[PlayStation 5] Zapling Bygone Review
Zapling Bygone from JanduSoft and solo dev 9FingerGames is a twisted Metroidvania on PlayStation. Learn more in our Zapling Bygone review!
Zapling Bygone from JanduSoft and solo dev 9FingerGames is a twisted Metroidvania on PlayStation. How twisted? You’ll be playing as a tentacular alien hive-mind that must destroy everything and everyone on its path to steal each boss’ abilities by wearing their skulls. Yes, seriously. Since this is a Metroidavania, that means that some of these abilities are certainly game-changing, thus giving you access to areas that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. Your task is to survive as you map the area and find as much information as possible so that you can establish if the planet you’ve found will be what the hive mind requires.
When wearing the skull of the foes you’ve bested, you’ll also gain access to their memories. This will, in turn, allow you to read some comic book-style panels that will present major events in their lives… or former lives. You know, because you killed them. Your adventure will have you explore six different biomes as you take on some tricky platforming segments that will test your skills in full.
You’ll control your character with the left analog stick, jumping with the X button, attacking with the Square button, and dashing with the R1 button. The Triangle button can be used to interact. If you need to heal your wounds, then you can press the Circle button to do so, as long as you have collected enough energy for it. Since this is a Metroidvania, that means you’ll unlock additional abilities as you progress further in the game and collect new skulls. Without spoiling things too much, I will mention that the first one you’ll get is the Rat King skull, which will allow you to jump against walls to climb them.
Pressing the Touchpad on the DualSense will open up the menu for you. From there, you can check out your map so that you can see where the mothership is, where your zapling is located, where you can find an infection point, where the Altars that you’ve activated are, as well as any ships that you’ve managed to find. You can also check your equipment, the skull fragments that you’ve collected, and any of the paintings that you’ve found so far. There’s also the option of checking out memories, but you’ll probably have to wait for a bit before being able to check a full memory since you’ll be reconstructing them one comic book panel at a time.
You’ll start with the Skull of the Coward that you find a few seconds after starting the game. All organic creatures on the planet will drop Plasma upon death. Plasma is important since it can be spent at an Altar to activate it, thus creating save points for your journey. You can also spend Plasma to unlock fast-travel spots at a higher cost than that for activating Altars. It will be at these Altars that you’ll be able to change between the different mutations you’ve obtained.
Along with the different skulls that you’ll be able to equip, you’ll also get a chance to find some mutations. Mutations are special items that will modify and enhance the zapling’s abilities. You can add them to your skulls at an Altar and can equip as many of them as you have slots on your skull… and if the slots match the shape of the mutation! As for what types of mutations you’ll be able to find, they include Big Feet, which allows you to knock enemies back a bit further; Blaster, which turns melee attacks into a medium-range horizontal blast; or Adrenal Gland, which increases attack speed but lowers damage.
Zapling Bygone has a full trophy list for you to work on. On top of this, the good news for trophy hunters is that since this is a Cross-Buy title, each version of the game – PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 – will have its own trophy list to work on, so that means two potential Platinum trophies to unlock. The list includes 6 Bronze trophies, 14 Silver trophies, and 6 Gold trophies. You’ll need to collect the special skulls of the different bosses in the game, obtain all comic book panels, complete specific challenges, complete the game, 100% the game, and complete a handful of specific objectives.
Once you’ve beaten the game, you might want to activate the Randomiser Mode, which makes enemies spawn where they aren’t supposed to while also having a small chance to be more powerful. Oh, and the locations for mutations are different! You will also unlock Metal Face Mode and Explorer Mode. Metal Face Mode will have you start the game with the Metal Face that can’t be removed. While it contains many mutation slots, death will be permanent. Explorer Mode will give you the basic versions of all core movement abilities available from the start.
Zapling Bygone is a fun Metroidvania that pays homage to the genre while doing its own thing in a macabre way. With you having to use the skulls of your fallen enemies to gain new abilities that will allow you to reach new locations as you try to find out of the planet can be what the hive-mind needs. Zapling Bygone is available as a Cross-Buy title, so your $12.99 purchase will give you access to both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5 versions of the game at no extra cost.
This Zapling Bygone review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by JanduSoft.