Platformer, Metroidvania

Release Date: 10.10.2019

Price: $24.99


Buy Valfaris from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Metal Up Your A$$!

Valfaris flies out of the gate wearing its inspiration on its sleeve. It aims to bring the feeling of HEAVY FRIGGIN’ METAL in every aspect of its game to light, featuring an absolutely SLAMMING fully heavy metal soundtrack, gritty beautiful pixel art, and a dark story full of twists and turns; and to wrap it all together, it's an unforgiving and challenging experience that will leave you feeling satisfied at every turn. Let's talk more about all the moving parts that make up Valfaris, shall we?

Can I Play with Madness?

Valfaris tells the story of when a massive space battleship, which disappeared with no trace, comes back into the orbit of a dying sun. This place was once considered a paradise, full of lush environments and everything you could ask for, but that is no longer the case. As Therion, a warrior from Valfaris, it is up to you to find out what happened to Valfaris all those years ago, and to discover what made it into the dark and hellish place it is today! Therion hops into his ship, accompanied by his Ship AI, and flies into space toward Valfaris to solve the secrets of his home.

Afraid of Shooting Strangers?

Do you like gore? What about gibbing monsters into bits? Well this game ABSOLUTELY will scratch that itch! This game has some of the most stunning pixel gore I’ve ever seen in my entire gaming career. Monster explode into bits, you can knock chunks off other things, and the visuals in general are an absolute treat to the ocular cavities. Therion is armed to the absolute teeth with weapons to protect himself and is outfitted in a huge protective suit as well.

You start with your trusty blaster and plasma blade, but quickly find sub weapons like heavy machine guns and shotguns, as well as alternative primary weapons, so you are sure to find a combo you like, as well as having the option to equip what weapons suit the situation best. You can change your equipped weapons at save points you have activated—a little more on that shortly—or you can spend blood metals to upgrade them, which is usually a more dynamic upgrade than just more damage or something similar.

The Save system has you collecting respawn tokens, and the more you have on you, the stronger you actually are; but then you will be punished with losing more progress should you die, and this is by NO MEANS an easy game! You also have a shield function that, if timed correctly, allows you to catch enemy projectiles and launch them right back at them! All of this combined makes you feel like you have a lot of options in combat, and as you battle the big variety of enemies and bosses, you constantly feel encouraged to try new things, which is a big plus.

Symphony of Destruction

This entire soundtrack is by former Celtic Frost guitarist, Curt Victor Bryant, and you can just FEEL that this man has been playing metal for ages! The soundtrack is full of powerful riffs and headbanging moments, and it just perfectly matches the feel of this heavy metal space saga. There's a nice variety of music to appreciate, too; it won't have you always listening to the same things, thankfully. The sound design is also excellent, with awesome sci-fi sounds for the weapons, and satisfying gib explosions, as you hear the meat slap against the floor. All in all, sounds were a high point here!

The End of All Things to Come

Valfaris was a blast, and I hope we see more things like this from Steel Mantis. A difficult Metroidvania is always a refreshing experience for me, so I'm looking forward to more! This game deserves your time if you have any love for any of the moving parts that make up this game, so metal fans and Metroidvania fans unite as we support this great love letter to the things about which we are passionate! I give Valfaris an 8/10!

Score: 8/10

Buy Valfaris from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow Steel Mantis

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Follow Big Sugar

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*A game code was provided for review purposes.

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