Genre(s): Adventure, Casual, Indie, RPG
Age Rating: N/A
Release Date: 16/10/2020
A code was provided for review purposes
The Chosen One?
Prodigal is an action-adventure title showcasing a young traveller on adventures once he returns home. It features both puzzle-solving and standard top-down action. Did this game pair these two genres well? Find out in this Rapid Review.
When I began my adventure, I was introduced to my main character, learning a lot about their past and the current state of the island I arrived on. This premise was fun. It did not stray from grim topics, yet it never felt overly dark. Despite constantly mentioning errors my character made before I controlled him, I liked being flawed. Learning about my character’s past helped me get an understanding of what they stood for, and it made them seem human. I found myself getting more engaged with this story than I would have with a typical story.
This was further expanded by the non-playable characters in the world. When I began the game, many of the characters were frustrated with me. Working to repair these damaged relationships was a remarkable aspect of Prodigal that encouraged me to engage with these non-playable characters and pay attention when they did speak. As someone who typically does not value game storylines, I was impressed by how much the characters impacted the plotline. Still, though I enjoyed these elements, I think the main draw of Prodigal is the action-adventure style combat and puzzling.
Specifically, I enjoyed the simple yet satisfying action featured in Prodigal. I primarily attacked with a pickaxe though I could use my fists as well. In fact, to take out all enemies, I needed to manage both. It was a simple combat system, but I enjoyed it. I did not have to learn advanced combination attacks, manage a stamina meter, or digest intense information while I fought, it felt good. At the same time, I could optimize my attacks if I wanted to. In addition to the abilities I already mentioned, I had a tethering ability that could lasso enemies and bring them closer to me. The combination of the simple yet engaging combat made exploring each level in Prodigal a lot of fun.
However, not every fight is as simple as the basic enemies. Throughout Prodigal I faced towering and fierce boss battles. These were exciting and helped change the pace of the game. Each boss was unique. Specifically, I enjoyed how they made me evaluate my situation quickly. Despite how interesting these fights were, they were not overly difficult. Instead, I enjoyed them because they were innovative and encouraged me to explore my mastery of different mechanics.
Brains and Brawn
I was invested in the combat despite the lack of depth because it was not the only focus of the game. I used the same elements to help me solve puzzles. This made both segments interesting, as sometimes, I solved rooms featuring puzzles but no enemies. On the other hand, occasionally, I would fight hordes of enemies without solving puzzles. The varied level structure kept me engaged, as I never knew what would come next.
At the same time, I enjoyed tackling the puzzles too. I typically avoid puzzle games since I do not think I am good at solving puzzles. However, I was not overwhelmed while playing Prodigal. The puzzles scaled slowly and each new puzzle slowly built off the prior one. There were no difficulty spikes and I constantly felt capable, even if I had to retry a puzzle a couple of times.
I also liked that the game did not punish me for making mistakes. It was easy to find myself making errors when solving puzzles. However, I never had to halt my progress or break my focus because it was incredibly easy to set the room back to its original position. Additionally, if I died or wanted to focus on something else instead of the puzzles, most completed puzzles would remain completed for the future. This helped keep me motivated to complete the next puzzle, as I did not need to complete segments I had finished already. The accessibility that came with completing puzzles made this game enjoyable even for someone who does not specialize in the genre.
Despite being impressed with Prodigal and enjoying what the game had to offer, once the credits rolled, I was disappointed not because the game was unsatisfactory, but because I wanted to play more. Thankfully, and somewhat surprisingly, completing the game is only a small amount of the available content. Prodigal features additional story content once the credits are rolled. Even before this additional segment, Prodigal provides a lot of value at its price point. However, these additional areas and locales to traverse made the package even more worthwhile. Moreover, there are additional difficulty options that alter the gameplay substantially for future playthroughs, potentially making the game harder, making the main character weaker, and even potentially including permadeath. These options make Prodigal even more fun to revisit and play again.
Further, I thoroughly enjoyed the music. Each piece was atmospheric yet lively. It fit my exploration very nicely. The sound effects were adequate as well. None of them stood out as memorable, but none of them stood out of place either. I thought the auditory design was of very high quality.
The visuals were similarly solid. I enjoyed finding different locales to explore and traversing the vast world. Like Curse Crackers: For Whom the Belle Toils, Prodigal features an art style with pastel colours and once again, it looks amazing. Each of the locations is distinct and I enjoyed each part of my journey.
Prodigal is an excellent game. As someone who places a strong emphasis on the value of a game, the plethora of content coupled with the combination of simple yet engaging combat and rewarding puzzles is more than enough to make this game easy to recommend. I can easily recommend picking up this title.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4.5 out of 5
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