24 people found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 14.1 hrs on record (7.0 hrs at review time)
Posted: Nov 21, 2019 @ 11:26am
Updated: Nov 22, 2019 @ 10:58am
Product received for free

Early Access Review
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If you are on the fence, stop reading now and go buy the game.

Spirits Abyss is a wonderfully packed roguelite twinstick action game with the familiar graphics for anyone who has played other games by the same developer. I haven't beaten the game yet, having spent a few hours so far exploring, trying new things, and dying repeatedly. But boy am I having fun.

It's a twin-stick shooter/platformer/hack&slash with destructive environments and downward progression moving from zone to zone. The way the game feels reminds me of Spelunky but it clearly is very different in many aspects. However, it captures the same addictive nature in exploration, taking risks, and trying to learn all kinds of crazy things that the game throws at you.

There are so many items, active and passive, different special levels, NPCs, game modes, playable characters/clans, along with daily and weekly challenges that you can expect to play this game repeatedly and for a long time and for it to still feel very refreshing. There are 4 different zones before the boss, but there are also a bunch of different secret areas that I have accessed that also spice up the game. I haven't made it past the boss yet, but I am sure I will one of these days. I am also unclear what awaits me beyond those gates, but I can't wait to find out!

In terms of difficulty, I can say that there is a rather sharp learning curve that you can expect from this game. It will feel like perhaps it's harder than most, because you need to be really careful about your own calculated risks that you take. However, after a while of playing and just getting used to the game, it becomes less daunting, because you will establish a strategic plan in how you will approach the game. Seeing as I made it to the boss in the lengthier mode in a matter of a few hours, given my relatively mediocre skills, I wouldn't categorize it as being particular difficult, but still, that's me playing with the clan I feel most comfortable with, and still dying in the end.

There are 4 different playable characters/clans, and the mechanics are fundamentally different for these characters. I am sure you will find one or two that you would prefer, but it's also fun to play with the others as well. The game allows you to do a random selection at the character selection screen, so you only find out after you have dove into the abyss. If you do the random selection, I do recommend that you situate your character mentally before moving forward, because some appropriate actions for one character may mean immediate death for another.

If you think you might enjoy an unpredictable and challenging (but fair) roguelite platformer with destructible terrain and lots of replayability, this is going to be one heck of a game addition to your library. It's amazing how much stuff is packed into this game, so far I am still in the stage that I think I have seen most of the game, but the next run shows me something different and creative, once again. I know for sure that this game will offer me endless hours of entertainment, no matter how many times I make it to the boss or complete the challenges within.

What I really like about this game is the calculated risks that you have to take, facing all of the different challenges as you descend deeper into the depths of the game. Every action may yield riches to boost your overall score, it may serve as extra money to let you move forward a bit farther because of an item you can purchase in a shop, or it may just spell the end of the run. The different zones really do feel different, as you need to learn and to adapt in order to move on.

Gameplay
There's the dungeon exploration perma-death modes, one short, one long. There's a roguelite-esque mode that you unlock to access that will grant you some permanent unlocks where dying means starting over, but you keep your money earned. There's an internal card game, as the developer have added into previous projects before. (I have only played Skelly Selest before, but I can tell you that the card game mechanics are also different and fun in either game.) There's an arena survival mode where you face waves of enemies and cannot take any damage. There are speedrun goals for each dungeon mode. There are 4 different clans (who knows, maybe more coming) who have character differences that dramatically change the way you approach the game.

Seriously, what more can you ask for? This game is only $4.99 US right now and for sure, this developer will only add more and more content as time passes. This game plays like a finished product, but it's in early access, because you know there will be more things added later.

Controls
I have only played with controller, but I know that there are keyboard and mouse controls as well. As it's a platformer, I am mostly playing using the D-pad and the buttons on the right side face. But you can use the twin-stick orientation that the game has and use your shoulder buttons and trigger buttons to do directional aiming and firing using the right stick.

I wish there could be a toggle option to use the right stick to aim+fire instead of just aim. I only use the right stick for dealing with some things. Otherwise, I use the A button to jump and the X button to attack using my main weapon. I guess playing hundreds of hours of Spelunky definitely gives me a preference in terms of how to approach movement, jumping and attack.

Graphics
Pixelated, flashy, beautiful. Optional Epilepsy mode to turn off a lot of flashing and screenshake. Optional V-sync. Optional toggle of snow-effects on/off. The last is beautiful but may be really distracting, I love that these are toggle options.

Music & Sounds
The music is great, I love listening to it. But I can also see why some people would feel that it's not great, so you can easily turn it off.

Audience
If you read my review to here, I think you can know whether or not this game would be for you. I think it's great for any action platforming fan who also enjoys the roguelike/lite type of gameplay. If you mind dying, don't play this. Well, maybe you will change your mind after trying it anyway. It really can't hurt to try.

Pricing
Too cheap for its own good. The price right now is $4.99 in Early Access, but the content is well worth a lot more. I don't know what the final price will be at official full release, but whatever it will be, it'll be fair.

Positives
I won't go into much here, I like pretty much everything I have seen about this game in terms of game design, mechanics, level design, replayability, etc. Even the deadly bats that haunt my dreams are designed well. I still have night/day-mares about bats in Spelunky but the ones in this game are even more vicious and terrifying to deal with.

Negatives
-1. Would like toggle option for right stick aim+attack with just pushing the right stick
-2. Would like to have the displayed button presses to reflect controller buttons when using controller (right now it seems to still show the keyboard buttons, so can be slightly confusing to the new player.) (I didn't see the setting options, doh!)

Conclusion
Spirits Abyss is amazing. I think everyone should give it a try. I understand that it's not for everyone, but I kind of want to push it in everyone's face like I do with Spelunky.

Another 10/10 game for sure.

I received the product for free. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.
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3 Comments
YQMaoski Nov 21, 2019 @ 3:16pm 
Thanks for the support. This is a really fantastic game with a ton of content already. I look forward to seeing where this game will go in the upcoming months.
janner66 Nov 21, 2019 @ 12:22pm 
Seems like a load of content for the price. Thanks. I'll put it on my wishlist.
missiloon Nov 21, 2019 @ 12:03pm 
Nice review, thank you!