Agartha (PC) Review
Elemental interaction is way more complex than it has any right to be
Not enough people will play this
Agartha, a title that everyone I have introduced this game pronounces differently at least three times, is an indie pixel game published by the niche company Fruitbat Factory. From the description of the game alone it is hard to tell what the game is about, and expectations would probably be set rather low. Hidden within, though, is a surprisingly deep game with nuanced mechanics that titles with vastly more updated graphics couldn’t dream of.
The easiest way to describe the title is by saying it is a puzzle platformer. Where it becomes interesting is all of the descriptions that are required to fill everything out from there. The environment can be changed based on the characters powers. Different powers do different things to the world, guns kill things, and bazooka’s blow things up, but fire also melts ice and evaporates water while ice condenses steam/clouds and freezes water. The game gets vastly more interesting the longer it is played, mainly because it appears that there really isn’t any incorrect way to play it at all.
The problems come in, though, when it starts to become unclear exactly what the game is expecting of the player. There is a mini-map in the corner of the screen that will display the exit, but some stages have two exits—one of which will randomly feel like the incorrect one. The first time that the game requires the player to look at the mini-map to proceed isn’t clear either, making that step-in logic a little jarring at first. This is before getting into the fact that not all of the selectable characters are created equally, which some being able to blaze through a majority of levels, and some (like the intro character) quickly becoming almost worthless and outdated.
Agartha isn’t a bad game, as a matter of fact it is a very, very good game. It is the kind of game that can find a niche of its own and make that entire area something it could claim the title of. While rough around the edges in some spots, it more than makes up for that with a depth that very few games have. The title itself does the best it can to introduce them, but due to just how unique they play it takes experimentation and experience before many players will truly get the hang of it. It doesn’t matter, though, because once someone has played this game past the first boss fight (which is a giant shark), there is no going back.