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Valfaris preview

We check out the heavy metal space saga from Steel Mantis.

Valfaris
© Steel Mantis / Digital Uppercut

Valfaris is a new brutal side-scroller from Steel Mantis (Slain: Back From Hell). Set in a heavy metal universe–the paths are paved endlessly with blood, the walls ripe with urban decay and the enemies ready and frothing at the mouth to get a taste of you. Once of a fortress of an impenetrable paradise, something had threatened Valfaris at it’s very core. Now, it’s time to return as a proud son of Valfaris and get down to the brass tacks of figuring out what, and how to take care of things.

It’s beautiful in every way–the animations, the set up of the plot (for the demo, there wasn’t much to go off, but what you do have speaks for itself!). The environments are colourful and very threatening, using every trick in the pixel playbook to really bring an experience to the screen and immerse you. The character design is incredible–with every grunt and lunge so fluid and mean. Action, the house that Valfaris built, is very much a gripping ride…giving you little time to think about anything other than the next enemy to gib.

Watch the Valfaris announcement trailer below:

I highly suspect Valfaris will be a game that only serious vets with sharped skills can make it through. The enemies seem to spawn endlessly, which is both good and bad. This mechanic plays in a way that the game forces you to advance. Exploration isn’t a priority so much as plowing your way through everything is. As the main character Therion, your attitude is flippant and the bravado is strong, working to pump you up with his non-concerned ways about what lies ahead. It’s a brilliant match up to the atmosphere, music and violence.

Speaking of the music, Valfaris will have your blood pumping with metal tracks as you rip your way through the bodies courtesy of former Celtic Frost guitarist, Curt Victor Bryant. It’s hard not to be completely taken over by the soundtrack, even if metal isn’t what naturally pumps through your veins. Therion even headbangs triumphantly after receiving upgrades in the wild. It’s infectious.

View some Valfaris screenshots in our gallery:

The gameplay is high octane and can be quite difficult to master at times. Luckily, checkpoints line the way with a frequency likened to Shovel Knight–every few screens or so. You can choose to activate said checkpoints with a token, or leave them be if you’re confident enough. It’s a neat way to manage the save system, giving it a bit of a mean edge.

I very much look forward to the full release of this one, and if you’re a modern retro gaming fan with nerves of steel, this is the perfect recipe for you. Besides the whole of the game just being plain cool, it plays like butter and looks downright amazing. Be sure to check out the demo on Steam while it’s still out on it’s limited run–available through December 31st!

EF Games hopes to bring you a full review of Valfaris in 2019. Check out the official Valfaris website for more information on the game.

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