Unto the End is a gorgeous take on a combat game based on an adventure style platformer. Players are left to their own devices when taking on the journey, and each decision must be carefully chosen. Your adventure is told through all your actions, so make sure you are deciding carefully.
Unto the End is by no stretch of the imagination an easy game. You are challenged and pushed back endlessly by the game, be it in combat or casual exploration. Hours of frustration poured into this game before I even fathomed finding my way home. I am not someone shy of a challenge, but this game seems to be critically unfair. As the player, you follow a strict set of combat restrictions. You hit high or low, and block in a routine way. The monsters you face however, do not follow these rules.
Even if you land a perfect hit which is expected to knock a monster back, they can hit you twice as hard almost immediately. The combat, although designed to be challenging, is outrageously so. Each move you do feels heavy and there seems to be a lag, so before you realise it your health has been pummeled out.
Although the first introduction seems intriguing and exciting. Your swings are heavy to match your weapon, and for a small amount of time it feels right. But eventually this novelty wears off and as you progress the inconsistencies of this game come forward. These attacks are followed by a hefty amount of lag, and blocking is slow. But letting your guard down is almost immediate. The changes in speed for your character’s actions is agonising and no matter how long you sit and play for, you’ll never quite learn how to fight effectively. Half the time you heavily rely on the chance to land a hit that might end an encounter.
No time to die/heal/anything
Even when mob encounters finish, you are affected long after. Fighting exhausts you, and if you don’t fight effectively enough, you’ll bleed out and eventually die. Having to face everything again. There is obviously a stamina system in place, but nothing during gameplay to give you any indication of how exhausted you’re getting. Although this game has a lot of potential, there seems to be a large amount of inconsistencies and annoyances. The time between finishing a fight, having to heal, and encountering another mob, also means pretty much instant death. There is an extreme lack of middle ground to help the player out.
There is little to no tutorial at the beginning of the game, but players are able to revisit a fighting mode to learn combat. Even this, although helpful at the time, doesn’t help as you progress. Even if a mob hits low, and you block low, occasional damage is caused to your character. Some mobs produce unblockable moves which once again leaves you on your last legs. For a game centred around it’s combat, you’d think there would be more of an understanding on how combat actually works.
Visually, the game is beautiful. You explore several landscapes which follow a minimalist design and mimic an origami style almost. To say it’s not visually pleasing, would be a total lie. Occasionally though, it just seems empty. There are a lot of block colours and spaces left blank throughout gameplay. On more than one occasion I stopped to question if I was being too harsh on minimalism, but it just appears as lazy.
As a whole, Unto the End isn’t a game I plan on picking up again. Although at first it’s exciting and you plunge into an adventure completely unknowing, it just feels unfinished. It has potential, for sure, but it’s not one I’d recommend to anyone looking for the next exhilarating title.