The latest game by Heart Machine studio, which has created Hyper Light Drifter, and publisher Annapurna Interactive does not deceive expectations. It’s an impressive three-dimensional platformer with incredible velocity and a plot packed with mysteries. In our review if there’s existence in a black hole.
- Producer: Heart Machine
- Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
- Date of release: December 2, 2021
Solar Ash sends us to another galaxy in the distance, where we are required to assist aliens from another race to save their home planet, which is in danger of dying due to the Ultra-Broad, a raging black hole. It is able to be stopped with an instrument called the Star Seed device, but until now, efforts have not been successful. Numerous explorers have walked through the horizon of events, and Ray, our main character, is also rushing through to become the guide to an incredible and surreal universe.
From the very beginning, Solar Ash is fascinating. From looking at the breathtakingly beautiful Ultra-Broadway before taking the fatal leap to explore the numerous broken worlds interspersed inside that black hole. The specks of planets flounder through space, twisting at amazing angles, and are joined by the clumpy matter. There is a secret to the launch of the Starseed, and Ray will not stop until it is at the bottom of it.
In contrast to Hyper Light Drifter, the Heart Machine team’s previous work focused on motion, not combat. It’s more of a platformer rather than an combat, but the developers have succeeded in conveying the most important thing feeling of acceleration and speed of the player, employing precise control and adding many games.
This is where the key ingredient responsible for acceleration remains unreleased. The key to acceleration is procrastination, and glide is the definition of life. With futuristic reels, Rey races through the huge fantasy worlds, leaping over toxic lakes, hanging onto rails, and climbing walls that are smothered with a black substance that is alien to the human race. The controls are basic, including acceleration, double jumping hook-cat, as well as an instrument that is able to temporarily delay time.
It’s evident that the designers have invested hours perfecting the game’s mechanics. Rey has virtually no inertia, and players can feel the character’s movements and direct it precisely where he should go. There are rare occasions when this does not work, as for instance, in the case of moving between rails that are parallel; however, in the majority of cases, it is possible to direct the heroine in the most precise way is possible. The dynamic here is amazing, and I have often would like to glide around the universe, admiring its beauty.
In addition to the amazing views, you will also find traces of explorers who had been there before as well as geocaches and notes. They also contain pieces of costumes that will grant Rey valuable benefits, such as increased attack power, a better search for hidden objects, and others.
In terms of combat, however, Solar Ash falls a little flat. But not in the sense that it’s a boring combat system but it simply does not have anything interesting to provide. It’s one-key, it attempts to keep players from their movements and it is not possible to fight with normal opponents The battles aren’t a source of experiences.
The entire world changes when we meet the bosses: every location is home to an Anomaly which is a massive monster that blocks the Starseed from forming. To wake it up, you need to eliminate a number of nodes scattered throughout the area. Afterward, battle with the titan itself is initiated, which reminds us to Shadow of the Colossus or Praey for Gods on steroids.
Ray must scale the monster, strike the weak points of its body, and insert a spike in the nerve that is exposed, but due to the fast pace that the action is played, do not rely on a sluggish battle. Instead, boss battles test your skills, and you must be able to make no mistakes. The fight against Anomaly can be played in stages. Players have to perform a sequence of attacks; however, at each stage, the monster sheds a few of its bone growths and exposes the body’s hot spots and forcing players to be more cautious when death is able to send Rey back to its control area, which forces you to restart the phase all over again.
When it comes to boss fights are concerned, Solar Ash doesn’t hold back. A battle is in the midst of a tiny moon, which is inhabited by bug bears. Another one is located on one of the wings of an airborne creature, and it’s difficult to hang on or even attempt to strike the targets. After each fight, Rei is faced with an unidentified figure. Verbal battles reveal secrets and hint at the real motives that led to the happenings.
The game can take anywhere from six to eight hours, based on how much you’re willing to study the world around you to discover each clue. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to stay bored during the game for long. There are certainly some lengthy moments where the world is too vast, and I’ve even been stuck in the middle of a new place for quite a while without being able to figure out where I was going next. There are also issues regarding the Russian localization in this country.
Despite its flaws and imperfections, However, generally speaking, I really enjoyed the game, despite the few flaws. If you’re a fan of Pathless, Jet Set Radio, Shadow of the Colossus, make sure to try Solar Ash.