Oblitus Impressions

May 8th, 2014 -

I recently got the opportunity to play a build of Oblitus, and it’s better than I anticipated. If you didn’t watch the trailer, the game is a 2D platformer in which you control a little creature named Parvus that wields a spear and is on a journey to discover his origin and purpose. This isn’t your typical Ghosts ‘n Goblins gameplay though.
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The controls for Oblitus are easy enough to understand: move left and right, roll, jump, use shield, close quarters attack and throw attack. What makes it special is the way in which the controls are used. While the build I played didn’t have too much variation in AI, you can see that there will be (rather, there has to be – more on that later).

So the level I played is darkly lit, but you have an aura that lights the surrounding area as you traverse the level. Your first encounters are creatures about the size of you that just bum rush Parvus as soon as they see him. One hit and they’re dead, though if you’re not paying attention, they can easily get the best of you. The next enemy type was a larger character that wielded a shield. He blocks most attacks, so the strategy is ideally to roll past him and hit him from behind. However, you can also hold your shield up and throw your spear at his head to kill him. It’s here that sets this game apart immediately from other games like this – there isn’t just one way of facing your foes. Sure, you can say that’s the case in lots of games, but it just feels more satisfying here, in the way that the Souls games do.

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As you progress, you you will find health in the form of… I’m not entirely sure. The departed? In any case, they’re welcome pickups after accidentally letting a plant hit you with its bulbous tongue of death. In addition to the typical platforming, there is quite a bit of ladder climbing, and it’s not limited to vertical directions. To get to the boss of the level, you defy gravity with ceiling ladders while navigating past large blobs of color (some sort of liquid that I didn’t bother to touch because I figured it meant death). The boss itself is awesome looking – I was prepared to die immediately, but unfortunately he only did a single attack, and I could just sit at the edge of the walkway and throw my spear until he died without ever being touched. I’m really looking forward to large scale fights like this when they involve more tactics.

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So other than that, what’s cool about Oblitus? Well, it might be because it was an early build, but the fact that you’re told the controls and then on your own. There isn’t a tutorial, and I love when games just let you play. As I’m sure you’ve heard plenty before, good game design is teaching how to play by playing. This game does that. And I mentioned that there is more than one way to fight enemies – that’s also true of the level design. I played it real quick a little while back to make sure it worked, and it was a completely different experience from this time. There are multiple paths, hidden coves, and a lot of mysteries for you to discover.

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Oblitus is being published by Adult Swim Games and is due out in 2014 (hopefully). That being the case, expect to see it on PC, Mac, and Linux. If you want to see more of Oblitus, check out the game’s site, or even better, the devlog.

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