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Thursday, December 7, 2023

New 3D platformer from Hyper Light Drifter developers is looking very cool

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Five years on from Hyper Light Drifter, I’m excited to see a new game from indie developer Heart Machine that takes Drifter’s visual style and reinterprets it in 3D. Heart Machine’s new game, Solar Ash, definitely has some similar vibes—the ruined kingdom, the sole adventurer, the warm color palette. But the action is something very different, focusing on fast platforming rather than precise swordplay.

In the three-minute demo above, Solar Ash director Alx Preston calls the game a 3D platformer, and to my eye it looks a bit like the 2008 Prince of Persia but with rollerblades. You’ll be quickly traversing wide open spaces with jumps, grapples, and rail grinds, barely slowing down to hit enemies on your way. “Our combat system is simple, fast, and fluid, built to empower players and encourage flow,” Preston says.

I like the emphasis on speed, and the truly gigantic boss fights Solar Ash teases at the end of this video. I’m curious if its storytelling will be as deliberately obscure as Hyper Light Drifter’s, but we at least know a bit more about the premise. You play as a “voidrunner” trying to save her homeworld, which is stuck inside (and I assume being destroyed by) an enormous black hole. The black hole is called The Ultravoid.

Yes, good. I would like to know more, before it’s out on the Epic Store some time this year.

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