[PlayStation 5] Worldless Review - PS3Blog.net
2D Metroidvania with turn-based combat Wordless from Thunderful, Coatsink, and indie Noname Studios is ready for you on PS5. Check our Worldless review!
It’s game of the year time! That means that every game that everyone is willing to talk about is by some big-name studio or some big publisher, which usually has a trailer that starts with “In a World…” So, if your game is not set “in a world,” no one cares. No one wants to talk about some Worldless game from a no-name studio. So, what big game are we talking about today? Worldless by Noname Studios? Oh, I think I may have misunderstood the assignment.
Worldless is a stylish, and dare I say, ambitious 2D Metroidvania-style RPG from Thunderful, Coatsink, and indie Noname Studios where you play as a nameless warrior trapped in a war between Blue and Orange. The war between the colors Blue and Orange has spanned multiple games, multiple genres, and multiple generations, and yet it rages on, and Worldless is no exception. You play as a Blue soldier after landing on a nearby planet and must battle against the local fauna and other hostiles both within and without.
For the most part, your traversal is done Metroidvenia-style. You first begin to travel through eight biomes as you absorb the souls of the different enemies you defeat along the way to earn you the Blue or Orange favored abilities to help you in combat. Added to that are the more special abilities you can learn, such as a multi-directional dash or a double jump. Needless to say, the Metroidvenia half of the game is on point. The traversal feels fluid, and the maps, though small in scale, feel well-designed. The other half of the game is where many may find the more unique traits of the game. Upon encountering an enemy, you switch into what can best be described as RPG combat with ATB bars and everything. You are given a set amount of time to unleash your attacks upon your opponents, be they physical (X button) or magical (Square button).
Your attacks are fluid and beautifully animated, and they flow into each other quite well. When your turn finishes, your opponent can then attack, but rather than you just standing still and taking the hits, you are given a chance to completely negate each attack by blocking them. In theory, it is possible to finish most fights without taking a single hit. Before an attack lands, it can flash either a horizontal line, meaning a physical attack is incoming, or a vertical one, meaning a magical one is inbound. You must then press the corresponding button to shield yourself against the attack or face their full force. You will want to do this because your soldier is especially weak and can easily be bested by the most basic of enemies. This interesting gameplay mechanic seems designed to keep you on your toes. Not only do you need to remember what the different flashing lines mean, but you must also remember each enemy’s pattern, as they can sometimes mix it up when you least expect it.
The game’s combat mechanics don’t end there. As mentioned earlier, you gain new abilities by acquiring ability points from slain enemies. You do so by building up an absorption meter to a certain level, and by pressing the L1 and R1 buttons, you are then allowed the chance to do a QTE. Should you pass, the ability point is yours. Should you fail, you lose some of the meter and must build it up again.
For me, this is where some of the frustration of Worldless comes into play. The rate at which the meter builds up feels so slow. Fights that feel like they should take seconds end up lasting much longer and become frustrating when you spend forever trying to build up your meter, only for it to get destroyed by what often feels like a single hit from your enemies. Tie this to your weak nature, and you will find yourself restarting a lot of the fights over and over again. In addition, some enemies have a health bar, and you are expected to absorb the ability point before they die. To put it simply, this is frustrating since a lot of the enemies with health bars are too weak to survive your assault long enough for you to build your absorption meter, forcing you to abandon some fights.
No doubt, combat is meant to be seen as a puzzle that you must solve, and trying different strategies is the best way to go. However, I can’t help but feel that the absorption mechanic is a little too punishing and can unnecessarily hamper progression and enjoyment, especially when enemies block your path and must be bested before you can access certain areas. In fairness to Worldless, the game is excellent, at least from a visual and audio perspective. The enemy designs are excellent, the world and level designs are also a joy to traverse, and there is a beautiful flow to the movement of your soldier and everything else in the world. The audio, with its haunting melodies, and the sound design, do a great job to help bring this journey to life.
Certainly, Worldless is a great game if you like Metroidvanias, captivating combat, or punishing games in general. Worldless is certainly worth your time, and for $ 19.99, it is hardly a bank breaker, but the narrative and the shortcomings of the combat seem to let it down. Call me cynical, but I feel the Blue and Orange are fighting a secret war and one Blue soldier must fight against their inner Orange angle is somewhat overdone and does not do the narrative any favors. But that is not to say you won’t find it enjoyable. Certainly, the gameplay is fun, the design is pretty to look at, and the audio is neat. You would not feel cheated if you were to give this one a go. Worldless is available as a Cross-Buy title, so your purchase will allow you to download both the PS4 and PS5 versions of the game at no extra cost.
This Worldless review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Thunderful.