We played the early access of Anima Flux, and we need to talk: genetically enhanced characters, elite troops, a dystopian dying world, a dictatorial regime and of course an infinite and terrifying swarms of mutants.
Let’s start from the beginning, Anima Flux is a couch co-op metroidvania in which the player takes control of two elite soldiers: A swordsman and a deadly archer belonging to a secret military organization, have to break through destroyed cities and kill hordes of mutants.
In this article I’ll tell you about the story, the setting, gameplay, game design and my impressions about what I played.
The Last Human Stronghold – The Story:
Humanity is almost extinct and lives in a space ark, its last stronghold. The last standing human city is constantly under attack by swarms of mutant creatures and here the NOX soldiers intervene.
An elite troop of genetically enhanced soldiers, sent by a totalitarian theocratic regime to rescue the city, save any survivors and eliminate the mutant threat. These soldiers are strong, fearless and can even trick death: thanks to a modern implant technology where they can transfer their anima.
80s and 90s Sci-Fi Setting and Inspirations:
Take a space Ark, a mutant invasion and two superhuman heroes, season everything with some hand drawn cyberpunk settings and we’ll have the recipe for a perfect 80s – 90s Sci-Fi inspired metroidvania.
The first thing that caught my eye was the artistic concept of the regular soldiers and the mutants, and a voice in my head shouted out loud: Starship Troopers!
In my opinion there are many aesthetic references to the 1997 movie directed by Paul Verhoeven that talks about a military army under the Earth World Government. As humanity explored and colonized outer space, they came into conflict with an alien species known as the Arachnids, leading to an interstellar war.
Another reference could be the Warhammer 40k saga, especially about Imperial Guards and Tyranids. These last are insectoid and famelic beasts that furrow the space with their arks with the intent of devouring everything.
Talking about the main characters, it is easy to find references to NieR:Automata, directed by Yoko Taro and developed by Platinumgames, where we play two characters at the same time: 2B and 9S, sent by humankind to an uninhabited planet Earth to fight biomachines.
Another one reminds me of Masamune Shirow’s masterpiece Ghost in the Shell. Especially when we talk about anima and genetically enhanced soldiers.
Gameplay and Game Design, Finally:
I love Sci-Fi, speculate about it and find references to it in the video game medium. But now I will speak about gameplay and its mechanics as far as I saw in the game.
One of the most interesting features is the couch co-op: One is good at close combat and the other one can take care of distant or flying enemies with her bow.
You can play in locale with a friend and each will control one character and will use their peculiar abilities and strategies to overcome dangerous situations. For example they have to collaborate to solve simple ambiental puzzles.
You can even play in solo mode: you control one character at a time and the other one will follow you controlled by A.I. You can switch between them anytime you want, and give simple orders to your A.I. buddy like follow or stay.
The game is basically a 2d metroidvania:
In the beginning we are in a tutorial phase that introduces us to the main mechanics, ending with a tutorial boss fight that will give us the first special power and lead us to the central hub of the game.
From this hub we have many ways to choose, and many NPCs and vendors. Obviously at this moment there are few of them but what I saw impressed me in a very positive way.
The full explorable zone has a good design: shortcuts, smart vertical development and good design. After the boss fight we achieve another super ability that allows us to go a little further in the exploration.
Anima Flux impressed me with its design, gameplay and artistic concept. The game has a solid foundation and I can’t wait to play the real demo. The developers are now working to polish the game and add more content like new locations, NPCs and dialogues. Moreover Dmitry Komarov, the community manager of Anima Flux team, is available for any question about the game in the Discord channel linked below.
Anima Flux Discord Channel