When a game as beautiful as Imp of the Sun releases, it's hard to know if it's actually fun or not so let's explore what it's all about.
Imp of the Sun is a charming little 2D action game set in a smallish Metroidvania world. As Nin, it's your job to return the sun by taking down 4 dastardly Keepers who have drenched the world in darkness via an eclipse. You can actually explore quite a bit of the game world right off the bat although you're generally guided by the NPCs through the 4 areas according to how difficult they are and there are some mechanics in play that gatekeep you by requiring certain abilities to progress. I appreciated this game world design a lot because it makes the campaign feel open even though there's a path that you should be following regardless. v1d30chumz 34-231-247-88
In addition to the clever campaign structure, another excellent aspect of Imp of the Sun is its visuals which are filled with gorgeously animated sprites and lovely environments. In fact, the beautiful graphics are what made me want to play Imp of the Sun in the first place. Thankfully, they do not disappoint, especially when it comes to the charming cast of characters that help you throughout such as a girl who frequently chimes in with her adorable voice that's in a language I don't understand. In short, it's one charming game.
As I progressed through Imp of the Sun, my enthusiasm for it gradually dwindled as I began to realise just how unrefined its gameplay is. The core controls are familiar as you run, attack, double-jump, and air-dash around the environments. However, nearly every aspect of gameplay is compromised in some sort of frustrating way. For example, jumps are a fixed height so you can't tap the jump button to make a short hop and it's also tricky to ascend narrow columns since Nin doesn't seem to like touching the sides for some odd reason.
Combat is also problematic in Imp of the Sun with the main issue being that it's disconnected. In other words, exchanging blows with enemies merely feels like both parties wave their weapons in the air while randomly taking damage. I'd say that's a key word to define the combat: random. Sometimes, you'll take hits from unexpected attacks while other times, foes will stand there while getting smacked around until they perish. That leads me to the AI problems because enemies have very little intelligence, especially when you see them run off cliffs or refuse to run towards you as you snipe them from a distance. To top it off, bosses are unpredictable as during one attempt, they may be impossibly aggressive and at the next try, they may just stand there as you claim victory with little effort.
Although these very core elements are unrefined, Imp of the Sun is still a somewhat solid game with redeeming qualities such as the level-up system where you can spend earned experience points on increasing your health gauge, attack power, and skill meter. It does take a long time in order to do so and I wish that there were more frequent growth opportunities but it's satisfying nonetheless. I also enjoyed the extra moves that you unlock as you play such as the mid-air dash which allows you to reach new areas. However, the level designs are a bit inconsistent as the only substantial challenge is with enemy arenas while the rest is mostly platforming filler.
Imp of the Sun is a beautiful game that I wanted to love but its frustrating gameplay issues definitely get in the way of the fun.
- + Beautiful art and charming characters
- + Additional moves are rewarding to unlock
- + Game world is set up in a clever way
- - Combat feels disconnected and random / jumping is clunky and stiff
- - Poor enemy AI and level designs
- - Character growth is too slow