kalmis's Aztaka (PC) review

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  • kalmis has written a total of 101 reviews. The last one was for Lume

Platforming RPG in Aztec theme

Aztaka's developer is called Citérémis. This Canadian indie dev claims to be one of the first solar powered gaming studios. Their twitter boasts also a Fairtrade brand. Surely you can not get more indie than that?

Gameplay and genre is not as far out there as the French-Canadian Fair-Trade studio would imply. Traditional 2D platformer is the main idea behind here. Setting is in old Mesoamerican ( Aztec) theme in hand painted backgrounds and ethnic soundtrack. The platforming action follows any the standard Metroidvania games where upgrades are picked for player to be able to continue to new areas. The unique aspect of the games in form of the roleplaying game aspect. Player will gain experience and loot from killed enemies. With more experience player earns points to use on stats and new spells. There is also number of quests in traditional RPG way that can be completed.

Player is controlling an Aztec warrior named Huitzilo. He is armed with a spear that used to fend of the local wildlife and flora. He is companioned by a small bird that follows Huitzilo automatically and handles the use of magic. Story is a standard fare where evil sorceress is causing havoc and it is upt to our hero go after her. Somewhere along the lines he needs to collect a number of artifacts and save the day. Naturally. Scatters of the main quest can be found by vising points of interests, defeating bosses and talking to certain villagers. The villagers also give out optional side-quests that are the usual fetching and kill quests. Unfortunately the little story there is interrupted by lack of direction. More specifically Aztaka has no ingame map making backtracking (too) necessary thing. The meager story is nothing to write home about, especially with the flat end. Action is spread out to 10 odd levels. Where most of the levels have multiple directions player can go to. Unfortunately there is hardly variation within the levels. Making the Monkey Island type endless forest a too easy thing to happen. Add re-spawning enemies on top of that and you'll get a slight frustration no doubt.

On top of the loot and XP the enemies also drop various forms of spirit/energy. This can be stored in containers found in the environment. These again used to interact the environment with. To open doors/heal and so on. Mouse is used to drag these around adding a slight puzzle and unique aspect to the game. Game has an occasional boss fight and there is enough variation in the enemies, yet I found the game to become to quite boring after a while. The customization and the magic simple don't add enough to the game to keep this interesting. Art-style and the music manage to build the theme/concept well. Unfortunately the gameplay is just repetition and the story is too scarce and loose.

Aztaka is available on Steam for £6.99 . Although I have hard time recommend this for the asked price (£6.99). Idea and the presentation are not enough to carry this mediocre game. Gameplay and the story are just compelling.

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