The modern Metroidvania had a vintage year, but the simplest one is the best

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The PC Gamer Game of the Year Awards 2021

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Along with our primary Game of the Year Awards 2021, every member of the PC Gamer workforce is shining a highlight on a sport they liked this yr. We’ll publish new workers picks, alongside our primary awards, all through the remainder of the month.

Reward be the staunchly uninnovative fashionable indie Metroidvania. There are plenty of them, and like Desmond Hume in Lost, together with his reserve of Dickens novels, I’ve to apply restraint in order that I am going to by no means run out.

Not that I am going to doubtless ever run out of video games on this fashion: 2021 was an enormous yr for the exploration-platformer style. Axiom Verge 2, Ender Lilies, Aeterna Noctis, F.I.S.T and Greak: Reminiscences of Azur are among the many heavy hitters, and that is with out mentioning Metroid Dread, which is already on PC via emulation. However my favorite Metroidvania of 2021—favorite total sport, actually—is Astalon: Tears of the Earth. It is that uncommon breed of sport that feels prefer it was an absolute pleasure to make, an actual labour of affection.

Astalon: Tears of the Earth

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Like plenty of fashionable Metroidvanias, it has just a few vaguely novel twists. Astalon has a number of playable characters who you may swap between on the fly, representing pretty typical RPG-style archetypes. Every has a unique fight fashion—Algus shoots fireballs, Arias makes use of a sword, Kyuli a bow and arrow—and every accumulates their very own array of map-expanding power-ups. These embrace Kyuli’s capacity to endlessly scale partitions, Algus’s helpful Cloak of Levitation, and Arias’ energy to chop by means of in any other case impenetrable partitions.

Whereas Astalon requires persistence—particularly in relation to navigating the labyrinthine tower—it is not intentionally troublesome.

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