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Elderand is a gorgeous-looking indie game by Mantra and Sinergia Games.
Published by Graffiti Games, this old-school Metroidvania leans heavily on the Castlevania side of the genre, and it will challenge its players in many ways.
So how does Elderand play on the Nintendo Switch? Is this an indie title to draw us back into the classic ways of beloved Castlevania games, or does this one fail to save the genre? Find out in our Elderand Switch review!
Bashing our way through Elderand
In Elderand, you play as an avatar of your choice. The customization options are limited, but it is nice to have a playable character more akin to your liking than just a generic one. The story is a rather simple one, but it is captivating nonetheless.
There is a Lovecraftian element to Elderand, as we see our hero take on a slew of monsters to save the people and the land from such horror. You pursue glory and treasures as you vanquish the enemy threat and move along the journey. It is a dark and painful path, but it does have its rewards.
Honestly, Elderand is perfectly paced for a title in the genre. The story is fed at the beginning, slowly throughout, and builds nicely to a strong crescendo at the end.
There are notes to be found throughout that expand upon things, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading them, as they give so much more context to what is happening in the world around you.
Gameplay and the extensive combat
Elderand is an expansive Metroidvania title that borrows heavily from the Castlevania side of things. You will have magic and a variety of weapons at your disposal to relinquish the large amount of enemies throughout as you save people, collect money, and find rare items.
The game uses a level system that allows you to apply points to vitality, strength, dexterity, and wisdom.
Certain equipable items can also increase these points, but this customizable system allows you to create a character that matches your play style. Like Castlevania titles, finding and equipping new weapons and armor is part of the shtick.
The combat itself is pretty standard for the genre. You receive experience points for each kill, and stronger enemies reward a lot more experience.
Going into battles ill-equipped or at too low of a level will result in a quick death that will return you to your previous save point. On that note, hard saves are manual, so do not forget to do that in order to save your progression.
The bosses in Elderand are where things turn up tremendously. These larger-than-life enemies provide a wonderful challenge that is both fair and difficult, and each unique area of the map boasts its own boss or two that will take you to your limit.
Knowing what items to use is vital, and learning their movements and making good use of dodging, magic, and your secondary weapons is key at times.
The art and sound of Elderand
One thing that players will notice immediately is how beautiful the pixelated graphics are.
This is a throwback in more than just the gameplay. Although Elderand packs a lot of punch into its indie game, it also pays homage to its genre and influences wonderfully throughout, and that especially means the art style. Absolutely stunning.
Unfortunately, there are some performance issues at certain points, which cause some slowdown among other things, but thankfully it is not crippling or game-breaking.
The music, though, is equally top-tier, as each area is complimented perfectly by the outstanding soundtrack. Not only that, but the sound effects are crunchy, giving you extra satisfaction in the kills while also reminding you upon your own death just how squishy you are. This is some excellent sound design across the board.
Verdict on Elderand
Elderand on Nintendo Switch is an excellent indie game Metroidvania with a lot to offer for its price.
The inclusion of dozens and dozens of unique weapons allows for continued gameplay from different playstyle directions. In addition to that, 100%ing the map will take many hours to complete, making Elderand a fantastic bang for your buck title.
It may take a little while to adjust to the gameplay and difficulty, but once you get into the flow of it all, Elderand is one of the best Metroidvanias to release since Hollow Knight. Get ready for fantastic action, a solid story, epic boss fights, and so much more.
Games like Elderand
In case you are looking for more amazing indie game Metroidvanias on the Nintendo Switch, I have your back. These are three games to keep you busy:
As previously mentioned, Hollow Knight is one of the best Metroidvanias to release in the past 20 years. This excellent indie title follows The Knight as they venture into various biomes of an ancient civilization. Similar to Elderand, this is a fair but challenging game with awesome boss fights. A sequel is even planned for this year.
Axiom Verge is one of my favorite indie games ever. The sequel is a bit disappointing, but the original is brilliant storytelling laced with some of the best combat in indie game history. There is so much to love about this game that it is difficult for me convince you within this small paragraph. Just play it. It’s fantastic!
Guacamelee and its sequel are phenomenal titles that follow Juan as he punches, kicks, and suplexes enemies in this luchador-inspired tale of a man that can travel between the land of the living and the land of the dead. The puzzles are great, the platforming is super-fun, and the combat is delicious.