Indie Review: Valdis Story: Abyssal City Is Full Of Charm And Flaws
Valdis Story is an Action Platformer RPG hybrid in the Metroidvania style, in which you play as a warrior named Wyatt . As Wyatt you explore the ruins of a lost underwater city fighting off the likes of angels and demons, and beasts known as "Ferals". All of which is characterised by old school hack and slash combat mixed with light RPG elements. Valdis Story is brilliant visually, but is not without its flaws.
- Worth The Time?If you can take a beating with the difficulty, then Valdis Story may be worth your time.
- Things LovedThe visual aesthetic can be likened to class Super Nintendo RPGs and the best of the 16-Bit era of console games. The combat is fun and mixes it up with a variety of magic and sorcery, which includes assists from NPCs which is a welcome extra. The soundtrack is grand and epic, and is a great addition to the game's design.
- Things HatedValdis Story is not without its faults, as stated in the introduction. The game has some problematic and clunky controls, which is most evident when using a controller. A controller is most preferable for this type of game, and certain actions are hindered by clumsy response times to button presses. Jumping in particular feels clumsy, as making your way across simple platforms requires the most precise actions even when in a speedrun. Jumping from wall to wall sometimes is smooth, and in other instances can easily fail midway through a jump to another wall. This simple skill is vital to much of the combat, exploring and boss battles and taints the gaming experience when control response isn't timely.
- RecommendationIf you enjoy Metroidvania style games or action platformer hybrids, then you should definitely give this game a look and play the demo that is available.
- Name: Valdis Story: Abyssal City
- Genre: Action Platformer
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: None
- Platforms: PC
- Developer: Endlessfluff Games
- Publisher: Endlessfluff Games
- Price: $14.99 (R152)
- Reviewed On: PC
In Valdis Story: Abyssal City, the story is that over 40 years ago the Dark Goddess Myrgato killed her creator, the All Mother Valdis. As such, Myrgato is at war with her twin sister the Goddess of Light Alagath. Wyatt, a wandering warrior, has been searching for his father General Caderyn, a former general in the dark army, in the hopes of ending the war. Wyatt is joined by another playable character Reina (that can be unlocked in the game). Reina was an orphan, with great soul manipulation powers, and was raised in a monastery to become an ultimate force in the war between the goddesses.
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Other characters who join the main cast of heroes are Vladyn who has a left arm which is an angelic experiment to contain demon spirits within a vessel, and he is the only survivor of the experiment. The other member is Gilda who is a former high ranking demon that joined the ranks of her human crew, after the execution of her grandfather who informed her that the truth of the ongoing war lay with General Caderyn. All of these characters find themselves embroiled in a crisis facing a long forgotten underwater city, that is the backdrop for much of the game’s story.
Both the Dark Goddess Myrgato and the Goddess of Light Alagath manipulate human souls into angels and demons that you battle throughout the game. These enemies range from different classes, from heavy type enemies to magic wielding ones. Wyatt, your first playable character in the game, can wield a sword to combat enemies with hack and slash flair, combined with sorcery and even the usage of his fists to create combo chains and increase experience, and points scored. Using both fighting skills and sorcery, with ease, with the playable characters is the norm of the game and works well in Valdis Story.
Light RPG elements come into play in Valdis Story, you can equip Wyatt with different types of armour, accessories, weapons and finishing moves, and you can level up his stats to suit your play style. These elements help to bolster gameplay on top of which three diverse skill trees are available for you to specialise your skills and magical abilities further. You eventually can upgrade armour through town smiths, and later can have your own smiths to craft angelic and demonic weapons to battle foes. There is truly a good dose of RPG elements in the game, whilst it still maintains its very Metroidvania style and gameplay mechanics.
The game effectively operates with hack and slash combat, as played with Wyatt, and a range of combo attacks that can be strung together. Much of the combat feels reminiscent of a Castlevania game with the more modern influence of the Devil May Cry series, and other similar hack and slash games. The DMC influence, and games of its ilk, is pretty telling particularly when you are scored for combos you use on enemies and at the end of boss battle, where you are scored for style, time and other such factors. However, the game is not merely a hack and slash fest, you can use ranged attacks and bring various angelic and demonic magical attacks into battle with status effect spells to reduce damage from enemies, mid-range magic projectiles and area effect magic attacks. Additionally, you can enlist the help of NPCs as assists in combat, which can come in pretty handy.
This variety in combat helps to keep combat from becoming stale. This is most noteworthy in boss battles, where you can face huge enemies. You have to use different strategies, attack combos and magic attacks in conjuction, in order to fully defeat a boss. It is in such situations that the difficulty does ramp up a fair bit as bosses require plenty of patience and experience before you can simply progress, especially at later stages in the game. In general, the game is quite a challenging and difficult affair. Platforming requires you to be precise with your movements which is alright when you’re not in speedrun situations, which is pretty much the case when you’re making your way through timed closing doors or attempting to complete a challenge to open up a secured chest.
Valdis Story totes itself as an “exploration platformer” that is hindered by cumbersome and iffy controls, particularly when using a controller. A controller is most preferable for this type of game, and certain actions are limited by clumsy response times to button presses. Jumping in particular feels clumsy, as making your way across simple platforms requires the most precise actions even when in a speedrun. Jumping from wall to wall sometimes is smooth, and in other instances can easily fail midway through a jump to another wall. This simple skill is vital to much of the combat, exploring and boss battles. This aspect of the game taints the experience, and for a Metroidvania style game this is slightly problematic.
Valdis Story is beautiful visually and feels like an updated Super Nintendo (SNES) JRPG with its visual fidelity, brilliant 2D design and hand-drawn backgrounds. This game oozes quality with its visual aesthetic that is further enhanced by a great musical score that is great to listen to on its own merits. The combat system is well designed and is refreshing to see in a Metroidvania style game. Contrary to these positives, Valdis Story: Abyssal City has cumbersome control implementation that fails to live up to the visuals, musical score and the well designed combat system. When a game is challenging and controls are cumbersome, the experience can be less than enjoyable. Valdis Story is a potentially good game let down by cumbersome controls.