Mythological games are all the rage right now. Hades, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Raji: An Ancient Epic, Roki…there has been no shortage of games surrounding many types of mythology in the past year. It seems this year will be no different, and I’m excited to see some different mythologies represented and explored.
Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards is an action RPG centered around South American (particularly Incan) mythology. It follows the journey of Aluna, daughter of the creation goddess Pachamama, as she searches for the shards left behind after the goddess’ body was fractured by a meteor. She must find them before they fall into the hands of the evil spirit of Nagaric and the Jivaro people, and use their power to defeat the curse that has befallen her home, Tairona Village.
You’ll navigate jungles, beaches, and temple ruins to hunt down the shards and defeat countless mythological monsters along the way. It’s all in a day’s work for any serious adventurer.
The main focus of Aluna is combat. There are four difficulty settings: story, easy, normal, and hard. Story and easy mode start you off with higher armor, enemies deal less damage, and the number of legendary items that spawn are heavily reduced. These modes make it much easier to just enjoy the story because there’s no fretting over boss battles or hunting down the best weapons.
The normal and hard modes are created more for gameplay. You’ll need to craft the best armor and weapons available to make it through, because enemies are far more powerful. You’ll use a mix of melee, ranged, and magic attacks to tear through hordes of baddies to find the shards and a great number of loot chests full of gold, accessories, and weapons.
I want to point out that I’m not saying hordes for dramatic effect; you’ll be absolutely swarmed by enemies most of the time. In the easier modes, this isn’t so bad. In the harder ones, it’s an absolute nightmare, especially if you haven’t equipped the right weapons. It’s only made more difficult by the lag the game experiences on the Switch. It’s only for a moment, but it’ll quickly let enemies deplete your health while you’re aimlessly attacking because you can’t target anything or move.
It’s not impossible to handle these frenzies, but it sure is an undertaking, so make sure to equip the best gear you can if you don’t want the fun to stop quickly.
The plot is really interesting, and it’s told through comic book-styled cutscenes. Given the game is based off of a series of comics – The World of Aluna – this makes sense. It’s cool to see how South American mythology is used in the story, and much care was put into providing accurate weapons and environments to the time period it takes place in (16th century Inca) The difficult battles feel worth it with each cinematic because the story unfolds in a way that gives you something exciting each time.
While the cutscenes have nice graphics and are great to look at, the quality takes a bit of a dive when it comes to the rest of the game. The environments can look a little fuzzy, which takes away from the detail that was supposed to be there. It’s not horrible, but definitely not as pretty as it could be. There’s also lots of voice acting. It’s…okay. Aluna herself is voiced by actress Paula Garces and she does a good enough job. Other characters, though, have inconsistent and sometimes flat delivery.
Despite some lag and less than spectacular visuals, Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards is still a fun RPG with a great story and a unique spin on Incan mythology. There’s plenty to keep you busy with lots of different builds and strategies with an astronomical amount of weapons, armor, and accessories to find and craft. Whether you’re an RPG vet or a newbie, this journey of goddesses, heroes, and magic is likely to have something to keep you satisfied for quite a while.