Explore the hand-drawn and medieval world of Feudal Alloy, a metroidvania starring fish-controlled robots! Meet Attu, a robot farmer who grows sunflowers for their oil and serves as caregiver to the elderly robots of his community. (Oil is essential to robots’ survival!) The elderly robots often tell tales of epic adventures, faraway travels, and high-stakes battles from days of old. Attu wants an adventure of his own, but the world outside his village is very dangerous. Everything changes when Attu’s village is ransacked and his oil supplies are taken. Feeling responsible for the well-being of his elderly friends, Attu borrows one of the old-timer’s rusty swords and sets out to explore the vast network of cellars that lies beneath the village, questing to avenge his town and recover what was taken.
As you might expect from a metroidvania, backtracking is hugely important, and there are plenty of secret areas to find within the labyrinthine network of underground cellars. The map is helpful and well-designed, but you might find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed at times if you’re not a metroidvania veteran. Another important element is combat, with unique mechanics like cooling and overheating. The dynamic combat system incorporates swords, grenades, dodges, and other special moves. Destroying your mechanical enemies results in drops that build skill points, which strengthen Attu’s combat, defense, and cooling powers. Combat isn’t very fluid and can feel clunky, but the flow does improve as you upgrade your skills and abilities. At the same time, some players might not have the patience to keep playing until things get better. Also, we should note that the D-pad is not supported, so all movement needs to happen with the joystick.
Feudal Alloy shines with marvelous hand-drawn graphics that depict a whimsical medieval-Europe-inspired world. Each environment is drawn with its own theme, but don’t expect significant changes among environments. Enemy design also varies, but the only design elements that tend to vary are colors. Even so, the enemies are well-designed, so we don’t mind the repetition there. The fish-controlled robots are brilliantly rendered, and while we don’t really understand these creatures—are they just a bunch of fish who want to live on land?—their designs are cute as can be. Complementing the hand-drawn graphics is a medieval-inspired soundscape that brings Feudal Alloy’s world to life. Sound effects include clanking metallic creatures and swooshing swords, and the even soundtrack itself has a metallic clink to it at times. While the sounds and graphics aren’t the best we’ve ever encountered, they definitely get the job done.
So what’s our verdict on Feudal Alloy? It’s a fun metroidvania, but it’s just not the best. For starters, the game could have developed its story more deeply. We wanted to see bits the elderly robots’ epic adventures from their younger days, or have the chance to search for pieces of mysterious lore. The story on offer here is a shallow one and feels like a missed opportunity. We also wish the game ran more smoothly, especially when it comes to combat and platforming. But the concept of fish-controlled robots is very unique, and if you’re a seasoned metroidvania fan looking for something different, we think you’ll have a pretty good time with Feudal Alloy. The game starts out slow, but once things really get going, you may find yourself a little addicted to this quirky title. Just remember that backtracking is the name of the game here, and if you have no interest in that, you probably shouldn’t pick this one up.
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Attu Games
Developer – Attu Games
Price – $16.99
Genre – Action, Adventure, Role-Playing, Platformer
Size – 1.5 GB
Nick and Sarah are the ultimate gaming couple. Nick is a Super Mario Maker 2 enthusiast, but working with Nintendeal has fostered a love for tough-as-nails indies such as Enter the Gungeon, Celeste, and Cuphead. Sarah prefers sim games like Animal Crossing, Don’t Starve, and Stardew Valley, but she challenges herself by grinding Slay the Spire from time to time.