Addictive Precison Combat- Vernal Edge

Though I had an entire week to play a game to continue to be ahead of the game, I decided that I would not play any indies, but have Elden Ring take up all of my free time. So I scrambled to play this week’s game, and boy am I glad I did. This week’s game is Vernal Edge; a gritty, beautiful video game that deserves so much more praise than I see it getting.

Vernal Edge is a 2D Metroidvania from Hello Penguin Team LLC published by PID Games. The game was released on March 14th for all modern gaming systems. It retails for $17.

Some time ago, the Kingdom of Haricot was completely and utterly destroyed in an event that catapulted land masses into the sky where they remained. You take the role of a young girl Vernal who has, after searching, pinpointed the location of the father and has only one aim: To kill him.

Vernal Edge really only has two characters: Vernal and Chervil. Vernal is crass and blunt and Chervil is skittish and technical. The juxtaposition makes the duo incredibly likable.

Vernal Edge is really a Metroidvania. You are introduced to the world of Haricot, the villain, his intentions, and the villain’s entourage. You are then told of the magical artifacts that will lead you right to them and it is up to you to find them through backtracking and pure frustration of being lost and looking for some sort of hint of where to go; a staple of Metroidvanias.

I personally like the overworld and how the player travels to each section. The world is literally broken into different bite-sized areas that are super interesting to look at and even more fun to traverse.

Vernal Edge‘s combat is where the game shines, though. Combat has a few dimensions. Vernal can cut baddies with her sword or use magic. The two alone can dispatch enemies, but when combining the two makes for some of the best combat. Executing combos and juggling enemies until that tiny health bar depletes feels so goddamn good. As the game progresses combat becomes more technical and challenges the player’s ability to adapt to situations and different enemy/boss playstyles. Boss enemies are where the player’s training pays off. Bosses hit fast and hit hard and leaving Vernal little wiggle room to recover. Vernal can also use her sword to regain health during combat to get the player out of sticky situations.

The combat is incredibly rewarding.

Vernal can also find passive abilities to boost her combat efficiency. Things like regaining mana after being stunned, dash damage, and getting a second chance on death. By the end of the game, I was decked out with passive abilities that boosted every facet of my play style.

Platforming takes on an enormous load in this video game. Vernal is given abilities left and right and they are all platforming techniques. Dash, double jump, wall run, vertical leap, the list goes on. All of the abilities add to the core gameplay and, with enough practice, can get the player some sweet rewards.

Vernal Edge looks great, The pixel art really goes a long way. Each biome is vibrant and distinct. The fungal mines are dark and littered with poisonous mushrooms and the battle tower has an active audience thirsty for blood.

The music by Alex McCaskey really hits the tone of Vernal Edge as well as I had hoped. Emotional moments are accented with a soft melody and combat bumps up the beat and hammers a catchy progression. The music compliments the game really well.

Vernal Edge is a really good video game. It has its faults, like there is no help whatsoever. If you get lost, it is up to you to find your way or find a guide that will put you back on track, which is frustrating at times but once I found out where I was going I exhaled and continued loving the game. The combat is what makes Vernal Edge go over the top. It is an absolute blast to experiment with different abilities to see how long you can keep enemies juggling until they die. I remember seeing many videos on Twitter about people doing ridiculous combos, which in turn made me want to try and get some aerial combos going.

In the end, the story is paper thin, the characters are likable and the combat can teach a masters class. It’s an all-around fantastic Metroidvania.

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