Astronite is one of those games that’ll make you scream and scream and scream! Consequently, this maddening 1bit Metroidvania title will infuriate you to the point of despair. However, this also makes it moreish as hell, and I struggled to put down this brutal platformer. Alongside this, it is a game that is full of secrets, upgrades, tough bosses, and a surprisingly big map. As such, this straightforward-looking game will push you to your limits while surprising you regularly.
Developed by DUME Games Studio and published by JanduSoft, this is a 1bit Metroidvania platformer. What’s more, it has plenty of puzzles and loads of combat, and there is an interesting upgrade system to master. Additionally, there are plenty of zones to explore as well as familiar Metroidvania mechanics to endure. Accordingly, you’ll traverse the enormous map looking for different paths as new powers, abilities, and skills become available.
Astronite tells a damning tale.
Your home planet used to be lush and peaceful, that was, until “they” arrived. These invasive beasts destroyed your home and killed your people. As such, you must seek revenge and remove these evil creatures from your planet. However, this is easier said than done, as giant bosses and evil overlords stand between you and success.
Though the story was damning, the action was harder still! This brutal Metroidvania title does very little hand-holding and offers almost no guidance throughout. As such, you are free to explore at will and die repeatedly. The action focuses on the hero and his endeavours. Throughout his journey, he must collect a valuable resource called Sphirti. This sought-after element is traded for upgrades and is used to power each teleporter. Consequently, it is essential if you wish to progress.
However, the developers enhance the masochistic nature of this title by wiping your Sphirti collection every time you die. Luckily, though, if you can get back to your grave without dying, you can collect everything you have lost. Yet, this isn’t easy and the cruel nature of this game wipes your progress in relentless fashion as you die over and over again.
Typical spaceman gear.
As a spaceman, you expect to have certain resources at your disposal. As a minimum, there should be a weapon, a jetpack, and a way to move quickly. Unfortunately, though, the evil overlord who leads the invasion snatches each of these items from you. Consequently, your journey is hindered until you find each boss that protects each element.
This was a “fun” way to enforce the fundamental Metroidvania tropes. However, this is enhanced further, as upgrades and different items can be purchased separately. You can use your Sphirti to increase your health, buy a map, reduce the cost of teleportation, increase firepower, and so forth. On top of this, the more you explore, the more likely you are to find upgrades in the wild. Subsequently, determined explorers are rewarded for their efforts as a more powerful hero will mow down each brutal boss in a heartbeat.
Alongside these ideas are some excellent secret locations. The Echo Doors hide challenges that only the strongest and bravest can witness. Accordingly, this already tough game offers an extra layer of difficulty to anyone that is stupid enough to try their luck.
Astronite may be dated, but it looks great.
The use of a monochromatic colour palette and a simple art style may not be for everyone. Yet, I loved how Astronite looks. The use of lighting and shade creates depth in each of the incredible areas. Furthermore, the excellent sprites and simple labelling ensure that you can identify land and water, or solid or crumbling platforms. Though the visuals may be rudimentary, they work perfectly for this genre and I adored its stripped-back simplicity and the excellent stage design.
The original audio was equally good. ZeeWave Sound has created a brilliant synth soundtrack that is futuristic, energetic, and full of fun. Alongside this, the basic sound effects complemented the music.
When a game is as infuriating as Astronite, the controls must be spot on. Thankfully, the responsive inputs ensure that you have a fighting chance. With spikes to leap over, chasms to jump, saw blades to avoid, and a never-ending army of creatures to kill, the simple control layout was a blessing. Additionally, you must also master your jetpack and the ability to dash, swim, and shoot. Subsequently, there is a lot to focus on if you wish to complete your mission.
This genre is tough but also rewarding. Moreover, it has plenty of replay value and longevity if you can withstand the cruel mechanics. Fortunately/unfortunately, Astronite goes one step further with its secret areas and its incredibly harsh bosses. Furthermore, the lack of hand-holding or guidance will test your patience and your will to live.
Astronite is cruel but undeniably good.
I normally give Metroidvania games a wide birth. Why? Well, I usually find the back-and-forth and cruel mechanics to be unfulfilling and far too tough. Now, Astronite is guilty of these things as well, but I adored the story, the fantastic presentation, and the rewarding nature of each boss encounter. Furthermore, the drip-fed mechanics and excellent stage design were wonderful as well. Accordingly, though it kicked my ass, I loved what I saw. As such, I recommend that you buy it here! Can you destroy the plague of invaders that have ruined your planet? Search for your gear, find every secret, and fulfil your destiny to become a hero.