Three of my favorite video games of all time are Portal 2, Metroid Prime, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. As someone who has played video games for almost two decades, those three titles provide an experience that I have never encountered with any other games. Every time I replay them I am still blown away by the world design of Ocarina, the ingenuity of Portal's puzzles, and the varied traversal oriented upgrades of Metroid. I never thought I would find another game that could provide those same feelings of wonder and excitement until I discovered Supraland.
Supraland manages to be similar to Portal, Metroid, and Legend of Zelda simultaneously in a way that I never thought possible. You take control of a toy-sized stick figure who is on a quest to discover why his tribe's water supply has dried up, and along the way you must solve challenging puzzles and collect new and impressive upgrades. Each of these upgrades can allow you perform new actions like double and triple jump or stomp on an enemy's head. There are also a wealth of different gadgets that can be acquired like a gun, a magnetic belt, or even a teleporting device. Every time a new upgrade or gadget is added to your inventory, the game seems to open up a little bit more, and by the end you feel nearly unstoppable in the amount of things Supraland allows.
Puzzle Design is Insanely Impressive
The puzzles of Supraland are absolutely incredible. As players earn new upgrades and abilities, they will be given brand new ways to solve environmental puzzles. When the game begins, your little red man can only jump, use a sword, and spawn a purple cube. That cube, though, is used for all manner of different things. For example, it can be used as a weight on a seesaw, as a platform to give you a boost to high locations, or even as a way to press big red buttons. Even in its early moments, Supraland's puzzles were a blast to solve.
As new gear and upgrades are uncovered, the puzzles will become even more complicated and players will be forced to combine all of their new abilities together. These puzzles are very reminiscent of Portal in a way, since most of the time players will be dropped into a new area with little indication of how to progress other than to use their own knowledge and creativity. The difference is that with so many tools at their disposal, players can get very clever and solve puzzles in ways that the developer may not have intended. There were so many times throughout Supraland that I would finish a puzzle in the most needlessly complicated fashion, only to realize when I was done that there was a much simpler method available. That freedom to experiment is one of the most beautiful things about Supraland.
Supraland Anticipates Your Every Action
Supraland does a really clever thing to stop you from being able to access areas that you aren't prepared for yet. It gates off these areas in a similar manner to the Metroid games, but it is much less obvious than a big blue door blocking your path. Instead this manifests in metal pipes that can only be traversed with the magnetic belt or jump pads that can only be activated with specific abilities. The way that these areas are organically blocked off is so well-done that many times I was shocked that there was a whole new place to explore that I completely missed on my first pass.
There are almost 200 different upgrades for players to track down over the course of the game, and by the time I collected a hundred or so, I began to feel like the game was going to start breaking or that I was so powerful I could begin cheating the system. I started going out of my way to try to reach areas that seemed to be places I wasn't supposed to go, but every single time there was a new upgrade or a pile of coins waiting for me. Somehow Supra Games seemed to anticipate every single one of my actions no matter how outlandish or unpredictable I thought I was being.
A Terrific Experience Despite Weak Combat
The only real downside to Supraland was its combat, but most of my issues with it were rectified by the time I picked up a few dozen upgrades for the gun and sword. The problem is that it takes forever to feel like weapons are dealing any damage against enemies, especially as the more difficult foes begin cropping up. Even once weapons do become stronger, combat is typically a pretty repetitive affair save for the only boss in Supraland, which is part fight and part puzzle. Luckily, combat is a very minor portion of the overall experience in Supraland, and the positives of every other portion of the game far outweigh the few negative combat mechanics.
I'm a big sucker for platforming, puzzle, and metroidvania games, so it is no surprise that I enjoyed Supraland. I never expected it to be one of the most interesting games I've played all year, though. I have clocked more than twenty hours into it, and I am still finding new chests tucked away in hidden corners or parts of the map I never explored. Every time I turn around there is something new to discover, and I can't make myself quit playing. Supraland is a game that I would highly recommend to gamers of all skill levels and genre preferences.
TechRaptor reviewed Supraland on the PlayStation 4, but it is also available on PC, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. A PS4 code was provided by developer Supra Games.
- Genius Puzzle Designs
- Secret Filled World
- So Many Upgrades
- Encourages Creativity and Freedom
- Lackluster Combat Mechanics