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PAX East 2019: Anew

The world, destroyed. Twenty years later, you wake up on an alien planet with your co-pilot missing. You need answers, and the only way you’re gonna get them is some good-old fashioned 2D metroidvania. I can’t completely comment on the level design, because in order to create the demo they had to funnel players through a specific path, but the demo gave me a look at some creative and visually appealing environments from the ship, an underground cave, a lake, and a desert. I’m sure that it’ll be even more rewarding when I get to find and explore the levels myself.

What I can comment on is the action. Your player character moves pretty damn slow. The best way of movement I found is to chain together ground slides, which completely ignores whatever slope your character is on and you can start a new slide as soon as the last one ends by tapping the button, so it lets you move much faster than walking. On top of sliding, you can also double jump, use a jetpack, and wall climb. The jetpack physics feel a little wonky, and there’s definitely a trick to getting it to move faster than normal, but I’ll never complain about a jetpack and it’s fun to use to fly over enemies.

The demo gave me two guns to play with, a repeater and a shotgun, with the promise of more in the full game. Switching between them is easy enough, and makes up for their situational natures. You also get a shield, so combat gives you a lot of options on how to battle your enemy, letting you jump over them, face them head on, and block their attacks. The developers were very proud of their vehicles, and with good reason, the rover was pretty fun to use and I also got to stomp around in a giant mech thing. The mech is one of the slowest things in the world, but it shoots a giant laser canon, so I’ll forgive it.

Anew is planned to launch first on PC, and then on Switch, PS4, and Xbox One in early 2020.

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