Elderand is a 2D RPG platformer with a classic feel. Using pixel art to depict a world of gruesome horrors, Elderand sets a nostalgic vibe reminiscent of the gothic games of old.
You play as a mercenary who has been summoned to the realm of Elderand in order to eradicate the tyranny that permeates it. Landing as the sole survivor of a shipwreck, you venture out to explore this ominous and unfamiliar land.
Throughout the game, you explore a single map, which spans through several regions of Elderand, each with its own distinct characteristics and enemies. The land is filled with pixelated monstrosities and plenty of subtle and not-so-subtle references to the works of H.P. Lovecraft.
Most of the story is told through objects and notes discovered during your exploration, with some NPC interaction along the way. Since exploration can be done freely, limited only by what items and abilities you've acquired, the presentation of the notes is fairly random and tends to add more to the atmosphere than to the plot.
The music also adds to the atmosphere, creating a tense mood as it fades away whenever you approach a boss.
Character customization begins at game start with a selection of three avatar types to choose from. Each of these three avatar types comes with a unique voice to listen to throughout the duration of the game as well as some limited options for hair color and skin tone. Once done with the more superficial character customization, you can get into building up and customizing your fighting capabilities.
The leveling in the game is simple, with four basic categories to invest points in to raise your character's stats. Vitality affects your hit points, Strength affects your skill points and physical damage, Dexterity affects your chance of critical hits, and Wisdom affects your magic points and magic attack damage. You start with 5 points per category and gain one point per level, with a maximum of 100 points to distribute. Late in the game, there's an item that allows you to redistribute any points earned from leveling, so you can try using different builds and attack styles against the toughest of the bosses.
There are a wide variety of upgradable weapons, armor, and shields as well as subweapons, accessories, and potions, giving you plenty of options to customize your character to suit your combat style. For most of the game, it's possible to switch out weapons and accessories from the menu mid-battle, but you can also set up two different equipment loadouts that can be toggled with the push of a button making it easy to switch weapons without losing your rhythm.
Raising it to the Next Level
As can be expected for the genre, the length of the game will depend on the player's skill with platformers. Learning the enemy's attack pattern is a key point, but for those with mediocre timing, the leveling system provides some support that can help compensate for any shortcomings. Fortunately, save points are well dispersed throughout the map, with plenty of good enemies to farm for XP in each area.
Getting all the way to level 101 (the maximum character level) is a time-consuming grind, but spending your time hunting for item drops to upgrade your armor and weapons can add some variation to the effort. Fully leveling isn't necessary to complete the game, but less-skilled players will quickly become accustomed to hearing their character's death cry.
Challenging the Dungeons Again
Replayability is going to depend entirely on how you feel about the genre and how much you like the atmosphere of the game. There are multiple endings you can get, but the split in the path to achieve them is late in the game. If you've saved before the split, all of the endings can be achieved through the same playthrough.
I think more of the replay value will be in things such as low-level speed runs or runs to retry the battles with a different weapon. Since different strategies can be used to defeat each boss, battling them again with a different tactic can be a fun challenge.
Elderand is an RPG platformer with gothic elements.
Best played with a gaming controller.
• A good amount of customization.
• Great atmosphere with beautiful pixelated scenery.
• May be a heavy grind to defeat some bosses.