Indsendt: 29. januar 2014
Finishing the game, I have left with mixed, yet largely positive, feelings.
In Aztaka, you are the chosen warrior of the Tenochthitlan, or something. See, it's an action RPG platformer based on Aztec mythology, of which I admittedly am not an expert on. Because of this special setting, every name and event feels unique and at the same time rather confusing, for it can be difficult to remember who is who when you're dealing with a culture with a complicated spelling vastly different from yours.
You are actually playing two characters: the chosen warrior of the gods and a cursed wizard of sorts who is in the form of a hummingbird. Warrior handles the fighting and surviving, while the wizard-bird can cast protecting and attacking spells and get taunted by the antagonists. Both gain levels and become stronger by equipping special stuff.
Action part is the combat, of which there is a lot. At the beginning, combat is very
clunky: your only attack is to thrust forward with the spear. You can also roll around and jump, but those do you little good, when the enemies do damage by simple touch and there's no invulnerability time involved with either. Combined with the fact many of them are evasive, jumpy or have blocks makes fighting some enemies a pain. But it gets better!
Once (maybe two-three hours in the game) you will learn an upward strike to attack enemies in the air and even better, a jump strike, making your jumps damage enemies in return. This makes the combat tremendously simpler and more enjoyable.
There's also magic part to combat. You basically choose a spell and click on the boxes that appear to complete the incantation: missing one will ruin the spell. During this time the game is slowed down, so you simply have to be fast to avoid getting hit. The more complicated the spell, the more clicks are required. It's quite alright a magic system for a platformer.
So there is also a platforming part. This couples with the magic system, that also incorporates a use of magical energies that are dropped by enemies and used to interact with the world. For example, in the beginning you can grow branches into certain trees (it's not exactly a freeform ability), opening a route onward. There are four energy types, all of which have their own special powers in addition to their world interaction: for example, the green life energy doubles effectively as a bandage. Along the way you'll learn more skills akin to other platformers, like double jumps and wall jumps. Aztaka actually has one of the most powerful wall-jumping abilities I've seen, used many times to get to some hard-to-reach places.
Finally, there's the RPG aspect. You earn experience and levels by killing monsters and doing quests. At the same time you can increase your health and mana by finding bonus artefacts. There are 3 attributes per character and each level grants you one point to allocate. All the attributes are useful, though I found Agility to be a bit vague (the more you have, the more you'll inflict critical strikes). You may also increase the stats by quaffing stat-increasing potions, dropping randomly from enemies and you can even buy them later on. You'll also get a skill point every level. For the warrior skill points are very useful, but for the wizard it could have been useful to know that the spells become more expensive the more skill points they have.
It's not a true RPG though. There are no decisions to make, only a story to follow and the dialogue advancing without your concern. You can (and will) return to earlier places to look for missed loot and quest opportunities though. Sometimes, you might even be lost on what to do next: then the quest screen usually helps.
Music and graphics are fine and fit the setting. I did experience some fatal bugs along the way: some sprites would turn into black boxes, and shortly afterwards the game would crash (my card is AMD Radeon 5700 series, run on Win7 64-bit). This was mostly inconvenient, since restarting the game would fix the problems for several hours.
All in all, Aztaka is an alright platformer. It also reminds me of The Battle Of Olympus and Zelda II games on Nes. I played the game through on brutal difficulty (I suppose that's the most difficult one) and got 14 hours of game time along the way, dying quite a lot due to bad early decisions. After learning the jump attack skill I advanced a lot faster, and I reckon that's when the combat became more entertaining than a chore. So I'd wager to prepare for a slow start. The end game was very fast and easy because you can avoid any enemies by jumping over them, and the warrior becomes practically immortal
before facing the final boss.
Too bad Aztaka has no achievements and that seems to be final. I could have squeezed a few extra hours out of it, but I doubt I'll return to it now. As a one-time quest, especially if received from a bundle or on a decent discount, it's certainly worth a buy and play-through. Just give it some time, bear with the clumsy combat of the beginning and try not to lose yourself within the quirky Aztek names.