I’ve been playing more Astalon: Tears of the Earth (PS4) in the past week. It is too comfortable for me to ignore especially considering it ticks so many boxes. Metroidvania, roguelite, and 8-bit sensibilities are catnip to me. It’s hard to ignore it. As such I’ve been ravaging my podcast playlist while exploring and occasionally grinding (the good kind) some of the older areas in the game.
In doing so, I've noticed that the game is even more densely packed than I initially thought. Returning to an area always gives you some new hint or activity to do. It’s actually better than some high-budget metroidvanias in making back-tracking feel like re-exploring the same area with different eyes, instead of just... well, walking back to open that one door.
So while the game already had an excellent base to build from, it’s pleasantly surprising to find the developer actually making use of it and building on top of that. I’ve unlocked some secondary abilities for the characters and as expected, it just conveniently slots into your arsenal while managing to give you goosebumps, even though some of them are simply based on a very tiny addition that is now possible.
Really, in case you didn’t get it already, you should get it. Both literally and figuratively. This is one of the most fun metroidvanias I’ve encountered in quite some time.