Players love a playground.
When a game pops up seemingly out of nowhere to high praise, I get a little suspicious. Where did it come from? Why all the hype? But sometimes the answer is pretty simple, it’s just a really good game.
Supraland, the metroidvania puzzle game that released earlier this month, has landed squarely on the delicious combination of fun gameplay, a good game release window and beautiful visuals. It’s capitalised on a moment, and it’s done it very well.
In Supraland, you are a red-stick figure, one figure in a whole sea of similar red-stick figures, in a world constructed by a boy in the sky. From playing the demo, there does appear to be a narrative that strings together this sandbox world, but narrative takes a back seat to the real star of the show here, the exciting and inventive puzzles.
In this sandbox world, you are free to roam and discover puzzles at your own will. Through exploring your environment, you discover the puzzles you’re able to complete, and those that require a special ability to continue. More abilities can be unlcoked by spending coins you pick up on your travels, each making a Sonic-like ‘ding!’ as you collect them. Levels are cordoned off until you complete certain puzzles, but this splitting of the environment doesn’t feel restrictive – there is just too much to do and see, and all of it is just too much fun.
On it’s Steam page, Supraland is described as a cross between ‘Portal, Zelda and Metroid’, and while these comparisons somehow do hold up, I’m also reminded of childhood 3D platforms as I play. The kind of reckless, addictive fun that can be had in games like Banjo-Kazooie is replicated here, and that’s one of the many reasons for its quick success.
With heavy, more hard-core titles filling the gaming landscape (Sekiro and Red Dead Redemption spring immediately to mind), Supraland is the kind of stylish light relief that players are often looking for. When you actually begin the game, that feeling only gets better, as you quickly realise just how smart, well thought-out and inventive the puzzle system is.
The reviews are coming in with higher praise each day and with them are new gamers itching to play. Games as vibrant and smart don’t come along as often as you might think. But don’t just take my word for it. Supraland is currently available on Steam, and also has a free demo available if you want to give it a test drive. We can see why this gained hype so quickly, and considering it was mostly made by just one developer (David Münnich) it’s a pretty impressive feat.
Kate has been gaming since she could control a mouse. In addition to having a penchant for indie games, Kate had a World of Warcraft account when she was far too young, and has a weakness for any game with ‘RPG’ in the description.