2 out of 5. A very impressive game for something that was made in 18 days, for which the developer should be congratulated. Competing with other available options though, it's harder to recommend.
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How Metroidvania is it? High Fit. It’s almost too short to establish itself as a Metroidvania, but all the features are there.
Primary Challenge: Ranged Combat
Time to beat: ~1 hours
Review Info: The Steam review code for Apoapsis was provided by the developer

More Info

Developer: Construct Core Works
Publisher: Construct Core Works
Sub-genre: Metroid-Like
Features: 2D Platformer, Ranged Combat, Sexual Content/Suggestive Themes
Difficulty: Low
Linearity/Openness: Open Low Gating - No Handholding
Platforms: Windows, Steam
Release Date: 2019/01/23
Available Languages: English

Store Links

    Steam    

Buy Apoapsis if you like…

  • Mini-Metroidvanias
  • Passion Projects
  • Experimental Games
  • Neon Pink
  • Suggestive Character Art

▼ Review continues below ▼

This review was done after playing the February 26, 2019 build of the game.

Apoapsis is a difficult game to rate. If I were using a different standard, such as “Most impressive game made in 18 days” I’d probably be a lot more favorable in my judgment; for what it is, Apoapsis is very impressive. Looking at it as a Mini-Metroidvania with a $5 price tag though, it’s still a fun game – in fact it barely has time to become boring. It’s still kind of a broken game however, and that’s a much harder sell to me.

At the start, you’re immediately thrown into the action on a quest to find out where you’re supposed to go. You’re given two types of laser – a short ranged burst and a long range attack that can only be fired on the ground. As far as I can tell they both deal the same amount of damage, so really the only thing stopping you from using the long ranged attack is the ground restriction and the energy bar. Every attack takes up energy, preventing you from spamming attacks. It’s a good system, and if the enemies were more complex the combat system in Apoapsis could be developed to be very dynamic. You can also use this energy to fly for a brief amount of time, and if you find more energy elements within the game’s world, you can get some great height out of it.

Once you find power ups that let you progress further in the game, it’s a little difficult to find out where to apply them since the game does not provide any map system. Also, because the game has only one tileset everything looks pretty samey. While the game is advertised as a 15 minute game, I spent a good 20 minutes wandering in circles going into it blind.

Eventually I found my way to each of the game’s bosses, and two of the three were pretty easily cheesed by the ranged attack. This is especially disappointing for the game’s final boss, but then maybe it’s for the better that it was too easy. The loop of death and trying again which is usually a normal part of challenging gameplay is somewhat stunted by how the game shut down to my desktop every time it had to load – making it more frustrating than it probably would be otherwise.

In the current build, loading transitions in general are handled with little grace. Even if technical issues weren’t forcing the image to fail each time, there was no clear indication that I would be transitioning to another area – you just sort of teleport where the game wants you to be next. It can be somewhat confusing in the endgame.

Even with the technical issues and lack of meaningful content though, Apoapsis is still a fun little game. I can’t really judge the amount of effort that went into it because the developer clearly discloses that it wasn’t given enough time to make it anything more than it is on both its store page and in the opening loading screens of the game. The fact that the level design and bosses are as good as they are is a testament that the developer clearly has talent. I would just feel bad putting this game up with more polished and complete experiences, and it’s difficult to recommend at a $5 price point (Or even with the game’s launch discount.)


Final Score

2/5

Scoring system overview


Metroidvania Breakdown

Combat
– 2.5

The final boss is a bit of a drag, but other bosses are at least decent

Platforming
– 2.5

Jetpack is a little awkward once the double jump is added, but it is fun to fly once you get energy upgrades

Exploration
– 2

Exploration is rewarded by seemingly arbitrary hidden wall items. Somewhat easy to get lost without a map

Puzzle
– 2

No puzzles to speak of

Story
– 2

There is none. Not a bad thing since it does not detract from the gameplay

Graphics
– 4

Graphics are quite pleasant for something made in 18 days

Music
– 3

Appropriate yet forgettable

Replayability
– 2

You COULD play it again to find secrets you missed, but not much else to provide variety


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