Feudal Alloy the Metroidvania game features a robot called Attu controlled by a fish in a bowl or is it the fish called Attu? I don’t know exactly but that’s not the point. Attu takes care of the elders in his village and what is the most important thing in a retirement community full of robots? Oil of course and that is his primary job, make sure all the old robots stay oiled and alive. One day a group of bandits attack the town and steal all the oil for no apparent reason just because they could I guess. Attu knows that all the elders will perish if he doesn’t get the oil back so he picks up a sword and heads off in search of the thieves.
Feudal Alloy is very heavy on the Metroidvania aspect and you will be doing a ton of backtracking in this one. You need to find map pieces throughout the world to show you each new area. The good thing here is, as you start the game you can tell right away that everything works pretty damn well. From jumping, swinging away with your sword or using a throwable, it all appears to work smoothly. Attu himself of course does not work as well. See, as the robot controlled by a fish expends energy he tends to get a little hot around the collar. What do I mean by that? Well, Attu over heats at an alarming rate. There are ways to combat his overheating by using consumables or equipping certain armor/weapons. It is a cool mechanic that will keep you cautious of your surroundings. This amps up the difficulty in high combat situations but later in the game you should be better equipped to handle it. If not then I suggest carrying as many oil bottles with you as you can because that is how you will be healing Attu.
The enemies differ from small too big and for the most part can be handled fairly easy. Whether it’s a small flying enemy or a big saw blade wielding enemy give it a few good whacks and it’s turned into a pile of machine parts. The difficulty and armor of enemy ramps up throughout the game but you can level up as well with your very own skill tree. The game developers took this literally and put three separate trees there for you to advance your strength, armor and help with overheating. It takes some time to level up so all those little parts the enemy leaves behind, you better be collecting those as much as possible.
Of course if you want to turn things in your favor even more you can search for gear items or even purchase some in the tent/store at the beginning. Look for loot chests that contain coins or gather them from enemies to use as currency. A helmet, body, arms and legs can all give you a boost in different areas. Oil capacity, damage, and cooling speed to name a few. Each item will give you a little boost in areas so you can make a build the way you want, or look as stylish as you want it’s your choice.
Feudal Alloy isn’t done helping Attu on his quest as you had best be on the lookout for modules. These modules will allow you to double jump, dash, block and even wall jump your way to victory. Or to a new area at least. Finding such items isn’t always as easy as running across them in the game. Find hard to reach places or even hidden rooms for most of the real legit goodies. You don’t have to worry about running into too many bosses as this is one of the setbacks in Feudal Alloy. The lack of boss fights in the game was not only baffling but upsetting as well. The first boss of the game isn’t all that challenging but the last boss fight will keep you on your toes. It’s not a boss that you will spend an hour trying to conquer but it should give you a decent challenge. Still there should have been more and that hurts the overall experience.
This is where Feudal Alloy shines really bright in my opinion. The game is beautiful with its hand-drawn world filled with maniacal characters. The game is played underground in caves for the most part and each new part of the map is presented in such splendid detail. From crazy saw blade wielding robots to giant insane ones set against a backdrop that you can’t take your eyes off of, Feudal Alloy thrives on its attention to detail. The artwork reminded me of an old cartoon movie called The Sword in the Stone. I had a thing for old cartoons growing up and this game definitely took me back to that place when I was a kid. Feudal Alloy’s use of lighting in the game also helps show off the detail of the each new area. Rock foundations, doors, ladders and remnants from past battles will cause you to take a pause every now and again just to see how cool it appears on your screen.
Of course the backdrop can look as appealing as it wants but if you don’t have a well-designed character and enemies then there really isn’t a point. Being able to switch out Attu’s body parts and make him your own adds a little charm to the game. With pugilist style arms and quirky legs Attu bounces his way across the screen almost without a care in the world. I enjoyed that about Attu and how well it all seemed to work together when in combat. Each enemy is fitted on their own and even some that do not move can be the most dangerous. Be careful.
Feudal Alloy is visually pleasing and the game mechanics work better than what I was expecting from a two-person dev team. Certain mechanics such as the overheating brought something unique to the game even though if at times it caused frustration. I admit the old medieval setting and fighting style had me interested before the game ever released. What ultimately led to some difficult times playing the game was how uneven it felt. At times there was too much backtracking with more than enough enemies to deal with.
Then there was the lack of boss fights. So many times I would fight my way through an area only to find out I couldn’t go that way but was left with no clue as to why and yes Metroidvania games can be stubborn like this at times. I didn’t enjoy it though in Feudal Alloy, it was overkill. Couple this with a lack of any narrative after the beginning and the game falls a little flat. It isn’t overly boring but there will be periods where you just want to make into the next part of the map. I must admit I had high expectations for Feudal Alloy and perhaps this led to some of the disappointment. The game does work really well and the visuals are awesome. I just thought there would be more to the story.
Feudal Alloy is only $16.99 and if you enjoy Metroidvania style games it’s worth the price.