We zoom in on the indie scene again, looking at the recent releases of Krut – The Mythic Wings, Firegirl: Hack ‘n Splash Rescue DX and Sixty Words.
Krut – The Mythic Wings review (PS4)
The latest indiegame from Blowfish Studios, which was developed by Pixel Perfex and GoodJob Multimedia, is a movie tie-in that few were expecting – as few will have heard of the source material, 2018 animated featured that was produced in Thailand called Krut: The Himmaphan Warriors. The videogame adaptation is a horizontal scrolling hack and slash action adventure, which we played on a PlayStation 4 Pro.
Having since watched the associated movie, the game’s story follows the events of the original closely. You’re a Garuda Warrior, hoping to free your homeland from the attacks of an Ogre horde. You’ll need the titular Mythic Wings to help you though, but to unleash their full power you will have to travel through the lands of Himmaphan, an enchanted island. It’s a typical fantasy adventure backdrop, and although it was entertaining there wasn’t anything about the film that made it stand out to us. In a way, that’s true for the videogame adaptation as well.
Despite a unique look and feel (how often do you get to play something that’s based on Thai animation?), Krut: The Mythic Wings has fairly generic gameplay and control mechanics. You can jump and dodge, and while in combat you have access to a light and strong attack, as well as a (charged) ranged attack. But while it works, it’s a bit like an old arcade game in that you can’t easily string moves together. The strong attack feels sluggish, so your best bet is usually to fire off a ranged attack, move in for a quick attack and then dodge out of the way again – and then repeat.
There’s another benefit to not using the stronger attack, and that’s the fact that you can actually activate a temporary super mode by charging it up completely. With this, you can fly and fire off shots, which is great for clearing out a bunch of enemies – and it even recharges your health while doing so. It’s extremely useful, especially because the regular combat isn’t terribly refined. Add the fact that you have to use in-game credits to activate checkpoints or regain health otherwise, and you see what we mean. You’d be better off spending those credits for upgrades instead.
Boss fights in Krut: The Mythic Wings are rare highlights. They’re not too exciting from a gameplay perspective, nor are they too challenging, but they show off the game’s art and design very well. For the gameplay we’d skip this one as being a tad too generic, but it has a unique aesthetic that fans of the genre might very well enjoy.
Firegirl: Hack ‘n Splash Rescue DX review (PS5)
Developer Dejima originally launched Firegirl: Hack ‘n Splash Rescue on PC last year, and because it looked great in the trailer and preview materials we were surprised it wasn’t better received. Now, it’s been relaunched as Firegirl: Hack ‘n Splash Rescue DX, those extra two letters denoting a refined experience for console owners, who can now get their hands on the game thanks to publisher Thunderful.
We never actually played the PC original so we can’t do a direct comparison, but the official notes mention that this new version contains “new enemies, reworked environments and level designs, improvements to the difficulty curve and a streamlined upgrade tree”, so it definitely seems like the developers saw plenty of room for improvement themselves as well. As far as we can tell, they’re changed for the better – though they kept the gorgeous visual style of the original release intact, with a great mix of 2D visuals and 3D effects.
While we assumed that Firegirl would have arcade-like gameplay based on the trailers, we were surprised to find that there’s a substantial story-driven element to the game as well. You’re Firegirl, who lost her father in a blaze years ago and has since joined a band of firefighters. In an odd mix of Ghostbusters and Backdraft, fires and fire-themed monsters are suddenly appearing now, and you need to figure out why and stop it. It’s nothing particularly deep, but it’s a fun driving force for the gameplay in a well-paced campaign.
Firegirl DX plays like an action platformer with roguelike elements that uses its theme well. Your goal is often to rescue trapped civilians from a fire in a limited amount of time to get the highest score possible in each level. You’ll barge through doors with your fireaxe, put out fires and take out fiery enemies with your hose. This hose also doubles as a double-jump mechanic, when you activate it mid-air – aiming it at the ground for an extra boost (while also taking out any enemies below). Water is limited, but taking our enemies also extends your time limit – so use it wisely.
The roguelike elements come from the income you generate and the upgrades you spend it on. You might fail a mission at first, but progress is always palpable and steady – these mechanics don’t feel like unneeded padding, to the point where we’re entirely comfortable recommending this to those who generally don’t enjoy the roguelike genre. One thing of note is that we originally found the PS4 version to be a bit more stable than the PS5 one, but when replaying prior to this review we didn’t encounter any issues with the next/new gen version anymore either. Having seen the trailers a long time ago, we can happily see that Firegirl’s DX version lives up to them with a fun package.
Sixty Words by POWGI review (PS4)
If you regularly read our reviews and/or are familiar with the POWGI brand, then you’ll have a pretty good idea what to expect from Sixty Words by POWGI, the latest word-based puzzler from Lightwood Games. It’s out now, and you get native PS5 version with your purchase as well. It doesn’t give you any specific next gen features, but it does give trophy hunters an additional platinum trophy that’s not too hard to achieve.
Sixty Words is nearly identical to a previous Lightwood title called Fifty Words, with one obvious difference. This time, you’re on the lookout for ten additional words, but the mechanics are very much the same. Words aren’t presented in a list as they would be in a typical word search puzzle, but can be identified by the player as they appear in a random layout.
You casually keep doing this until you reach the full sixty words hidden in each puzzle – all of which are connected by a common theme (per puzzle). As you mark them, they are automatically given colors, which eventually paints a canvass of color for you. It’s a very mellow kind of game, with Lightwood’s usual clean and polished presentation style. If you have the option, get this on the Switch – it’s a great game to play on the go for word puzzle fans.