Summum Aeterna, a prequel to 2022’s Aeterna Noctis, riffs on a Lifeless Cells-style style fusion, mixing roguelite parts into the robust Metroidvania construction of its predecessor for a sport that doesn’t pull its punches. The outcome feels tough across the edges nevertheless it’s arduous to disclaim that the gameplay feels fairly nice.
Enemies hit arduous, regularly gang up on you, and can virtually assuredly ship you again to the hub dozens of occasions earlier than you handle to efficiently full a run. And whereas Summum Aeterna primarily calls for dexterous expertise to beat its hardest challenges, you do have one thing to point out for every failed run. You, after all, lose many of the upgrades you snagged whereas out and about, however each run will see you gaining forex and crafting supplies which you could then reinvest into issues like higher stats and beginning weapons. This meta-progression system thus ensures that you simply’ll at all times be making progress, even once you lose time after time.
In an fascinating departure from comparable video games, Summum Aeterna additionally introduces a cool seed system for producing the world you run by every time. Earlier than venturing out, you have to first create the world by putting a seed in a machine that can generate it for you. Every seed is exclusive, spawns you in a distinct beginning biome, and can have constructive and adverse modifiers that’ll change issues like enemy well being and the drop fee of sure rewards. Selecting the correct seed is thus as a lot part of one’s technique as deciding on a construct, and we appreciated how this positively impacts run variety.
Controls are clean and responsive, whereas weapon varieties really feel genuinely distinct from one another and supply fascinating twists on fight. A sword might be thrown and both rapidly recalled or teleported elsewhere. The scythe, then again, builds up Harm-over-Time debuffs on enemies with every hit which you’ll then set off suddenly. Second-to-moment gameplay feels snappy and interesting, which inspires you to dare to attempt once more.
The visuals really feel like a cross between the illustrious Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and, of all issues, Little one of Mild. Whether or not you’re exploring the shadowy reaches of a familiar-looking Gothic citadel or the intense canal-bordered streets of a Venice-esque village, all environments characteristic a painterly, hand-drawn model that appears like an ideal match for the considerably dreamlike tone of Summum Aeterna.
Sadly, Summum Aeterna feels quite poor on the efficiency aspect of issues. Fortunately the body drops right here or there don’t have an effect on issues an excessive amount of, however loading occasions might be fairly lengthy and we had a number of cases the place the sport outright crashed, ending promising runs and erasing some hard-won progress. Hopefully patches are forthcoming, because it appears like this might be a superb addition to any roguelike fan’s Change library with slightly bit extra elbow grease.
Launch instability points apart, it could be a bit by-product, however Summum Aeterna finally ticks sufficient bins to be value your whereas. Clean fight, robust problem, and an fascinating seed system all come collectively to make this one value investigating.