Hello everyone and welcome to Honey’s Anime. We will be checking out the pre-alpha demo version for a wonderful game called Holmgang: Memories of the Forgotten from Spanish game studio, Zerouno Games. For those who don’t know Zerouno Games, they are an indie publisher based in Spain and were established in 2017. They have since published 10 games and with Holmgang being their first IP! Zerouno is comprised of industry veterans who have worked on games such as Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, FIFA 2004, N.O.V.A. Legacy, Red Matter, Nantucket, Gods of Rome, and Yesterday Origins.
About Holmgang: Memories of the Forgotten
Holmgang is about the land of Dracorum, a once peaceful and prosperous land until the Emporer’s death caused the lands to suffer great darkness and wickedness in the entire kingdom. Three heroes will come together to fight the darkness and bring back the peace and prosperity Dracorum once had. Holmgang will allow you to experience a very rich story with connections to the novels by David Cabrera and developed by Zerouno Games.
At the beginning of the game, there is a very nice comic experience that informs you about the characters and their place in the story. What you will be experiencing is the prequel to the comics versions of the story but in video game format. This is what allows you to experience the rich story and the character involved, who are Kandar, Valentia, and Tatsu.
From what we were told, Holmgang has a mechanic blend of Castlevania, God of War, Dead Cells, and Golden Axe, with art looking like spray paint, charcoal, and watercolors much like Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China, The Wolf Among Us, and art references from Dave McKean and Lem—who also participated in the development of Holmgang. There are some wonderful RPG elements in the game that allows your characters to evolve and enhance their arsenal. You can also craft in the game by coming up with your own combos to fit your playstyle, and even buy and sell weapons, trinkets, and potions from vendors to prepare yourself for what is to come.
Now, let’s move onto our experience with the Holmgang: Memories of the Forgotten
Once you get to the end of the comic at the beginning of the game, you will have to choose to continue the game with Kandar or continue with Valentia. Since this is the pre-alpha demo, the Kandar path was not available so you have to choose to continue with Valentia. Right off the bat, you know that choosing a specific character will place you on a different path from the others.
There was a small taste of another level you can try in the pre-alpha demo called Swamp. There will obviously be more levels to play-through upon the release of Holmgang: Memories of the Forgotten, so stay tuned. The levels vary from environments to help with the ambiance of the game and provide many challenges as the map can be quite the puzzle to figure out but not impossible to complete. You will travel from land and sea environments to progress the story and will come in contact with many enemies which we’ll discuss in a bit.
The combat is very nice and does feel like the aforementioned titles Holmgang resembles as it is a hack n’ slash game using a PS4 or XB1 controller—sorry, no keyboard and mouse option. To describe the combat mechanics, there are single-action buttons and then you have consecutive combos to perform as you repeatedly press on an action button. Each action button performs a different type of attack which are piercing attacks with the spear—Valentia’s weapon to start—and the other attack is a swing attack to cover more area. You can also press and hold an action button to perform a high attack which there will be chances that you can perform critical hits as well. When you do perform a critical hit, the health of the enemy depletes tremendously after the second strike from your attack.
The right trigger will perform a dagger throw for attacking in the distance, which becomes really helpful when trying to kill one of the enemies moving around and/or teleporting… There is a defense button to block that is also a counter/parry, and when you activate a counter/parry, the game will enter in a slow-mo experience so you can plan ahead and choose your targets carefully as this is also a chance to regain the upper hand. You also have a dodge button to help you evade any enemy when they decide to attack/charge at you. There is also a lock-on button to focus on a specific enemy/boss while ignoring the rest. The character movement is rather hit or miss when fighting an enemy sometimes. This is because the AIs defensive coding has them perfectly dodging your attacks which is annoying at times. Because of this, it is kind of hard to stay focused on an enemy without the lock-on feature and you will be dancing the whole time.
If you defeat an enemy with combos, you will be able to activate a finisher on the enemy for added depth and experience of the kill. We imagine later on you can enhance these specific moves. You also have a Sidekick(s) you can activate to help you in combat by pressing the left trigger which will bring up the sidekick menu and then using the buttons activated (XB1: A, X, Y/PS4: X, ◻, △), you can summon your sidekick.
There are objects while traversing the map which you can destroy for a chance to get items to help you on your journey. All you need to do is hover over or near the items and they come right to you. These can include items such as health/extra life, currency, boosters/powerups, and other consumables. The D-pad on the controller changes your items/consumables for use and the right top bumper button uses your consumables.
When you come up to ledges or cliffs, you have a button to press which allows you to jump across. There is no standalone button for jumping and this adds extra enjoyment as part of the puzzle concept Holmgang brings. This same button also allows you to grab and push large objects to areas for puzzle completions. Walking around will have you figuring out which way to progress like a maze. In some cases, the paths or walkways are at different heights to prevent further progression so you have to make sure to plan ahead so you don’t end up in the same area again and again.
When you die, you die and have to start back at the beginning…as this is a souls-like game—at least in the pre-alpha demo from our experience. You will have to gather all of the items you collected as if you never found them to begin with. The type of enemies you will come across are creatures who were once underwater people living peacefully until the darkness took over. They range from Shadow Husks (low-level creatures), Wargon’s (mid-level creatures), Elite Wargon’s (high-level creatures), to Dark Cabal (long-range sorcerers of some sort). There are many other enemies you will come across that we guarantee will challenge you in a good way. Not only that, the enemy range from aggressive attackers, reviving Shadow Husks continuously, dodging or evading and then striking at the right moment, and just plain OP strength.
Overall, and considering the pre-alpha demo is only about an hour or less—I guess it depends on your fighting skill right off the bat, we enjoyed Holmgang and actually want to play the full version when it releases. Holmgang plays smoothly and the combat mechanics with an RPG element are enjoyable and engaging. The art is also very nice and the enemies are challenging that we are curious as to how challenging they can be.
The story is also something we really want to experience as it looks to have a blend of traditional, supernatural, and mythical themes to it—at least from the images we have seen. The sound effects and music are wonderful and provide immersion for the gameplay as your journey progresses and defeating the darkest which covered the land of Dracorum. We can definitely recommend Holmgang to you all when it arrives on Steam next year 2021, and to make sure you are in the know, check out their Steam page here.
We hope you all enjoyed reading this pre-alpha review of Holmgang: Memories of the Forgotten. Make sure to also check out their Kickstarter page and show them some support. If you have any questions about Holmgang: Memories of the Forgotten, make sure to leave a comment below. We’ll see you all next time!