Valpharis, the illegitimate child of Contra and Destiny, slides sideways, breaking pieces on the switch and making the player bump his head along the way. Back on his home planet, Valfaris, Therion discovers that his home has been stormed by evil beings who want to make sure he doesn’t make it out alive. Fortunately, it can use a variety of weapons, from long-range plasma rifles to good old-fashioned melee knives.
Like the previous 2D side rolls, Valpharis is a very challenging game. Expect to die along the way to confront your lost father, who apparently turned the citizens of your planet into vile mutants. There are many checkpoints along the path that can be activated by searching for special objects called resurrection idols that can be inserted into the checkpoints. Most can be found with normal progression, but others may be a little harder to find.
Unfortunately, I would like to have more opportunities to explore these areas. There are secret hidden areas throughout the campaign, but if you miss them, you’re done. There is no turning back, which would be nice if the game didn’t want you to find collectibles like blood metals that you can use to upgrade your many different weapons. Most weapons in the game are also found through natural progression, but some are also hidden in these secret places. I wish I could at least go back and look at some parts I may have missed the first time around.
They have a large number of radar weapons whose sole purpose is to shred alien scum. Each weapon differs in its capabilities from the next, and it is up to the player to decide which one is best suited for them and which one can be upgraded. Since I always play in scrum, I improved my bastard sword early on to make it a one-player opponent. I also loved the Bringer of Mayhem, a plasma rifle that deals energy damage to multiple enemies. The variety of weapons allows each player to be completely different. It also invites players to change strategy and replay the game several times.
Therion can block attacks with his shield and fire projectiles at enemies if timed correctly. It consumes energy, so it’s not always reliable. You can gain energy by attacking enemies in melee combat. I felt like I had a good balance because it encouraged me to use both my sword and my weapon. So I still had enough power for my shield and the energy-dependent weapons.
Like I said before, the game is pretty heavy. I died many times, not only in leadership battles, but also in facing platforms and even some normal enemies. If you’re a player who gets frustrated easily by games like Cuphead, Valfaris might not be for you. Most boss fights require the player to recognize certain patterns and then implement a strategy to eliminate them, which is much easier said than done. As in all great games, repetition will develop your skills and it will eventually be easier to take down enemies, as long as you stick with it.
The game is absolutely beautiful and animated in very detailed pixel art, making it look like it could be in the era of the great shooters. Environments have a wide range of colors and details in the background. It is easy to see that the presentation took a lot of work.
The Valpharis soundtrack cuts through metal, letting you hear riffs as you trample on alien corpses. That’s the main reason I was looking forward to this game. If you are a heavy metal fan, try this with your headphones and the volume turned up.
In manual mode, the Valfaris looks and plays well, but I preferred playing with the Pro controller on a TV screen because the buttons are more precise than with the Joy-Cons. Either way, it’s a fun experience.
Valfaris is an amazing 2D sidewinder with a high dose of metal injection that will appeal to anyone with an itchy trigger and is ready to hunt down alien mutants. Expect to die a lot in the beginning, but the more you play, the more metal you get.
- Charts – 8/10
- Sound – 9/10
- Gameplay – 8/10
- Late Call – 8/10
Final thoughts : GRAND
Take back your planet from your rebellious father in this sci-fi action epic filled with double bass beats and guitar riffs. Don’t hit the switch on the head, okay?
Tony has been playing since he could walk. Pokémon Blue Version helped him learn to read. His greatest achievement is not just playing the entire Kingdom Hearts series, but understanding it.
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