This game was reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro. The game is also available on PC as well as PlayStation Vita.
Alteric is an indie game at its most basic form. From its artwork the basic fundamentals of the game, it screams independent development. Now with that being said, there is nothing wrong with that. Far too many game developers these days, especially indie ones try to overdo what their budget will allow leaving an undesirable experience with the game. That is not the case with Alteric. They have taken just the bare minimums of development and made something actually quite enjoyable.
With Alteric, as I’ve said previous, the game is quite simplistic in design and overall. The game itself presents absolutely no story whatsoever. That isn’t what this game is about. This game is a platformer in its truest form and utilizes mechanics to make the game unique from simply just pressing a button to jump. You play as a square, yes you read that right a square block.
Throughout the different levels the difficulty is raised tremendously. You will have to navigate your way through the levels using the jump mechanic but that same time switching between “worlds” (as the game describes it) or as I like to refer to it as swapping from light to dark to uncover different platforms to land on and obstacles to avoid. Pressing square (pun might be intended here, not sure) on the controller will switch your screen from a lighter color to a darker color or worlds in which you will see obstacles from the light disappear and platforms not seen before appear. This will allow you to maneuver your way through some narrow spaces and near misses to get to the end of each level.
The insane level of difficulty comes with knowing just when to press the button to swap worlds and when to jump without being able to effectively see the platform you are going to be landing on when you do swap. This will lead to several attempts to get the timing “just right” or you settling for the day saying “enough is enough”. I found myself in the latter category more often than I care to admit. It just doesn’t seem the developers took the time to make this game difficult (as by their own admission, that is what they were going for), but instead added this “swap” which makes the difficulty seem cheap or artificial. I feel they could have done more with even the basic controls they used to increase the difficulty without the added feature of swapping while jumping to a platform or over a designed death obstacle without being able to see where you were going or intending to land.
The sounds in the game give you the feel of an electronica vibe. They offer some quality to the overall experience while playing through the levels but die enough times and you will soon want to turn the sound off.
When I booted the game up and seen the basic design of the levels I was intrigued. I immediately thought of a game I once played called “Thomas Was Alone”. Ironically enough, after I checked the Steam store, I seen that the developers were going for that in mind. Saying “We tried to develop a game in such a way that the player realized: here, Thomas meets with Dark Souls”. Yes, I too was put off by that last part as I’m tired of everyone comparing difficulty sliders with Dark Souls. It’s become a meme at this point. Which ultimately is why I think that this game fails on what it set out to do. I feel that when you go in to development with “dark souls” in mind then you had better deliver on your intentions rather than artificially creating a game that is difficult. Dark Souls is known for its overwhelming difficulty but I feel they do cheapen the experience with unneeded artificial difficulty. Alteric sadly does.