Steel Mantis and Digital Uppercut Productions let loose nearly 30 minutes of gameplay footage for the upcoming, heavy metal side-scrolling action game, Valfaris. In short, the gameplay video depicts a kind of hardcore gameplay experience that could best be described as a heavy metal rendition of Mega Man if he were hocked up on testosterone and got his hands of guns from hell.
The community manager from Digerati and Digital Uppercut Productions decided to showcase nearly 30 minutes worth of gameplay. He starts by explaining that the main character makes a return home to the planet of Valfaris, only to find that things are no longer as rocking as they used to be.
Early on the main character, Therion, grabs the Hellwraith, a large rapid fire rifle.
Very briefly we get an overview of the controls. It’s explained that ‘X’ on the Xbox controller will fire your light weapon, while ‘B’ is for heavy weapons, and ‘Y’ controls your melee weapon.
You can check out the video below.
The game has a rock, paper, scissors style weapon setup where using heavy weapons drains your energy, and the only way to replenish it is to use the energy sword to kill enemies and retrieve energy orbs from enemies.
The story and atmosphere reminds me a lot of Black Thorne fused with Mutant Chronicles: Doom Troopers.
But obviously, the gameplay is a techno-metal take on Steel Mantis’ Slain, which was more of a medieval style hack-and-slash platformer.
I know the game is still a ways off from release – scheduled for a late 2018, early 2019 window – but there is one obvious criticism that I just can’t ignore: the sound effects.
While the music is turned off during the playthrough, there’s a strong focus on the sound effects… and they sound kind of weak.
The main issue is that the plasma pistol and Hellwraith don’t sound very impactful. They need more bass and boom so it feels like Therion is shooting the equivalent of what should sound like asteroids crashing into a planet.
When you see the visual effects and how cool the explosions and blood effects are, it just seems like the sound effects should be as badass as the visuals. Hopefully later on in development they add more of a kick to the gun effects at least. The shotgun, the Hellhamer, doesn’t sound bad, but even it could use just a little more thump when turning monsters into gib.
I guess coming off of DOOM 2016, there’s just a certain kind of expectancy in the synergy between audio and visuals to help bring the heavy metal action experience to life.
Beyond that, the visuals are remarkably well done. There’s a lot of character in the backgrounds and enemy designs. It reminds me of the old Heavy Metal comic books from way back in the day.
There’s also a lot of H.R. Gieger-style imagery sprinkled throughout the backdrops.
Later on in the demonstration the music finally gets turned up and we get some great musical atmosphere added to the bloody carnage thanks to the soundtrack put together by heavy metal artist, Curt Victor Bryant. Bryant also did the soundtrack to Slain, so if you’re into the hardcore metal tunes, you’ll get plenty of that in Valfaris.
All of that said, the gameplay in Valfaris looks marvelous. It reminds me of a throwback to the old edgy side-scrollers from the 1990s, back when gore, masculinity, and hardcore heavy metal were the norm in video games.
Essentially, this seems to be the kind of game designed for people who wanted more testosterone out of their Mega Man games and more sci-fi heavy metal out of their Castlevania titles.