The 2-D platformer and particularly, the Metroidvania sub-genre, is one that I have a lot of love for. Developed by Sunwolf Entertainment and published by Fireshine Games comes a new title that certainly hits a few of those Metroidvania sub-genre staples. But where does it sit among the plethora of other games in the genre?
Imp of the Sun is a non-linear 2D Action-platformer that combines fast-paced combat and exploration set across a stunning Peruvian-inspired world, from the bright peaks of the Andean mountains to the dense Amazonian jungles and much more.
You play as Nin, an Imp created from the final spark of the Sun, who is sent on an adventure to defeat the Four Keepers and restore the Sun’s power, ending the Eternal Eclipse before the world is plunged into darkness.
Playing as Nin the Imp, made from the last spark of the sun. You need to defeat numerous enemies, take on bosses and end the eternal eclipse that is shrouding the world into darkness. First up, Imp of the Sun is a very pretty looking game. Featuring some wonderfully detailed and beautifully hand-drawn graphics, the game really does impress with its visuals. The story is a very bog-standard ‘good vs evil’ type affair and works perfectly well for a game of this type. There are no real surprises and everything ticks along just how you would expect it to. If you have ever played either (or both) of the pretty damn great Guacamelee! titles, that is pretty much what you can expect with Imp of the Sun here.
In terms of the gameplay, there’s your usual exploration of the map, finding new skills to help you advance, upgrades and the like. Really, if there is one word I could use, to sum up Imp of the Sun, that word would be ‘typical’. That, in itself, is not necessarily a bad thing either. Getting into a very ‘typical’ game is like popping on a nice pair of comfy slippers on a cold evening. It just feels right. This game is very easy to get into too. You’ll get to grips with everything within a few minutes as the gameplay mechanics here are very ‘typical’. Double jump, wall jump, sliding and so on. There is nothing revolutionary here and yet, there doesn’t need to be either. What you get is a very comfortable Metroidvania, platformer.
The combat does feel very limited though and really just boils down to you smacking enemies in the face until they die. There are one or two foes where you will need to slightly change your limited strategy. But generally speaking, it really is just a case of spamming the attack button. The four main keepers that you have to defeat are really no problem either. They may be much more varied and will throw more than a few problems your way but you’ll master their attack patterns quickly enough. There was only one of the four keepers that I have to try more than twice.
This factor is a bit of a problem with Imp of the Sun. It is a tad too easy. During the first hour or so of gameplay, you will most probably struggle. However, once you get a few of the skills unlocked, get some upgrades and so on. The game does become stupidly easy, to the point where I would suggest that you even try to play the game without using any of the upgrades (there is an achievement/trophy for doing just that) to add your own difficulty level.
The only real difficulty comes from just how Nin controls in terms of jumping. See, there is this kind of acceleration/inertia thing going on. Going from a standing start to moving takes about a second and while it may not sound like a lot, it really does mess you up a bit. As an example, let’s say you are standing still and go for a jump to a platform. As Nin accelerates, you’ll be in mid-air lining up for the landing, then suddenly, you’ll be going a lot faster than you expect and overshoot the jump. Pretty much every death I had in the game was due to this acceleration/inertia to how Nin controls. It is awkward and kind of hard to explain unless you experience it yourself. But in all fairness, it is something that you can get used to.
The very final boss of the game also caused me a few issues as was probably the only real worthy challenge in the game too. This really is my main gripe with Imp of the Sun, it is just too easy overall. Plus, it’s not exactly a huge game either. I got to the end credits in over 4 hours. The map isn’t as big as it first seems and doesn’t really lend itself to the exploration that the game is aiming for. Still, I didn’t find all of the collectables or gain all of the upgrades, so there was still more for me to do for 100%. If you are a completionist, you may get a bit more out of the game. I really don’t want to rag on Sunwolf Entertainment here as this is their first game and for a first game, it really is rather good. It’s just that Imp of the Sun lacks so so many other games of the same genre has.
Priced at a little under £16 across all formats, Imp of the Sun is worth the coin, despite my issues with it. The game may be short and a little too easy but it is also a very playable title. Not quite up to the standards of other games of its ilk mind you. Still, as I previously mentioned, this is the first game from the dev team and I’d love to see what they can do in the future as they clearly have a talent for making games. If you feel like a slightly too easy Metroidvania, then I suggest that you give Imp of the Sun a go.