For a moment, at the end of my recent non-interference preview of Solar Ash, a dark monster crawled across the moon and completely filled the screen. Our protagonist, a “Voidrunner” named Rei, rushes through the cracked shells that make up its skin, gliding between weaknesses, just like the boss itself is a level. It is at this point that Heart Machine founder Alx Preston said: “This is the smallest boss by an order of magnitude.”
Solar Ash has many similarities with Preston’s previous works, the beautiful and unique Hyper Light Drifter. Both have a dreamlike soft world, an unforgettable disaster and peaceful soundtrack, and a fashion sense that favors masks very much. But during our presentation, it became clear that Solar Ash is a more ambitious project than its predecessor—not just in terms of Boss circumference.
The biggest change is the shift to 3D. Solar Ash makes full use of 3D and shifts to platformization. But what really attracted me was a special platform game that drew inspiration from the fast and easy journey through Sega’s classic works (such as Jet Set Radio Future), because Rei glides through this surreal world-in an effortless style. Glide, sprint and hone around the ancient temple.
Fighting still exists, but the enemy is more vulnerable than full-scale martial arts competitions. On the contrary, Solar Ash’s dungeon is more interested in traversing challenges. Our guide Mars Ashton excavated the secret chambers and catacombs, looking for the sticky weakness of the weird black growths that had taken over the structure, and slowly opened the wings of the old tower.
The same idea applies to the boss of the game. This huge, screen-filled bug jumped onto its shell by luring an opening, rushing through its bones in a precise order before its carapace turned into lava, hitting weak spots in a precise order. This is a knowing guilty of the Shadow of the Colossus, although it is a strange alternative version, in which Wander really got into inline skating.
Those quiet moments of exploration make us nostalgic about how gorgeous Solar Ash is. Hyper Light may be a master class in pixel art, but its successor is entirely its own thing-a surreal world made up of soft growth and towering mushrooms, where gravity is always subjective and nothing It looks very sturdy.
Part of the reason is that this is not the case in most cases-people often see Rei gliding in a sea of clouds, using the same volumetric technology as Media Molecule’s Dreams for rendering, giving the game’s cloud a soft fluff, flowing and facing in a pleasant way. Your movements respond to physical strength. The way Rei travels almost around the world has a fluidity that makes people feel like the ocean, thanks to the coral-like structure that forms the world (although Preston pointed out that in addition to mushrooms, there will be various biomes and Subbiome).
It is during these trips that Solar Ash feels most like Hyper Light Drifter. This game completely abandons writing and focuses on being a mood movie-each stage doubles as some major tragedy, small loss or popular intimacy Episode. Solar Ash still looks like this, but it also tells a clearer story in the form of a fully voiced actor.
Rei has agency rights in a way that the Rangers have never had before. She talked to people in the world and, in Preston’s words, everyone tried to “escape their own pain.” She asks her through dialogue (using a traditional dialogue tree) to form poetry, and can visit CYD, a partner who upgrades the transaction, described as “if your kind aunt is a holographic robot network”. In the preview, we saw those upgrades used to rebuild Rei’s health bar, purchased with a similar sticky currency, floating towards the player like a floating drop of blood.
After a while, we will see a wider map of custom-named locations, each of which is a vast world full of secrets to explore. I can only hope that under such a large scale, Solar Ash will not be discouraged. Even after five years, whenever I start Hyper Light Drifter, it still makes me get goose bumps.Even without words, Preston’s debut was such a clear traumatic scene (taken from Heart problems that are often dying throughout their lives)-In our preview, the developers acknowledged that the expansion of the team’s scope means that, by definition, Solar Ash cannot be so single in its messaging.
Solar Ash did not give up on this theme. This is still a game about a world and a person who was scarred by a disaster. Gravity trauma can keep you going. But where the wanderers are troubled by their own pain and deal with it through fierce attacks, Sun Ash hopes to provide a world where different people can unite to free themselves from despair.
If you can pull down some smooth slides from a centipede the size of a small moon, and at the same time escape the despair, you will be more powerful.Sun Ash will arrive on October 26 Epic Games Store.