36 people found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 6.4 hrs on record
Posted: Jan 17, 2019 @ 10:15am
Updated: Jan 17, 2019 @ 10:17am
Product received for free

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Feudal Alloy is a beautifully drawn and hand-crafted adventure metroidvania with RPG elements. The game plays quite solidly and the focus is on exploration and discovering newer and better ways to deal with the growing enemy army. The style of the game is certainly unique and there is enough content to keep the player occupied for quite some time, especially if the player wants to go explore and find all of the hidden secrets and collectible items. Who can say that they don't want to control a gold-fish controlled robotic hero as he seeks to return the stolen oil and supplies to his fishy robotic fillage? The RPG elements are fairly optional, as the skill tree for power-ups and optional abilities can be left entirely alone by the player seeking a real challenge. Though the difficulty of the game is surely there, everything in this game follows pattern-based learning and progressive improvement as the player advances. Even though there are quite a few map sections to unlock and open up during play, with diverting paths that the player can choose to run through, the feel and flow of the game inevitably will draw the player to constantly check all of the paths repeately anyway.

The biggest downfall for such a lovely game is the few bosses and long paths in-between, as those unique battles are often what makes such a game memorable. The beginning of the game will definitely feel a bit slow to some players, as the protagonist is a robot who decided to venture on a quest with body parts that are barely held together, and the wide range of possible skills/modules/upgrades painfully missing. However, the decision to keep the game player-friendly by having absolutely zero/nil/nada/zilch/0 penalties for deaths was a good decision by the developers, especially knowing the number of times the player will likely perish on our robotic hero's quest to destroy the entire constantly-regenerating proximity-aggroed robotic outlaw army. The player-friendly death system allows the player to keep plowing away and for some grinding bits to even feel like progress, because you are still continuing to gain experience (cogs) and leveling up to eventually beat that difficult section by pure skill (*cough, cough).

Overall, this game is unique, fun, and pretty exciting to play. Its flaws are there, with plenty of room for improvement. The game provides optional upgrades and power-ups to the players allowing the more casual action platforming players to have a fair shot at the game (though this does involve some grinding at times). The hand-drawn environment, unique enemies, pleasantly fitting music (not sure what else to go with fish-controlled robots), and the overall game does beg the player to come back for more.

Gameplay
Metroidvania RPG is a pretty good set of tags. Branching pathways in different maps sections that are only accessible after certain ability upgrades, and a continuous gathering of experience points to level up and unlock 3 optional skill trees to help the protagonist on his quest to out do the evil-doers.

In the beginning, all you can do is jump and hack with your sword, through progression, you will gain the other abilities, such as block, dash, etc. Parry is completely optional in the skill tree through the RPG UI.

There are some fast-travel points that need to be activated. These are not obvious what they are or what they do in the beginning, but as you play on, it's pretty obvious.

The game's map is fairly extensive. It's not huge, but traversing is always treacherous due to the amount of enemies that spawn and respawn.

Controls
Controls really well with the controller. Movement is with the joystick only, because the D-pad is used for other functions. My biggest complaint is the length of the dash (horizontal distance) as it is one set distance, and fine adjustment a little less or a little more is done by the momentum movement of the movement itself. This led to what I perceived as several unnecessary deaths. It would be nice to have a dash that is variable instead.

Graphics
Amazing hand-drawn art. Even though the game is played in 2D, the layered parallax effect is done really well. I thoroughly enjoyed the fishtank heads of the robots and the change in protagonist appearance with altered equipment.

Music
Medieval/feudal music is right in line. Though how this fits with fishes and robots, who knows? Some bigger rooms will loop though.

Audience
This game is pretty player friendly, despite a fair number of deaths that are likely to occur. There are optional equipment upgrades, personal level-up upgrades that the more experienced player who wishes to have more of a challenge will definitely get. I don't think I will ever try to get through the game without dying.

Pricing
Base price is 16.99 USD and the elephant in the room is pointing to one of the genre-defining indie titles: Hollow Knight. This is not the same game, the play is different, the controls are different, and the RPG elements with equipment upgrades and skill tree upgrades are nothing alike. This game is good in its own right, despite its flaws. It's not as long, and the developer has mentioned about 15 hours for the main story. If you want to go back for all of the secrets, it's bound to take more time.

Positives
+Excellent design
+Nice artwork
+Perfectly fitting music
+Inclusive game to allow players of different skill levels to try
+Fun exploration adventure with an expanding growing number of things to do and types of enemies faced
+Optional play styles allow for more replay value and different ways to tackle the game, even for hardcore enthusiasts
+Yet the player-friendly/no-penalty death system allows you to feel like there's progression even in death

Negatives
-Up on the controller joystick going through doors was a huge problem I had in many rooms. Keep in mind that the room refreshes every time you leave and come back, so accidentally leaving in the middle of clearing out a room means you need to go back and do it again.
-Slowness of gameplay and on ability module gathering in the beginning with rather few enemy types and a continual need to blast through them due to rapid regeneration (on room refresh).
-Inventory UI can definitely use some improvement. While I agree with doing away with most words, the UI does not allow the the player to actively look at any stats for the equipped set of arms, legs, chest, fishtank helmet.
-The intro narrative piece plays every time you launch the game, and the voice in this section is just a tad bit too low compared to the sound effect of the game.

Conclusion
Feudal Alloy lets you clank around pieces of metal controlled by gold fish and it doesn't even feel weird. It's thoroughly enjoyable to hack at enemies and watch them fall into bits of scrap and cogs to pick up (experience). The price is befitting a completely hand-drawn work that is unique and filled with stuff to do. Even though the game should take around 15 hours to complete, the alternative play-style options allow for replay value as well. Even though the UI could use some work and there are minor flaws that can be fixed, the overall game is an enjoyable work from many aspects. If you do decide to dive in, know that there are more and better things coming beyond the first couple of hours that may seem a bit slow and perhaps a little grindy. I do think if you are into metroidvanias, this is definitely another title to try.

Here's my blind first-look video into the game:
https://youtu.be/xv-SKXSuIt8

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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Developer response:
evusak2  [developer] Posted: Jan 22, 2019 @ 5:14am
Hi YQMaoski, thank you very much for the review!
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4 Comments
YQMaoski Jan 21, 2019 @ 2:42pm 
Thank you very much!
Flynn Harpoon Jan 19, 2019 @ 11:30pm 
Your reviews are awesome! Very informative and organized, nice job dude.
YQMaoski Jan 17, 2019 @ 12:06pm 
Thank you! I plan to play more of this game, nowhere near complete yet!
American Tragedy Jan 17, 2019 @ 11:44am 
Feels like I am the only player who spet more than 7 hours in this game lol :) Nice review man, very detailed and objective!