Solar Ash – review and opinion about the game [PS5, PS4, PC]

I admit that Heart Machine surprised me a bit with the concept of the peer-reviewed Solar Ash, which shares the same universe with the studio’s previous production. The creators not only changed the perspective, but also remodeled the gameplay. The action RPG has evolved into a 3D platformer, strongly focused on free exploration of the world. But reducing Solar Ash to the title of a platformer would be detrimental – it is a kind of hybrid of the cult in some circles Jet Set Radio from Shadow of the Colossus. Intrigued?

To save the planet

Solar Ash - review and opinion about the game.  Ultrapoiet

At first, the plot seems to be quite twisted due to the fact that we are flooded with a whole lot of terms and names. In fact, however, it is not the strongest point of the program and can be summarized as follows – we play the role of Rei, a voidrunner researcher, who plunges into a black hole to save her planet from being absorbed by the force called Ultra Void. So we move to a dark dimension that is devouring subsequent worlds, and our task is to activate the Star Seed, a device designed by void researchers to destroy black holes, which is to save the planet from destruction. But to do this, you will have to defeat a few giants, which each time also involves encounters with a mysterious being that seems to pull all the galactic strings. Solar Ash for this studio surprising, the number of dialogues, because apart from our companion, with whom we can chat at checkpoints, we will meet other void researchers on our way, with whom there are subquests. Although there are not many of these, they are slightly diversified by the repetition of the main tasks. And there are also hidden notes and sound logs of other voidrunners, from which we will learn more about what happened to our predecessors or the political situation on the endangered planet. And what is important – we get a Polish, cinematic localization, so all notes have been translated into our language.

Reviewed Solar Ash He focuses on smooth movement through the next lands, pushing the fight against classic enemies to the margins. Our heroine is able to perform simple combos, but the opponents mainly act as obstacles without being a major challenge, and defeating the enemies alone does not give you any benefits. In fact, our heroine’s capabilities are quite modest – Rei can double jump, climb black goo, slow down the action to shoot her hook or dasha at the highlighted elements, but above all, she can move smoothly on the boards with the help of some kind of skates and this is the idea behind the magic. We can get to some places by grinding special rails, so it is extremely important to catch the right flow while exploring. This brings great satisfaction, because the controls are refined and we can mainly blame ourselves for the mistakes and the lack of developing adequate muscle memory. And possibly a camera, which can play tricks sometimes, especially when the gravity and perspective change, and the floor suddenly acts as a ceiling.

However, it is a pity that Rei is practically not developing at all throughout the game – the skills that we will learn in the first chapter will also accompany us in the last one. Sure, if we collect the right number of pink plasma orbs, we can increase the power of the shield that protects us from enemy attacks, but as I mentioned – it’s not Dark Souls and enemies usually break one combo. In the game, you can find new suits in every area, which can, for example, double the number of orbs you collect, increase the power of attack or shorten the regeneration time of the time-manipulating ability, but we can also have new outfits completely in the bottom, because completing them is optional fun. So it can be written that the gameplay practically does not evolve in any way and if the gameplay scheme does not approach us in the first 30-40 minutes, the next hours will not change much here.

A good giant is a dead giant

Solar Ash - review and opinion about the game.  Bosses

Solar Ash it’s also quite repetitive. We have the same task in each of the areas – first we have to locate an NPC that will unlock a new map, scan the surroundings, then remove the black goo from the stage, which boils down to climbing and reaching key points (we see the appropriate markers), taking part in peculiar time trials in which, as part of mini-games, we have to destroy the syringes by moving smoothly from one to the other. The time in these mini-tasks is usually short, so there is not too much window for errors, but death is not painful – we just go back to the checkpoint being able to repeat the process without major consequences. When we manage to heal a given area, a huge boos awakens, whose life must of course be ended. The levels are sometimes huge just to accommodate even bigger bosses that are constantly on the move.

And it is in this element Solar Ash resembles Shadow of the Colossus. With the help of the hook, we get to the bodies of these huge creatures majestically moving on the boards. However, unlike the production of Team Ico, we do not have to look for a different strategy each time to defeat the creature. It always looks the same – we take part in subsequent time trials, during which we jump over the next fragments of the creature’s body, destroying the marked places, to finally stick the spear at the most sensitive point. You have to repeat this a total of three times, but each subsequent phase of the fight is more difficult. We are gradually depriving the giants of armor and you need to perform more precise jumps and combinations in order not to fall off the opponent or touch his skin, which immediately ends in death. Or rather, the evaporation of the figure. If we catch the right rhythm – the clashes with the bosses will not be a big challenge for us. It happened that I killed my enemies the first time, but it also happened that I was completely unable to set a proper route and repeated the sequences of fight and jumps several times. Nevertheless, if we manage to destroy all the points smoothly between them with one sequence of consecutive acrobatics, jumping on the enemy moving all the time, the satisfaction is enormous.

Hybrid of worlds in Solar Ash

Solar Ash - review and opinion about the game.  Exploration

What definitely rules at Solar Ashis an insane, neon-futuristic style. Playing with contrast, black mixed with pink and blue, various filters like black and white inserts after defeating enemies, and finally surreal images of worlds bathed in sharp, expressive colors. Ultravoid sucks up entire planets, so each area looks different, including the diverse architecture of subsequent civilizations. The remains of cities, temples and exotic lands of other planets are scattered over several open spaces that float on a fluffy substance. So we will visit strange buildings with huge monuments, ruins of ancient castles, but also dilapidated skyscrapers cut by rails, on which subway carriages hang.

It is true that in the later stages the grounds seem a bit empty in terms of the attractions that fill them, but the phenomenal views partially compensate for this. Each time we see the structures of a new location, we can feel lost with the enormity of possibilities, but the levels have been designed in such a way as to make it easier for us to pass them smoothly. We have some fixed or suggested paths that let you open shortcuts over time and get around the open world even faster. In addition, Rei skates and moves on other platforms with great grace, and the atmosphere is also ensured by decent voice acting and an atmospheric soundtrack.

All this makes exploring and combining how to get to the next fragments of the boards arouses our curiosity and constitutes strength Solar Asheven if we feel a slight déjà vu in the later levels. And when we get used to the controls flowing through the game, we will enjoy moving, jumping, grasping elements of the environment and killing enemies between jumps on subsequent platforms even more fun. It is not a long production and with good winds we will complete these few worlds in about 10 hours. The title offers a good and bad ending, and on PS5 we can also enjoy the support of haptic vibrations, although it could have been much better in this field. Which does not change the fact that this is an atmospheric production and one of the most interesting turkeys of the last year.

About Steven Mark

Fan of video games and new technologies, I am editor in this environment for several years already. I like to share my passion through news, tests and other files. I also love wrestling and Marvel Comics.

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