Anew: The Distant Light: First Impressions

Following on from my Q&A with Steve Copeland and Jeff Spoonhower of Resonator Games, I was recently invited to tried out a demo for their upcoming Metroidvania game Anew: The Distant Light. After my interview with the two veteran developers, who throughout their careers that worked on such games Uncharted: Golden Abyss, BioShock 2 and Borderlands 2, their Kickstarter goal was funded, and following on from numerous development updates on their social media platforms, the game even made an appearance at last year’s E3 conference in California. A much-anticipated game, I was eager to see what Resonator had been working on, and what I could expect to see from the final product. I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed. After playing the demo of this game, I have high hopes of this game being one of the greatest Metroidvania titles off all time; a potential must-have for any fan of the genre, and even any gamer.


In terms of conceptual design, the early build of the game was just as amazing to look at as it was to play. The demo takes place on an alien planet inhabited by numerous and dangerous creatures, and the player is seemingly free to explore on land, in dark caves, and even deep underwater, with more locations to be revealed with the final build, as the developers have promised to immerse players in a vast open world. Though influenced by the Metroid series, elements of which many veteran fans of the series will be able to point out quite easily, the game’s environmental design, in particular, is extremely distinctive from anything I’ve ever seen sci-fi. It makes me wonder how much diversity there may be in level design given the demo only features one stage within the game.


The game follows many of the tropes made synonymous with the Metroidvania series, including combat, item collecting and the discovery of new abilities needed to gain access to new areas overtime. Aside from that, it also has vehicular mechanics with players being able to ride cars, spaceships, and even giant robots in order to get around. Though only having there around 20 or 30 minutes of gameplay to show off, I felt extremely satisfied to play this game even for that small amount of time, which again, makes me excited for how much the final product will have to offer. But aside from that, I also found it intensely challenging at times too, which likens it to many other great Metroidvania titles such as Dust: An Elysian Tail or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. In particular, I’m looking forward to how the weapons arsenal will be expanded upon from the demo, as in this build, only two weapons are available.


Anew: The Distant Light has a control scheme extremely reminiscent of that of The Swapper, minus the puzzle mechanics. But regardless of that, this game is shaping up to be a lot more satisfying to play than the latter; even though the control scheme at this point seems to be more evolutionary than revolutionary. But for how innovative The Swapper’s puzzle mechanics were, the entire experience of that game fell disappointingly flat, which Anew: The Distant Light doesn’t seem set to do at all; indeed, one of my first thoughts playing this demo was that this is everything The Swapper should have been.


As per mentioned, Resonator Games is boasting a vast open world with Anew: The Distant Light, which of course, provides great scope for hours upon hours of gameplay. I’ve always personally preferred a longer lasting game, and the longer this game can be made to last, the better. Many Metroidvania games can be made to last an extraordinarily long time and having experienced this game for myself, I can’t understand why this title would be no different to games likes of Symphony of the Night or Dust.


The basic premise of Anew: The Distant Light follows a young child on a quest to both save Earth and uncover what happened to his co-pilot in the process. But with the scope for intergalactic travel and hidden items and further mysteries to uncover, my brief descrip[tion of the story may not do the game’s story justice. If the story has taken influence from many Metroidvania classics gone by, again, there’s no reason why the game couldn’t excel in this aspect either. Though The Swapper frustratingly sacrificed gameplay for story-telling for the most part, Anew seems to be set to address that issue if the story-telling is compelling enough. There were even instances in the demo which portrayed build-ups of tension, adding substance to the story early on.


Aside from showing an unprecedented level of uniqueness in conceptual design, and potentially in it’s approach to story-telling, where this game really looks set to stand out is in the respect of gameplay. In particular, the vehicular mechanics made the demo an extremely intense experience, which I’m looking forward to indulging in on a grander scale with the final release of the game. With the introduction of new mechanics and new worlds to explore, there’s no reason to suggest why this game couldn’t stand out even more than what it already seems to do.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed playing the demo of Anew: The Distant Light, and I’m looking forward to playing the final now far more than I was when I first laid eyes on the game when it first appeared on Kickstarter. I have extremely high hopes for this game, and I have every confidence that it will not fail to deliver on what the developers have promised. If you guys would like to learn more about the game, you can follow Resonator Games via the links below:

I hope you are looking forward to this awesome-looking Metroidvania as much as I am.

Game on,

Scouse Gamer 88

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