The up-and-coming publisher Thunderful gave me the chance to check out two of their latest games at E3. Decay of Logos is an upcoming RPG set in a mysterious fantasy world. The other is Lonely Mountains: Downhill, a simple biking title tasking players with navigating their way down steep mountains. One left me surprised, while another left me disappointed and frustrated by its mechanics.
Decay of LogosI should preface by saying that Decay of Logos is a beautiful game. The Switch's hardware can only handle so much, but developers Amplify Creations managed to create an very atmospheric experience with this game. This is what initially drew me in to Decay of Logos to begin with. The monster designs and your elk companion are works of art and stood out to me the most during my demo.
It's unfortunate that Decay of Logos' greatest enemy is its mechanics. It seems like it wants to be a Dark Souls game, but combat is far too clunky and difficult to get far. Dark Souls' games are difficult but not insurmountable, and combat actually works. In Decay of Logos, my greatest enemy was trying to parry and dodge, only to end up getting killed by some monster in one or two hits.
When the weaker enemies kill you so fast in a game, I shudder at the thought of playing Decay of Logos later on. I attempted to parry as the game compelled me to, but the mechanic didn't seem to work. It very well could mean I'm bad at the game, but I was able to grasp parrying and dodging in FromSoftware's titles easily.
A bit later in the demo I encountered strange root-like enemies. I could kill them in a few hits if I got the upper hand, but if they had hit me a single time, I'd die. One could argue that you're just supposed to get out of the way, but when dodging is clunky, it's hard to do just that.
The world, exploration, and visuals are Decay of Logos' most intriguing aspects. If they can adjust the combat mechanics, I see this as a decent Souls-like. I'm not entirely sure if the aim is to emulate Dark Souls, but either way, the combat is detracting from the overall experience.
Lonely Mountains: DownhillAs you can probably expect at this point, it's Lonely Mountains: Downhill that took me by surprise. It's a simple game and is not likely to offer hours and hours of entertainment, but it was an enjoyable experience nonetheless.
Your goal is simple: get to the bottom of the mountain. The level design reminds me of a smaller SSX. The paths down the mountain had shortcuts and winding turns, as well as perilous cliffs that result in you crashing down below.
As far as controls go, it's a little tricky to get the handle of. You'll probably seem wobbly on the bike, but after a couple minutes of gameplay I was navigating the slopes like a pro. You can accelerate and brake you bike, too. When I accelerated I would always end up crashing hilariously into a rock, my body splattering against the face of the wall. Wipe-outs in Lonely Mountain are comical.
I eventually went faster and more efficiently down the hills, and that's when Lonely Mountains shines. If you're into speedrunning every title you can get your hands on, I think there's enough variety in Lonely Mountain's level design and a significant skillcap.
I only got to experience a single course in Lonely Mountain, and it was brief. I hope some of the courses are longer, but I can't deny I had fun wiping out and eventually making it to the bottom of that mountain.
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