[Nintendo Switch] Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards Review
Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards from Digiart Interactive is a top-down action RPG on Nintendo Switch. Learn more in our Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards review!
In Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards from Digitart Interactive, you will take on a top-down action RPG in which the titular character must set out on an adventure to collect and protect the mystical shards with all of her might. She holds one particular shard that is said to contain the power of her mother, the Goddess of Earth Pachamama. As you can imagine, this means that many people want to get a hold of that particular shard. While protecting it, she must find the other shards to restore her mother’s power. If you want a quick description of this one, think Diablo set in the 16th Century in South America.
Before you get started, you should decide how challenging of an experience you will be taking on. You can play the game in Easy, Normal, or Hard difficulty. Easy will lower your odds of getting legendary loot while lowering the challenge. Normal is the standard difficulty setting. Hard will considerably increase the challenge, forcing you to make the most of the best equipment you can get your hands on, but at least you’ll gain more experience points, loot, and gold in this mode. You can also decide to take on this journey in Story Mode so that you can focus on enjoying the story without worrying about fights being too challenging or dangerous.
Once you’re ready to, you will control Aluna with the left analog stick, using the right one for a dodge roll that can get you out of some tricky situations. Your skills will be mapped to the R, ZR, A, B, X, and Y buttons, so that you can equip a variety of attack and support skills for your adventure. Your inventory can be opened with the – button, allowing you to customize your loadout as needed. If you’re running low on health, you can quickly use a healing potion with the ZL button. The D-Pad can be used for zooming in by pressing up or for checking the map by pressing down.
Loot is a big part of the gameplay cycle for a game like this one, so you’ll be collecting a ton of weapons and other pieces of equipment, either from the enemies you defeat or the many treasure chests you’ll find. Be sure to go into your inventory when you collect new loot so that you can review if something you’ve just picked up has better stats than what you’re currently rocking. You should also collect all of the gold you can carry.
As you defeat enemies and bosses of all shapes and sizes, you’ll gain experience points. Collect enough experience points, and you will level up. Leveling up is important because the more powerful a weapon or a piece of equipment, the higher the level requirement to equip it. This will grant a boost to your overall stats – health, energy, melee, ranged, and magic offense, as well as your overall defense rating – along with some skill points. Skill points can be spent at each of the three skill trees for melee, ranged, and magic in order to unlock new skills and abilities that will be very useful.
You could, for example, unlock an ability that makes it possible to recover 1% of your maximum hit points with every hit you land. You might also want to boost your dodge percentage to improve your odds of avoiding damage or boost your critical hit chance so that you can deal a ton of damage from some attacks. You can also spend skill points to increase your maximum energy, which is definitely a good idea since the active skills you can map to the aforementioned buttons will use up some of your energy to activate. There are many skills for you to unlock, allowing you to customize Aluma based on your gameplay style.
The gold you collect can be used to trade with merchants so that you can purchase new weapons, shields, rings, and other pieces of equipment. You can quickly check if what’s up for purchase is better than what you have currently equipped by checking if there are many green arrows below an item’s name, with the option of taking a closer look with a more detailed description of what boosts it offers. You can also sell items you don’t need or buy back those that you’ve sold by mistake. There’s also the option of having a merchant craft more special equipment, but you don’t know exactly which item you’re getting since it will be randomly generated. You can at least select the type of item that will be crafted so that you don’t, say, end up with a surplus of rings.
Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards is a fun action RPG that doesn’t set out to reinvent the wheel. It’s fully voice acted and tells its story by way of graphic novel-style cut scenes, setting itself apart from other action RPGs in the console. It’s obviously inspired by – but not as good – as the Diablo series, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Other than some dips in the framerate every now and then, I liked the game’s gameplay, graphics, and setting. Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards is out now on Nintendo Switch with a $19.99 asking price.
This Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Digiart Interactive.