Downward

by Aethyna
Jun 10, 2017 | 1 Votes | 0 Played | 0 Reviews Your vote
Downward 10 rate Use various parkour techniques as well as the anomalies that had appeared across the post-apocalyptic world to traverse tricky puzzle-like locations and to escape from dark enemies who has awaken to claim the world as their own in this amazing first-person open world parkour adventure, Downward! Play Now Similar Games Played Post a Review

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Summary Plotline Gameplay Community Graphics/ Sound Conclusion Note: Downward is currently in Early Access on Steam, and thus, it is expected that the game will undergo some changes prior to its release. This review will be updated once the game is launched.

Summary


In this first-person open world parkour adventure Downward, the end of the world has come and gone, tipping the Earth’s equilibrium and leaving in its wake the ruins of civilizations. Being among the handful of humans left, you set off on a treacherous journey to seek out and collect mysterious artifacts that may finally explain why things are now the way they are. Use various parkour techniques as well as the anomalies that had appeared across the post-apocalyptic world to traverse tricky puzzle-like locations and to escape from creatures that have awaken to claim the world as their own.

Plotline


The story behind the end of the world is there for you to discover in Downward. All that’s known is that you are among the handful of human beings left on Earth and it’s imperative for you to find out why the apocalypse has descended on mankind and why post-apocalyptic civilizations never last by collecting mysterious artifacts – you... the human race... deserves the closure. However, as you venture out into the now somewhat alien-looking world, dark beings are waking up from their slumber and will do whatever they can to stop you.

Gameplay


To start playing Downward, you’ll first need to choose either to play the game’s adventure or the shorter, parkour-based Challenges, including wall jumps, wall runs, gliding, slingshots, dashing, double jumps and even a mixture of some or all of the above.

As you may have guessed, being a parkour-based game, Downward is very action oriented. Thus, the control system used in this game is simply well-suited for the task. You’ll be using the usual WASD keys to move, spacebar to jump and to climb (where possible), C to crouch and E to collect items. Despite having easy to learn controls and a disembodied voice guiding you, the game is not exactly a piece of cake. Instead, there are a lot of challenging parts in the game where timing is the thin line separating a successful jump from a certain plunge to your death. This, along with smooth character movements, makes the game absolutely exhilarating to play.

Not to mention, there are these special anomalies in Downward that had arisen from the massive apocalyptic event that had shattered the Earth’s equilibrium. Anomalies have different functions depending on the crystal you have equipped. For instance, some allow you to jump impossibly high, and yes, you can switch between them whenever you find a crystal switching station. There are also orbs that when interacted with, will send you into a bluish alternate dimension of sorts while still being on the same world.

In some way, I’d say Downward is a “collect ‘em all”-type game as well. There are just so many things for you to collect... as long as you can find them that is. There are the iridescent artifacts that you’ll actually need to find and collect just so you can unlock new sections of the game world. There are also Skypieces which are crucial for your character’s advancement, mainly because you’ll need to gather enough of them to “purchase” character upgrades at designated Statues scattered across the world.

You’ll get to invest your Skypieces in the stats you want, be it Endurance, Insight, Pursuance, Wisdom or Meditation. Some upgrades will unlock new game features such as Fast Travel that will allow you to move effortlessly between locations. Sometimes, you may stumble upon or spot a relic of past civilization that you can then keep for your collection. Once you met the Old Man, you can even exchange these relics for valuable Skypieces. After all, you can never have too many Skypieces since you not only can spend them to customize the Old Man’s place, but every death you experience will cost also you Skypieces to respawn.

Surprisingly, for an adventure game, there are quite a lot of ways for you to die aside from falling to your death. You might die by the rock-hard fists of a reanimated golem, accidentally triggered one of those floating, steampunk-like eye-bots to explode, get lasered by a totem, or even be pricked to death by a cluster of cacti if you’re not careful. Thankfully, the game has several safe points in the form of bells that you can use to save your progress. The bells can also double as Fast Travel points once you have that skill unlocked.

Interestingly, there’s also a unique teleporting skill that you can use in Downward – it is called The Mark. How does it work, you wonder? Well, it’s ingenious really. You simply set the Mark down on a safe location, usually prior to parkouring your way through a particularly difficult part of the game, and then you can be recalled back to that exact point at any time you want by pressing the “F” key. This also means that you can hop off a cliff and be warzped back to your Mark right before you go splat on the ground.

However, you should bear in mind that the Mark is not a skill that can turn back time. It is simply a teleporting ability. So, this means that if you happen to get injured, your injury will still be there after your character is recalled back to the Mark. If this is the case, it’s best to seek out a fountain as soon as you can. Each gulp of the magical fountain water will restore both your stamina and health.

The Mark is incredibly useful skill for you to avoid certain deaths and thus, help you save on the Skypieces you’ve got. That said, unless you invest your Skypieces in Wisdom, you’ll only have 2 charges to use the Mark, so you should only use it when you really need to.

From time to time, you may encounter an obelisk-like item that will apparently allow you to meditate at. This simply means that you can enter the game’s “safe world” – a special Astral Plane where you can practice your parkour skills without the fear of dying and wasting Skypieces. This is the exact same world you’ve completed your early tutorial in.

In addition to the exciting and heart-pounding gameplay, the world in Downward is very well-designed too. With so many places to jump from, wall run to or climb up, the game environment often feel like a theme park, and even though most of the time you may feel like the game’s rather linear, the game’s actually not. For certain areas, you might spot shortcuts and alternative routes, and if you aim to collect all the Skypieces, you might need to go through both!

Downward also feels a bit like a treasure hunt at times because if you have sharp eyes, you might spot secret niches on the map that usually contain an extra Skypiece for you. You’ll be quite surprised how satisfying it is if you happen upon a secret hidey-hole in this game.

Community


Downward has gained certain fame within the indie gaming community and it is slowly gaining some through renowned international media. It’s expected that the game’s community will gradually increase as the game moves towards its official launch date.

Graphics/ Sound


The first things you’ll notice about Downward even before you’ve started playing the game is the breathtaking graphics. The bright colors and sun glare made the scenery looks absolutely epic. However, if you couple that with the blurring of the more distant objects in a scene, it gives the viewer a feeling that the world’s quite surreal... and that’s not including the obviously “wrong” stuff like the floating blocks or the two moons in the sky.

In other words, I’d say the graphic design in Downward looks rather similar to the miniature models/art used in Lumino City, another indie game that has earned quite the praise from gamers worldwide. Having written that, the animations, especially the character movements, are well-executed too. It does give the game a sort of “Assassin’s Creed feel”.

Downward also has amazing sound. I love the haunting music that the game uses and the voice over for the character you play is just spot-on. Overall, the game did everything right when it comes to the visuals and the sound.

Conclusion


To sum up, Downward is an incredible feat of a game, especially for an indie team of 3 people. The game is not only both challenging and entertaining; it provides players with inventive new game mechanics to play with; mechanics that gave the game a depth never seen before in first-person parkour game. Of course, aside from the brilliant graphics and sound, there’s also the insatiable urge to collect everything there is to collect in this game as well as mini parkour challenges which offer players hours of replayability. So, if this sounds like a game you’d enjoy, you’ll be happy to know that you can buy Downward (early access) now on Steam for a mere $9.99 or you can try the demo for free. Check the game out today!

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