We’ve all got to start somewhere! That’s a pretty universal truth, really. Whether it comes to cooking, writing or game development, it’s not likely that anyone’s going to be a master on their first attempt at doing something new. That’s definitely the case with Seed of Life, an admirable attempt at a first game from freshman developers MadLight. It’s got its share of rough edges, as well as possibly the most memorable voice acting in recent memory, but by golly these guys were trying.
The world’s in a bad way! Again! This time the planet Lumia is under siege from evil alien pollution that’s corrupting the water and air, making it lethal to human life. That’s the kind of problem that needs solving, so it’s fortunate that Cora’s here to get the job done. By seeking out the Seed of Life, Cora can clean things up – but finding it’s not going to be easy given the state of things. By loading up on planetary power, Cora can summon Captain Planet and…wait, nah, actually she’ll just use it to make her way through the nastier bits of the world as she searches for a solution.
Seed of Life is somewhat reminiscent of games from Russian developer Ice-Pick Lodge like The Void. You’re placed in a strange world and given a general idea of what to do, but a lot of your time will be spent exploring and figuring things out as you go. There’s not a lot of combat as traditionally defined; rather, you’ll spend your time collecting magic juice, spending that juice on abilities and doors, proceeding to find more juice and so on.
There’s a fair amount of platforming, which is a little unfortunate as Seed of Life isn’t especially great at this. Cora feels a little too floaty and loose to really nail any precise movement. Please look forward to plummeting to your death.
As you proceed, Cora will unlock new abilities like a dash, a heal, a portable light to deal with dark areas and so on. It’s a nice touch that suggests a bit of character development. The focus here seems to be on working out ways to get through each area rather than the backtracking-for-goodies mechanics you might come to expect from a Metroidvania title, though, and Seed of Life really loves its poison that you’ll have to slog your way through with that healing power.
A lot of your time is going to be spent dying to damaging environmental obstacles as you figure out how to slowly but surely make progress. That kind of gameplay’s not going to be for everyone, but there’s something to be said for sticking to an idea, I suppose.
When it comes to Seed of Life’s presentation, it really all comes down to one thing: the voice acting. Cora’s voice acting, specifically. It’s…it’s something. I suspect that people somewhere, somehow talk like this, but it’s not anywhere I’ve been nor anyone I’ve met. From a graphical perspective, the game looks pretty okay, with some really solid environment design, though it struggles a bit from a performance perspective.
Given that I’m running this on a fairly beefy PC that speaks to optimization issues, but that’s the kind of thing that can be addressed with patches.
Seed of Life is an experience that’s really intended for patient players who are dedicated to experiencing the alien world that MadLight’s put together and willing to forgive the fact that it’s clearly a first effort. There’s a degree of Metroidvania-style character building, but really you’re coming here for the experience of gradually revealing the world. From that perspective Seed of Life is an interesting experience, one that tries a lot of new things and doesn’t stumble too much in the process. If you can get past the iffy platforming and, er, legendary voice acting, it might be worth your time to try and survive the darkness.