Originality is overrated. So is perfection. There’s something to be said for the scrappy B-tier games that, let’s face it, make up the majority of most systems’ libraries. A lot of them simply don't get a second look because they appear, you know, a bit cheap. And, when we first booted up Imp Of The Sun, we had the same sort of feeling. The game doesn't look particularly polished. You go into a dismissive sort of state; after all, there are a lot of games out there, aren't there? Who has time for the 6 and 7-out-of-10s of the world?
Here's an interesting thing, though; seven is actually a pretty high number, when you've only got ten to play with. Imp Of The Sun is the archetypal seven — it looks fine. It feels fine. It's been compared to the Ori games, but we found it more reminiscent of Drinkbox's tremendous Guacamelee! series in the way that it likes to lock you in combat arenas and not let you leave until every last enemy has been juggled into submission.
Combat is limited in scope but feels, yes, fine. It's perfectly acceptable without ever excelling. Exploration is entirely acceptable, with good level design that prioritises challenging platforming action over typically mid-tier Metroidvania meandering. It has a similar density and style of play to Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, though without becoming as overbearing as that game.
The first game from Peruvian developers Sunwolf Entertainment, Imp Of The Sun takes inspiration from Inca culture — and there's a resemblance at times to the Mesoamerican imagery in Drinkbox's series, all the way down to the fonts. This isn't a criticism, though, because Guacamelee! looks awesome and, at times, so does Imp Of The Sun. Specifically, the boss fights, which are few but thoroughly enjoyable, well-designed and — arguably most importantly — extremely cool-looking.
We think it's a shame that Imp of the Sun will most likely fall through the cracks of the ten trillion games that come out on Switch every single day, because it doesn't deserve to. "Fine" does not mean "bad" and quite frankly, this writer (hello!) preferred Imp Of The Sun to the likes of Ori and the Blind Forest. It's never going to impress anyone with its originality but is that really important? Yes, it's a bit of a patchwork effort, stapling together bits of various different games in its genre, but it's far from throwing metaphorical you-know-what at a wall and seeing what sticks. Also, the art and animation here — while occasionally a touch amateurish — deserve props for their occasional flair and general smoothness.
Imp Of The Sun stands alongside the likes of Smelter, MindSeize and Cobra Kai as a flawed game that nonetheless has an enormous amount to offer and is likely to be criminally ignored. If you're after something off the beaten track, we urge you to consider the sixes and sevens of this world and give them a chance. We don't think Imp Of The Sun will be anyone's favourite game, but we do think that anyone who picks it up will remember it later on and go "oh yeah, Imp Of The Sun. That was a good time!"
Now watch it become the best-selling Switch game in history simply to prove us wrong.
Hoping for a physical of this
You prefer this game to Ori? I have yet to play either, but I’m curious… How would you compare the two and why do you prefer this one?
Played this over the Weekend and while I do think it's a charming little game in its own right there is no way on Earth this is a better game than Ori.
Ori can be difficult to master but it is so rewarding when you get a hang of the movement. The Ori games and Hollow Knight will still remain peak indie Metroidvania
After all that set up telling us that it was a 7, I expected the score to be a surprise of something else.
Though it had similar gameplay and art style to Ori, the quality just doesn't match. It's expected since this dev team is smaller than Moon Studios so I wouldn't expect much from them. May probably get it on a sale though.
@CowCatcher I disagree. We have plenty of pixel art games. It would make it even more obscure.
Interesting review. I too am a supporter of the sixes and sevens of the world (and occasionally the 4's, when NL is feeling particularly grumpy). "Far from perfect" does not mean "far from good". Sometimes I even prefer the scrappy gameplay of a slightly unpolished gem, compared to those big budget blockbusters that have been polished to a smooth flawless sheen, so as to avoid any discomfort to the player whatsoever
I will give this game a chance, if only, to support this guys. Based on what i read, you can only imagine what the could do with more budget/experience
@MatoFilipovic Agreed, there are so many pixel art games out there, and very few that truly use the medium to do something visually unique.
I don't think this "looks like a Flash game" at all, it's just a little unpolished, which seems to be what people really mean when they band around the "flash game" term - slightly unpolished 2D game.
The irony being that big indie names Team Meat (Super Meat Boy, Blinding of Isaac) and The Behemoth (Castle Crashers, Battleblock Theatre) all started using Flash on Newgrounds and still emulate those visuals in a lot of their games today and people love it. In fact the original Super Meat Boy was a pixel art game and made in Flash. So the entire "looks like a Flash game, should be pixel art" statement they make is completely meaningless.
I subsist almost entirely on a steady diet of 6 & 7 out of 10 games. Somebody's gotta play em.
3 negatives to 4 positives somehow makes a 7/10
I've enjoyed this but to suggest it's as good as Ori is pretty ridiculous.
Your opinion though, so fair enough.
Seems a decent one to consider in the sales. Cheers for the review
@Kiwi_Unlimited Is this the first review you've read here? That seems to be the norm.
You prefer this to Ori?
I'm gonna get this one soon. The setting and the style are exactly up my street
@Axecon those and I have to include The Messenger too, by far my favorite indie game
I'm playing both Messenger and 300th Duel atm and while the Messenger is excellent I keep going back to the punishing difficulty of 3000th Duel.
Sure it (3000th Duel) isn't the best looking game out there and it is limited in its combat but it is far more rewarding to finally beat a hard (or extremely hard in a lot of cases) boss that can't be beaten.
Swapping between the 2 games works well as when I hit a roadblock in 3000th Duel and have to grind it is nice to take a break and just move forward on The Messenger.
Also, I bought Mindsieze digitally and enjoyed it so much I pre ordered the LE.
I actually quite like these visuals, and will take this over pixel art any day of the week. Personally, can't stand pixel art any more. It worked great for Celeste, but usually is a just a short cut for devs without the resources to make more sophisticated models.
My interest piqued with "Responsive controls make it a joy to move around". Responsive controls plus decent metroidvania dynamics is enough to make it into my library at the right price. Will pick it up when price comes down to $15.
I like the look and vibe as I dig the whole meso theme. It sounds like the reviewer was .somewhat torn in that he gives it a 7 but then burns a lot of words telling you go ahead and play it. Even if it is derivative if it is a compelling enough game give it a higher score to more properly indicate your approval.
I am old (in gaming years) and just don’t have the time to play as much as I once did. That makes it hard to give anything less than excellent material much attention, especially when there are so many excellent games. The 2D platform genre is just packed with excellent titles including N”s own heavy hitters like the recently released Dread. What’s more sad is when a game that’s a true gem is relatively obscure. My favorite less mentioned games in this genre are Owlboy, Iconoclasts and the last gen stealth masterpiece Mark of the Ninja.
@BeefSanta If you're looking for any more 7/10 Metroidvania type games, try Phoeonotopia Awakening. I put roughly 65 hours into it. Kind of a mix of Zelda II and BotW.
@ArcticEcho can confirm, that one was pretty good
@tendonerd It’s not a simple equation, and each pro/con won’t necessarily have the same weighting. Some cons may be nitpicks, while others could be gamebreakers. Weird that people are so confused by game scores, they’re just a rough guide anyway.
@Alaninho i think it was most confusing when the site gave a 9 to a petty, forgettable game of which I can't remember the name, but it really threw off my perception of the site as a whole.
Played the demo: You move far to fast, wich is super annoying. Other then that it was pretty fun and I could see myself buying it someday.
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