Savage: The Shard of Gosen is like all of my childhood favourites,
Conan the Barbarian, Castlevania, Astyanax, and the Legend of Zelda game everyone bitched about,
all put into a blender, turned to Dark Souls, and left on until the circuit blows.
Savage: The Shard of Gosen is not your typical retro-graphics styled 2D adventure/RPG.
It’s a game with a lot of attention to detail, and some pretty graphics, considering it looks like the most put together SNES game ever.
In Savage, you play a man named Kell (should you choose to keep his default name), from a tribe that is being enslaved by the Argeshii Empire, a huge civilization that owns massive swaths of Lor, the prehistoric fantasy world you live in. Run, jump, and climb through this incredible world, and kick everything’s ass on the way. It’s a basic premise, but, the feel of the controls and the world are both very well crafted.
This game feels like a love letter to the games of the past, while not sacrificing any of the modern playability of games today.
Graphics and Audio:
I’m gonna start out by saying the soundtrack is exactly what I would expect – it’s got good beats and isn’t overly complicated, but it feels like I’m playing exactly what I am, and that’s important. The music is good enough I actually stopped running and jumping long enough to listen to it at points, but, it does hang around a bit long if you’re terrible at the game like I am, and have to replay sections more than a couple of times. As far as graphics are concerned, this game is top tier in the world of pixels. The animations are crisp, the character moves realistically, and the different weapon types giving different animations is very well done. This isn’t “Swing your arm and whatever is in it will hit your enemy” it’s actually custom animations for different weapon types. It’s spectacular.
This is where the shine really comes into focus in Savage. A lot of the game play involves your traditional combat, though, it’s incredibly fluid, with plenty of room for different styles of combat. Some people might prefer the spear, though, I am a big fan of the two handed sword. The game allows you to handle combat differently, just like any reasonable game about combat should. It doesn’t play like Hollow Knight exactly, but, they are both fluid and action-packed combat based games.
There are also weapons that are definitely important in certain situations, such as the throwing dirks, which you’ll need to acquire to climb up certain walls. Using the shield to block ranged attacks is important, and actually fun. The whole of combat is fun.
When climbing something, your character moves slower than when he runs, which, seems like it would be annoying, but the realism of it adds a new challenge and forces you to make smart decisions. The only downfall I currently see, and, I need to note here, the game is still in development, so this may change, is that certain areas feel like definite traps that will just murder you. Fall into a pit that has spikes in the floor? Probably not going to just get hit once, you might just live there until you’re not living anymore. That’s okay though, when you die, you just respawn at the last mug you drank out of, which feels like the Dark Souls bonfire, in that it’s a safe respite from the world, and also the only place you can level up.
Of course, Dark Souls has about 500 different attributes for you to worry about, but good ol’ Kell has 3, Might, Resolve, and Favor. These effect sub stats, but, without getting too detailed, Might’s for killing, Resolves for tanking, and Favor is item find rate/luck.
There’s even a whole crafting system built into the game. You can use fetishes to fancy up your weapons. Another cool thing about the equipment, is as you use it, it levels up, making it do more damage or get special unique properties. I haven’t toyed around too much with this system other than the naturally occurring levels my pieces got as I played, but I’m pretty sure your equipment can only level up as high as you can, which means that your pants made of leather are going to be more powerful as time goes on if you don’t decide to replace it with something metal.
We don’t even have an idea what this game is going to cost, as it’s still in development. We were just lucky enough to meet this incredible developer at Dreamhack Austin, which, cruuump will have a few articles about here shortly. This game is damn fun, and it definitely deserves more hype than it’s getting. If you’re into a challenging game with a cool story, in a world where you can punch bears in the face, this is your game. – and, if you’re one of those people who want a full review – just wait ‘til it releases, ‘cause we’re gonna review the shit out of this one.
Oh, did I mention that this game was made entirely by 1 person? Dude has done all of it himself. ALL OF IT. What a freakin’ talented guy Matt Fitzgerald is. I mean, he’s been working on it since 2013, but, the attention to detail and the passion for his project is very clear. He says it’s going to release soon!
Disclosure: You too, can get a free public alpha copy of this game
Check out the Developer: Planet Tobor