There are companies whose seal is perfectly recognizable, as is the case of Return Digital, which gives visibility to projects indies with great taste and a quite marked retro touch in most of his works. We must not forget the boom that was Hotline Miami, for example. Or already Minutes in absolute minimalism.
In 2020 he gave voice to one of the most media surprises (Fall Guys), but also led to madness with Carrion or to the extreme pit with Disc Room. And what awaits us in 2021? For now, this Olija from Skeleton Crew Studio that left us good vi bes in their first contact
A harpoon on which the story (and the action) revolves
As we anticipated last month, the story of Olija puts us in the shoes of Faraday, a castaway trapped in the mysterious country of Terraphage. We don’t know if the rest of our crew is still alive, but we have to try and find our way out of that region in the process. And for this we will have a … rare help.
And it is that it will not be a person, but rather a harpoon that will facilitate this task. Logically, it is not an ordinary harpoon, but a special one on which a curse seems to revolve. But that does not matter knowing that it allows us teleport to the exact place where it is caught after launching it, a mechanic that will revolve a large part of the game in puzzles and combats.
Through a extremely minimalist graphics, in the line of games like Crawl, we are presented with an adventure full of mystery that tells us the right thing with the voice of a narrator and what we are elucidating on the screen. Your world will open up little by little, like our base of operations, a port on an island that will grow just enough, without the innumerable possibilities of the Kingdom de Raw Fury. After all, that saga is more of strategy and simulation and in Olija, action is prioritized with exploration.
To access each island in the Terraphage region, we will need a series of maps to give to the ferryman and that allows us to travel between those areas comfortably in search of their secrets, prioritizing keys with which to continue progressing in their history. The process will always be the same, changing, yes, the locations, which in turn will have different dangers and puzzles to solve, seeing how the adventure is gaining in complexity beyond the harpoon.
Although this will always be our main weapon, there will be other secondary ones, having in the fourth and last one an interesting twist for the mechanics, both for combats and for certain puzzles. Without forgetting, in addition, another property to unlock with the harpoon and that will provoke a certain reaction …
Olija chooses you. Another issue is how far to go
It is a joy to see with what his universe is surprising us, where we will not stop exploring every nook and cranny in search of secrets thanks to how well implemented the use of the harpoon is. And there are specific points where it can be hooked, beyond enemies or objects such as boxes (which break, of course). Everything is twisted so that it is not so obvious and that is cool.
Initially, it will give the feeling that it does not have depth for fighting, but the truth is that in more advanced areas it will require better use of the harpoon, of the combos to be carried out (raising the enemy, falling with a blow, etc.) and above all to take advantage of the most devastating final blow, without neglecting secondary weapons.
Each island can be freely explored as long as we have previously obtained its navigation map, having different sections, usually with various tests and a boss. Here we will be given the option to continue exploring, in case we leave any of its innumerable secrets, or return home to increase the maximum life, unlock a hat with which to obtain other types of passive advantages (my favorite is that of steal life from the enemy) or talk to the locals, who some will offer us other very useful help.
It is the typical game that hooks you without realizing it, in which you decide when to stop. In addition, it is not that kind of impossible game, but it has a fairly successful progressive difficulty. The pity is that to this day some details remain uncorrected, such as a few objects that are not displayed correctly, running into an invisible character in the port or that in specific areas the protagonist gets stuck on a completely flat floor.
These last details that a patch should solve, of course, that do not detract, in any case, everything else. Although on a personal level, no matter how fan of pixelart I amYes, I have needed more care for animations, especially Faraday, who walks quite strangely. Or that it is minimalist in certain sections that do not look the same as in other sections.
Definitely, Olija is a recommended game for all those people who have been following the projects that Devolver Digital makes visible, being an adventure with a very interesting setting, surrounded by a very successful use of the harpoon. It won’t be the best of its kind, but that doesn’t mean it won’t do the job.
|Platforms||Nintendo Switch, PS4, Steam and Xbox One (analyzed version)|
|Developer||Skeleton Crew Studio|
|Launching||January 28, 2021|
- The use of the harpoon is a joy
- Your mapping is full of secrets
- Its setting is very striking …
- … although sometimes it is minimalist
- Your world could give much more game