When I began playing Alteric, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After I finished playing Alteric, I still wasn’t sure what to expect.
Developed by Sometimes You, Alteric is a 2D platformer. It released on PC during July 2016 and then PlayStation 4 in October 2017, before now making its way to Xbox One. The game itself is pretty simple; you are a cube who is trying to survive various obstacles that are placed in your way, in order to get to the end of each level. You must face things like saw blades, lasers, moving platforms, and an evil boss at the end of each world, in order to survive.
The game is rather small, with only 3 worlds that contain 10 levels each. Despite only having 30 levels, it is however surprisingly challenging. Having to jump over spinning blades, land on tiny platforms between spikes, change worlds, and avoid lasers can actually be quite the test. There are a handful of easy levels included, but there are also a number of incredibly hard levels, one of which I played over and over again for more than two hours.
There is no real story to Alteric, which makes things kind of confusing. Granted it is a platformer game, but some type of story or explanation of why you are there would have been nice. Where is this world? Why am I stuck here? Simple questions like this would have been nice to get an answer to at the beginning of the game. Instead, you are just dropped into the world, and left to your own imagination.
The gameplay mechanics are super simple, which keeps things from getting too complex. You are slowly introduced to new types of tools (such as anti-gravity buttons, changing worlds, etc.), and there is a level devoted to walking you through each of the new mechanics. Some games spoon feed you all the steps until you are spoiled, while others don’t give you any idea how to play the game and just throw you into the mix. Alteric does a great job of showing you the game mechanics without holding your hand all the way through.
One of the best features is the ability to switch between worlds. For example, World A may have one set of obstacles, while World B has a different set. So, if there is a saw blade spinning on the platform that you need to jump on in World A, but not in World B, then you are going to need to switch worlds while you are in mid-air jumping to the next platform. This feature gets more and more detailed as things progress in Alteric, eventually becoming incredibly hard.
The graphics are rather simple, but also very pleasing. You play as a glowing white block and the obstacles are black. The background of the worlds is green and orange, so it is rather aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. However, if you stay in the second world too long, the orange background begins to burn your eyes.
Alteric consists of only 30 levels, most of which are not very difficult. However, some of them can be incredibly challenging, and this is one of the biggest complaints that I have with the game. Platform/puzzle games are supposed to be challenging, but not impossible. There comes a point when too much is too much. For instance, I played one level over and over throughout the day for at least two and a half hours and I didn’t even get half way through it. Now, maybe I am just really bad at the game, but I think that this would be challenging for anyone. It got to the point where things were beginning to border on no longer being fun or enjoyable because the level was so hard. All I wanted to do was throw my controller through the TV, instead of relaxing and enjoying Alteric for what it is.
The music however is one of the best parts. There are only a few songs, which play on repeat, but they fit with the game well, with a sort of techno-electric style fitting with the modernistic looking graphics. Quality music makes a game so much more enjoyable to play and allows you to really get into the rhythm of the gameplay.
At the end of each of the worlds, there is a boss fight. I found that world after world, the boss was relatively the same. He looks the same and you defeat him pretty much in the same way. There are tweaks here and there with his attacks, but overall, you are fighting the same guy. This was kind of disappointing, because for a game this short, it is rather disappointing to just be left with a copy and pasted boss. It would have been much more enjoyable if the development team could have created a new boss that controlled or defended each world.
Along with the similar boss fight after each world, the fight also has some minor glitches. For example, if you die while fighting the second boss, sometimes his attacks are still happening from the previous round and you will die instantly when you respawn. This gets really annoying when you are essentially spawn trapped three or four times in a row. It is not a huge issue, because the respawn time is very quick, however, it is annoying and must be pointed out.
Overall though and Alteric is a very good game. This 2D platformer has a healthy mix of different obstacles to battle your way through, which can prove to be quite challenging. While the graphics and music make for a great gameplay experience, the lack of story and difficulty can see things getting old really fast. However, if you have quick reflexes and love a challenge, then Alteric may be the game for you!