- System: PC, PS4/PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X, Xbox Series X
- Publisher: Modus Games
- Developer: Aurogon Shanghai
- Release Date: April 25, 2023
- Rating: E10+ Everyone 10+
- Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG
- Players: 1
- Official Website: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1701520/Afterimage/
When Castlevania was released in the mid to late 1980s, it set a standard for a genre that would last even today. After numerous remakes/sequels, Castelvania still has a long-lasting fandom that has created a boon for other developers to try and get close to what it did in the gaming world. Enter 2023 and developer Aurogon Shanghai’s newest game Afterimage. We immediately had our eyes on this beautiful-looking 2D adventure title here at Honey’s Anime and finally, we had our chance to play it. Does Afterimage set the new standard for the genre or is this an afterimage that just looks pretty but lacks substance? We find out in our review of Afterimage for the PC!
The World of Engardin feels
Afterimage takes place in a mythical world called Engardin. Players assume the role of a…amnesiac named Renee who has decided to journey into the dangers ahead of her to recover her lost memories and find clues to where her mentor last was. Yeah, it isn’t the most ideal setup in the world but Afterimage’s plot isn’t extremely important if we’re being honest. During our hours of play, we kind of never cared about Renee’s memories or her plight. That isn’t to say the story isn’t engaging or has its moments of intrigue but the story takes a back seat to the gameplay—which is a good thing in this case—and never really shines above the other elements that make Afterimage good. But there is a story here and it gives you just enough drive to care about Renee and push her forward despite everything.
The Art of War
The reason we opened with the mini-history of Castlevania is that Afterimage is without a doubt heavily inspired by it. One can even say there’s a tinge of Dark Souls in here but we think Castlevania makes a more prominent note. Renee might be an amnesiac but her fighting abilities seem to be intact and that’s good for you cause you’re about to need them. Renee can do many things such as jump, dodge back and fight with a multitude of weapons that each provide their pros/cons. Examples include the slow scythe which has a nice range and can doll out some damage but is slower than a sword. Renee can even equip a whip—which was our personal favorite weapon—that can damage from a distance but like the scythe lacks speed. What’s neat about Afterimage is that players can equip 2 weapons at a time and assign each one to an attack button for a mixed variety. Add to this a pretty large skill system and various magical abilities and one can almost customize Renee to their own liking which is a very necessary means of surviving some of the later bosses of Afterimage.
Exploring the gorgeous battlefield
When you’re not hacking through enemies and surviving bosses, you’ll be moving about a rather large map filled with treasures to find and sights to see. Afterimage’s gorgeous hand-drawn art makes this journey even more mystical. Like Castlevania, you’ll be often relying on backtracking through areas and finding new areas upon gaining new moves/abilities. There are tons of places to see and each one is a sight to behold as Afterimage looks like a mix between an anime and a piece of moving art.
Repetition Kills All…
Sadly, not all is perfect in Afterimage and that is because, after a few hours of playing, we can’t deny we began to feel like Afterimage doesn’t really change much. Yes, the landscape changes, and there are a ton of bosses/enemies to face but the way to beat them never really changes. Whether your boss is flying in the skies or running on the field, you will usually dodge, attack and repeat the process over and over again. Yes, you can use your various weapons to change the way you go about beating these foes but it never really altered the overall experience much. There’s a lot of variety to Afterimage, one can definitely not deny that but it just begins to blend together and that does kind of kill the wonder this game tries for as you play for longer sessions.
Afterimage is most certainly an excellent game for not only the price but how gorgeous it really is. Yes, the gameplay can get repetitive despite the clear attempt at making such a robust indie title. Despite the issues we had with Afterimage, we really did love our time with it and think this is a solid game for those who love games like Castlevania but with modern flairs and visuals.
Are you going to buy Afterimage or already have? Have some thoughts on it? Comment below to let us know and others who may be reading this review right now! Keep stuck to our afterimage-producing hive here at Honey’s Anime for even more game reviews and all things otaku-orientated!