Kandria is a dark and melancholy title that many liken to the wonderful Celeste. Because of its tough platforming elements and quick-movement puzzles, people have forgotten its unique nature and phenomenal mechanics. However, though I can see similarities between the 2 games, Kandria is a special experience that stands on its own two feet.
Developed and published by Shirakumo Games, this is an exploration platformer. Furthermore, there is a wonderful story, some incredible characters, and an amazing post-apocalyptic world to explore. On top of this, its aesthetics are amazingly grim, and the audio is atmospheric, moody, and brilliantly captivating. In short, it’s a challenging title that won’t disappoint.
Kandria is a tale of trust.
The world has been destroyed and mankind is on the brink. Moreover, gadgets and technology are scarce and factions battle for minor gains. Consequently, when an android is found, the settlers are unnerved. However, a brave engineer knows this robot can save them and trusts her instincts. From here, the colony starts to thrive and though they do not trust their latest member, they happily reap the rewards of its exploits.
You control the android named “Stranger”. This special machine can run at high speeds, dash across gaps, and slay any enemy it finds. Furthermore, its computer systems ensure it can complete any quest it faces while communicating over vast distances. Though this emotionless machine cannot feel, it understands the hatred and fear that surrounds it. However, this doesn’t stop it from wanting to learn or help the surrounding communities.
A vast world that is full of possibilities.
The exploration elements comprise many key Metroidvania tropes. Yet, you may freely explore this vast and dank world. Unlike its peers, Kandria doesn’t halt your progress behind special abilities or unique objects. Instead, you can wander freely and interact with whomever you please. Now, this was a nice twist on a familiar genre. However, the lack of structure was a little unnerving. Thankfully, though, the developers made it easy to track your quests. Consequently, this was a lifesaver, as there are many tasks to undertake.
You’ll spend much of your time helping the scared residents of this dire area. Whether they ask you to find resources, repair equipment, hunt individuals or slay creatures, the jobs are interesting. Alongside this, you may undertake time trials to prove your prowess or trade with merchants to buy and sell rare items. Furthermore, there is a basic upgrade system that allows you to improve your sword. Though this wasn’t the most in-depth concept I’ve ever seen, it was essential during the latter parts of the story.
Simple combat and excellent platforming mechanics.
The quests are all well and good. However, the core gameplay revolves around puzzles, combat, and platforming mechanics. “Stranger” is undeniably nimble and uses this to their advantage. By darting from platform to platform, they explore tight spaces and avoid traps. What’s more, there are resources to gather and POI to examine. This fast-paced platforming action was tricky to master. However, once you knew what you were doing, it was great fun.
Sadly, the same can’t be said for each battle. This lacklustre affair is dull and often tedious. With minimal difficulty, you’ll slash and hammer everything in your path. Occasionally, you’ll have to dodge your opponent’s attack or defeat the equivalent of a small boss. Yet, even these encounters are too easy and this was frustrating. Had the developers incorporated a combo system or tougher creatures, then this would have been vastly improved.
Kandria is uncomfortably beautiful.
Where Kandria excels is its incredible aesthetics. The moody and gloomy post-apocalyptic world is fascinating to explore. Furthermore, the muted tones and earthy colour palette add to the misery. Alongside this, I loved how you’d travel to the top of decrepit buildings or explore dank underground worlds. Either way, the variety in backdrops and the juxtaposition between open-and-closed spaces were fascinating. The world was great, but I adored the pixelated graphics more. This simple approach worked perfectly! Moreover, the smooth animation and speedy movement were great to look at.
On top of the amazing visuals, you’ll enjoy a wonderfully atmospheric soundtrack. The haunting songs add to the eerie ambience. Furthermore, the aggressive music enhances otherwise dull combat encounters.
Verified for Steam Deck.
Kandria can be enjoyed on a PC, laptop, or Steam Deck. Whichever you choose, you’ll like the easy-to-understand controls. However, I found it much easier to play on Steam Deck. Here, the setup is more intuitive, and this helps the platforming elements. Either way, the controls are responsive and the UI is simple to navigate. What’s more, the map can be viewed at the push of a button. Accordingly, this helps overcome many of the Metroidvania mechanics.
With such a large world to explore and multiple factions to interact with, there is plenty to do. As such, this oozes both replay value and longevity. Sadly, though, with no skill tree or in-depth upgrade options, it feels a bit shallow. Had the developers incorporated a basic upgrade system, then the game would have been vastly improved.
Kandria is an excellent indie title.
The indie market is saturated. Consequently, choosing a great game from a poor one is an extremely tough ask. However, I’m happy to say that Kandria is an excellent indie title. Yes, it is fair to compare it to Celeste, but it excels on its own merit. With amazing platforming elements, a nice story, and interesting characters, you’ll fall for its charms. Unfortunately, though, a lack of custom options or upgrade elements will disappoint many gamers. Accordingly, despite these issues, I still recommend that you buy it here! Can an emotionless robot save mankind? Leap, attack, and trade your way to success.