Mythology, Greek, Norse, you name it, is truly underrepresented in the video game market. Recent titles like the God of War reboot and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, have shown us very successful modern attempts at bringing the rich lore to life. Freja and the False Prophecy aims to bring a dose of Norse mythology to the metroidvania scene. The Kickstarter campaign is quite well realized with a playable demo and plenty of information to let backers know what to expect. Unfortunately, with only 15 hours remaining, the development team Unsigned Double Collective is about $2,000 shy of their $22,000 goal. From my time reviewing the campaign and demo, these devs have a high quality product on their hands that any fan of 2D side-scrolling adventure games should reach out to and support.
Boasting beautiful hand drawn graphics and well designed animations, Freja and the False Prophecy has a very striking look to both it’s backgrounds and character design. The art style is not unlike that of another quality metroidvania, Guacamelee, just grittier and much less light hearted. Complementing the design and flow of gameplay, the South African inspired soundtrack is quite impressive and doesn’t just complement, but enhances the pace of platforming and combat encounters of the game. Each track included in the demo offers great combinations of instruments and plenty of percussion. The composer Martinique du Toit is quite talented and a huge asset to the project.
Freja and the False Prophecy offers players surprisingly tight platforming mechanics, with a mixture of melee combat and several useful spells. Movement and platforming feels incredibly natural and the developers should be applauded for it. I’m always appreciative of when character movement is so well polished that it isn’t even noticed during gameplay.
Combat leverages the mixture of cooldown locked magic abilities and stamina restricted melee abilities. Unfortunately melee combat just doesn’t feel impactful in the demo. Without any real sense of feedback during encounters, the combat simply isn’t as visceral or rewarding as it should be. This could easily be fixed in the final game, but it can’t be understated how important of an improvement it would be to the overall package.
On the other hand, the magic system is very well realized. Three spells were obtainable in the demo and each was just as useful as the last. Shortly after the opening, Freja will receive a simple healing spell. Healing a moderate amount of health and sitting on a decently long cooldown, this spell is the only way for the player to regain health and intelligent use is mandatory for success.
The remaining two spells are more combat focused and allow for a powerful electric strike, and a powerful time manipulation spell that slows everything around Freja. It seems like many of these spells may also be powerful navigation tools. The time manipulation spell also allows the player to traverse otherwise invisible platforms during the demo. Hopefully there will be a large assortment of interesting abilities that can be outfit for various combat styles.
While the demo was short, I did thoroughly enjoy my time with it, even playing through twice to take in the visuals and soundtrack again and to make certain I didn’t miss any secrets. The developers well created campaign also mentions many additional features for the full release. These include a character skill tree, a cinematics mode, and descriptions of the nine diverse worlds to be explored.
Slated for release on PC if initial funding goals are met, Freja and the False Prophecy is a unique take on the Metroidvania that should not be ignored.