The taste of Metroidvania with Korean style, but stiffer than the retro days
From the point of view of Korean gamers, the word Korea and tradition is a word with a strange attraction. Even if you don’t really like traditional things, is it because you can’t help but be curious about how the old things were put into the latest culture and culture, the game? Or it may be a memory of a forgotten old thing, it may be because of the thirst for a new style, or it may be because of various reasons that are difficult to explain in words.
Strictly speaking, it does not contain 100% of the traditional beauty as it is, but ‘Yeomna Reincarnation: Dongbaekjeon’ had a charm that drew people to it without thinking of complicated thoughts at first glance. The character created by mixing traditional colors with modern lines in a strange tone that feels like a folk painting neatly drawn on Korean paper has faded over time, and the field created by it is in the Metroidvania genre, which enjoys the thrill of exploration. It looked just right. However, due to the nature of the genre that needs to be nurtured deeply, it is also regrettable that things that have not been filtered out seem to spoil the taste as time goes on.
Game Name: Reincarnation of Yeomna: Dongbaekjeon (Yeomna)
Genre : Metroidvania, 2D action platformer
Release Date : 2022. 6. 24.
Review version : Sto.v.0.1 version
Developer : Catnip Studio
Service : Catnip Studio
Platform : PC
Play : PC
Related Links: Metacritic Pages
As the title suggests, ‘Yeomna Reincarnation: The Camellia Jeon’, this work deals with the story of the main character ‘Camellia’. Dongbaek is a half-yokai exorcist, and under the command of King Yeomra the Great, he investigates an incident where children suddenly start disappearing from the ‘Sealed Village’. The main story is that Dongbaek, who considers this to be the work of a ghost, explores all around the village of Seal, defeats the monsters, collects clues, and uncovers the whereabouts of the children and the full story of the incident.
Since it is a type of composition that is often referred to as a ‘cliché’, it may be a bit steamy if you just listen to the explanation. Nevertheless, the reason ‘cliché’ is used a lot is because it is easy to understand and easy to read without having to repeat the explanation. And looking back, folktales and tales are, in a way, the typical type of storage. The story of defeating monsters and monsters that kidnap or eat people is familiar and difficult to access not only in Korea but also in other parts of the world, so it is good to minimize unnecessary explanations and compress the gameplay.
In fact, Reincarnation Reincarnation: Dongbaekjeon does not explain every element of the story. Not surprisingly, the genre of ‘Metrovania’ itself is a genre in which the user directly scans the map to explore, and then solves the clues and stories collected by putting them together piece by piece. Sometimes detailed explanations are added, but it is rare to explain everything in detail so that you can know everything without having to look around the map.
As it contained Korean-style material, it may have been possible to add various explanations in the hopes of making the material known not only to us but also to other parts of the world. However, ‘The Reincarnation of Enlightenment’ did not commit the mistake of over-explaining and the main audience being overturned. Only what was needed was delivered, and the rest was designed so that the user could go around and savor the atmosphere, story, and play.
The reason why it was possible to compose it in such a simple way was probably because of the art that was beautifully drawn in the Korean style. The tone of the village of the seal where you first set foot on it is old, so it has the feel of a folk painting drawn on Korean paper that has a slightly yellowish color, and the subtle atmosphere is further emphasized by adding a fog effect. As with other 2D-based platform games, the stage was configured using a tile map, but depending on the region, roots, amulets, and icicles were placed in the right place to avoid the monotonous feeling of repeating the tile map. was one
Isn’t the great point of Metroidvania not only to look around such a scenery, but also to solve various gimmicks and riddles hidden in it and obtain items or skills that help you play? Because the basics were in place, the art of the Reincarnation Period shone even more. The level design was quite natural, with traps and gimmicks welcoming them as their play style changed each time they acquired skills one by one in the process, as well as looking for key items to break through the passage.
Using the setting of a camellia banyo, when transformed into a cat, it is not good at attacking, but it is also one of its own actions so that it does not take any damage. Moreover, there are passages that can only be entered when transformed into a cat, or puzzles that you must pass through without getting hit by changing into a cat.
However, this is a story when understanding of classic games is the basis. This is because Reincarnation is not a Metroidvania type that is being reinterpreted recently, but because it shows a classic game-style design that you have to search for since you can’t even use some basic functions at first. Evasion is not supported from the beginning and you have to learn it, but if you are unfamiliar with that kind of thing, most of the user community attacks also say that you have to learn evasion and the explanation of where to get that skill is first.
Metroidvania is a genre that has existed since the old days when games could not write a line in a few MB units, and it was a genre that avoided unnecessary explanations or descriptions because it had to pack a large amount of maps and objects in one place. All. Of course, as technology advances, reducing a few images and a few lines of text is not even considered an optimization, so it is difficult to imagine now. So, while there are many games that explain this and that in the beginning not to deviate, Yeomra Reincarnation has a classic design that users have to dig into without explanation, so if you are not familiar with this type of game, there is room for some disappointment.
The rather awkward motion is another factor that will look like an old-fashioned bridge. It’s not an excuse, but some indie games often have awkward animations because of poor animation, so let’s say we can take this into account. However, the reason that the motion of the reincarnation machine looks sloppy is that not only the motion but also the hitting judgment is awkward. A strange phenomenon often occurs when the sword is swung and the sword does not come out, but the enemy is hit within a range that it would not normally reach. Even some boss fights are very cumbersome to deal with if you don’t use these elements. If you get even a little closer, you’ll get a flat hit, because the invincibility test is quite short, so if you don’t take it out quickly, you’ll get hit two or three times and you may end up screaming to death.
I don’t know if only the motion and judgment were slightly twisted. However, the movement and jump controls are not very good. Often, when entering the platform slightly or passing the lower part, the motion as if floating in levitation and the motion of walking alternately appear, and sometimes it is impossible to move. Or, if you swing your sword on a platform like a dragon’s headdress and your feet go out even a little, unexpected things happen, such as suddenly going down.
In a platformer, Metroidvania, the basics are moving and jumping. Due to the nature of the genre, the proportion of jumping over obstacles and looking for clues and paths is high. The combat motion is a bit awkward. If you are busy avoiding and scratching, it may be a little late to figure it out because you are distracted, but moving and jumping are different. This is especially true if you can feel the strange feeling intermittently from the moment you enter the dungeon and the curved part comes out.
Also, when you think of Metroidvania, what comes to mind is the new skills and tools you get while exploring the map. The item build is also quite lacking in the Enmra Reincarnation. Previously, CEO Koji Igarashi, the father of the Demon Castle series and a master of the Metroidvania genre, summarized the core of Metroidvania as ‘volume’. Since there is a lot of repetitive movement, such as wandering around looking for keys and clues, and returning to the origin again, it is necessary to provide more ‘experiences’ to find new things by moving around rather than repetitive and meaningless movements.
Unfortunately, the map of Yeomra Reincarnation is not very large, so there are not many sections with repeated movements. However, there are inevitably a section where you have to manipulate the device and come back again, so you have to go around repeatedly and show something new every now and then, or provide a ‘reason’ to beat the enemies that respawn while you are doing it over and over again. However, with the exception of weapon enhancement and special transformation, the need to take risks to collect items is not felt much.
Of course, after some exploration has progressed, you will suddenly encounter an enemy with Miss floating around, so when that time comes, you may wonder if you should gradually strengthen your weapon. At that time, when purchasing items and calculating goods, when entering the dungeon, there is a bug that the quantity of goods is not counted in time and is reset, which is embarrassing. Except for reinforcement items, most of the items are key items that open doors, and in case of an emergency, there are no items that can be dealt with, so it is a vicious cycle of relying only on reinforcement.
After overcoming such awkwardness and learning skills such as counterattack, the gameplay itself is quite different. However, to tell you to trust it and play it, the part that is completely turned off in the middle is quite heartbreaking. In the beginning, when there was no skill in the atmosphere created by the unique art and the ground was a bit flat, it went smoothly without any major problems, but after something slightly protruded or turned off, the balance feels quite broken.
In particular, the creaking and lack of convenience from the most basic parts is not something to be taken over by saying that it preserves the ‘classic’ feeling. At the time, it was difficult to implement due to technical limitations, or it was a different feeling to finish the details after careful consideration in a situation that had to be excluded for resource optimization, and to follow the classic inconvenience and not include it.
In addition, the genre of Metroidvania is even more so, as it is a genre that contains classic references and high-quality games, so such a word can have the opposite effect. Even in that classic era, there were no games with the Metroidvania title that had a rough feeling of operation, a clumsy feeling of jumping or moving, and sometimes a phenomenon that would occur when the jumping did not work well or the ground check of the footboard was not grounded. Still, as the art and map textures are well-equipped, it seems necessary to refine the internals once before showing it to users around the world on Steam.