After Death is another retro Metroidvania that seems to have kind of fallen under the radar a bit. No console ports at all or anything! Anyway, the retro art style and grimdark skullomania theme caught my eye and here we are.
Actually when I first started the game I considered quitting for a while because the movement and combat felt so stiff, clunky, and slow. I was starting to think this was going to turn out to be more of a clunky Amiga platformer tribute like Exile’s End instead of a proper Metroidvania, but I stuck with it and luckily it ended up not disappointing me.
As far as gameplay goes, it does mostly remain pretty basic and a tiny bit clunky, with the water freezing/melting abilities being the only really interesting and new mechanic. It’s a game that really grows on you though, with some really impressive visual and audio design.
Level and enemy design is pretty great, with a lot of unique and interesting locations and a large variety of delightfully grotesque looking monsters. The soundtrack is fucking amazing too. I’m gonna have to go get a copy of it right after this. Just a really great mix of old Genesis and original PlayStation era sounds.
I think my only other real complaint is the somewhat annoying hoops you have to jump through to reach the real final boss and ending. You have to be thorough and get all the items so you can get the mysterious fireflies item before entering the portal to the final area, nothing out of the ordinary so far there, but then you have to use these fireflies to find five super secret masks hidden throughout the world. The fireflies show you how to find these special secret rooms, but only when you get extremely close to their location, so if you wanted to find them on your own you’d have to manually re-explore every inch of the game world all over again. Kind of a pain in the ass waste of time, but oh well, I just went and grabbed a map and did it the quick way.
In the end I’d still definitely recommend it to Metroidvania fans, as it’s a mostly solid adventure with great art and that soundtrack is absolutely going to get stuck in your head. It’s on sale for only $7 right now too if you’re interested. Better hurry on that though.