Aztaka


  • Currently 4.4/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Rating: 4.4/5 (23 votes)
| Comments (5) | Views (93)

Aztaka

JamesBeing born to a destiny is not all that great. Where everyone else gets to grow up and hang around the jungle, get a job as a canoe maker and maybe even get a nice place next to the Piranha pond, you are stuck being trained in the mystic arts of the local Aztec temple. Not only that, but just as your training is done, your evil half-sister turns up and steals a very sacred artifact. Since the local clergy didn't invest in some kind of plan for such an event (and didn't bother insuring the artifact either), it falls upon you to trek across the jungles, swamps, mountains and deserts to track her down and get the artifact back, fighting lizard people, dart-blowing monkeys and acid-spitting wall adornments along the way. Fortunately, Huitzilo is up for the job in Aztaka, an indie action/RPG platform game from Citeremis.

AztakaIn the works for over two years, Aztaka is a crafty blend of side-scrolling action mashed up with role-playing mechanics like equippable gear and stats. Huitzilo, armed with his guile, acrobatic skills, and spear, charges into this adventure with the help of Ayohpa, another warrior who was turned into a hummingbird somewhere in the past but is still a very capable sorcerer. This sidekick adds the ability to wield magic attacks. Huitzilo is controlled with the [WASD] keys, while the mouse is wielded to target enemies, execute physical and magical attacks, as well as grab different energies.

These energies tend to be dropped by slain foes and can be stored in different vassals that Huitzilo finds during his adventure. They actually form a large part of the game's central mechanics. He also finds cash, which is used to buy new trinkets that improve his odds in the wild: stuff that gives him more agility for critical strikes, dodging attacks and, of course, do more damage with that spear of his. Ayopha can also be enhanced with gear, pushing its ability for magic attacks.

Backing all of this is a role-playing stats system: you gain experience as you play and with each level you improve the duo's chances for survival by adding to their health, dexterity and power. There are also new attacks to learn, uncovered usually doing favours for characters or paying them for the new technique.

AztakaAnalysis: Aztaka might sound like a typical RPG experience (right down to the quest system), but it is ultimately a smart platform game that mixes a lot of depth into the run-and-jump formula. Although you attack (and execute magic) with your mouse, the meat of the game experience is in nimbly jumping around the bad guys, sticking them with your spear and staying out of the way of their attacks. The additional moves you learn all blend seamlessly with the side-scrolling experience. For example, one skill lets you damage enemies by jumping into them — it's pretty ninja, really. Eventually Huitzilo learns to wall-jump as well, allowing him to reach higher areas (and upping the ante for platform jumping sections)

But Aztaka also breaks the platformer mold — and not simply because it adds some stats to the mix. Some of the things you encounter can't be used immediately and only come in reach of Huitzilo's grasp once he gains a certain skill or item. One example is an entire underground area hidden behind a massive door that can only be smashed open once you get a new spear, itself found in a temple later in the game. Put simply, there is a lot of backtracking, but it doesn't feel forced and is more like willing exploration. Aztaka manages to package a fairly non-linear experience in a very linear world.

AztakaIn fact, there is a lot about Aztaka that makes it an exceptional game to play. The visuals are great, as is the terrific soundtrack. Initially the combat system seems clumsy, but the game manages to keep you hooked even through its tricky sections. The enemies vary a lot and things are kept mixed enough that you never feel like you are just gaming by numbers. Three difficulty levels makes sure that all kinds of gamers will be able to get into it and there are a of bonus objects and such to discover.

Recently, Aztaka developer Citeremis released the Aztaka Developer's Edition in an attempt to bridge the gap between the money borrowed to create the game and the sales made since its release. This new edition includes the game's source code, soundtrack, and an art book, all bundled together for a reduced price. Unfortunately, the game also comes with a few bugs — even during this review, one game-ending flaw showed up, forcing a restart. Citeremis is working on patching this and other problems, though, and to be honest, even having to start over didn't leave all that sour a taste in my mouth.

Aztaka has a lot going for it. It is a terrific experience and has the pedigree to be a indie hit. At its core Aztaka sticks to being a fun platform game with more surprises under the hood (though with its share of hit-detection issues) and is a shining example of how much more creative indie games are than the mainstream stuff. Aztaka comes with its problems, but problems that are being ironed out. Brush the flaws aside and Aztaka promises a great time and is well worth shelling out a few measly bucks for.

Note: Aztaka Developer's Edition will only be available through January 31. Grab it now if you want the extras!

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.

5 Comments

I got this in the Mega Indie Bundle, and it's not bad, with great graphics, and an interesting mix of platforming and RPG elements with a bit of Metroidvania as well, but it has three serious problems that I want to vent about. Other than these three, it's pretty fun.

1. Bosses are ludicrously tough compared to regular enemies, and you probably won't kill them without a bit of grinding. Thankfully, they don't regain their health when you die to them, so you can win with persistence, but I'd prefer an boss I can beat without dying to one I have to die over and over on.

2. They never explain how to cast spells (you have to click on the picture in order), and I didn't figure it out until I almost hit the end. They said they were working on this, but I don't know if the latest version explains it better.

3. The ending is just... meh.

After all this buildup, gathering the magical items, increasing your power, taking down the big bads, you step through the portal and find...

A big textdump describing how you challenge the gods themselves and restore balance to the land. Plain text? Really? For an epic battle like that? What a cop-out!

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

Thanks James for the review!
@Aegeus, in the latest version (1.5) you can choose the difficulty level and we also introduced about 20 help screen to actually explain how to cast spells and do other tricks.

And about the ending, well,

we wanted to actually make a level in "heaven" with the gods sleeping all around... but we lacked the resources to do it. Sorry...

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

"These energies tend to be dropped by slain foes and can be stored in different vassals that Huitzilo finds during his adventure."

I'm assuming the spell check changed that from "vessels"? Surely, as heroic as Huitzilo is, he is not lugging around dead medieval sharecroppers to store his energies? :-)

@Jonathan: Does the sale of the developers kit mean that those that buy it can add their own ideas to the game with the possibility they will be incorporated into the official release? (I'm thinking how that might apply to the ending issue you and Aegeus discussed, for example)

Enjoyed the demo. Good graphics and playability, and a good consistent theme.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

I've played the demo. It's a good idea, to merge platformer with rpg, and htey've made a good work on the artistic contents, but the entire gameplay is way too stiff.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

^ Scroll Up | Homepage >

Leave a comment [top of page]

    Please consider creating a Casual Gameplay account if you're a regular visitor here, as it will allow us to create an even better experience for you. Sign-up here!
  • PLEASE UNDERSTAND SITE POLICIES BEFORE POSTING COMMENTS
  • You may use limited HTML tags for style:
    (a href, b, br/, strong, em, ul, ol, li, code, spoiler)
    HTML tags begin with a less-than sign: < and end with a greater-than sign: >. Always. No exceptions.
  • To post spoilers, please use spoiler tags: <spoiler> example </spoiler>
    If you need help understanding spoiler tags, read the spoiler help.
  • Please Preview your comment before posting, especially when using spoilers!
  • No link dropping, no domains as names; do not spam, and do not advertise! (rel="nofollow" in use)
On the Edge of Earth: 5000> Tricky On the Edge of Earth: 5000 is a sci-fi adventure game by Roope Tamminen, originally developed for the Ludum Dare 48 game jam under the theme of "Connected Worlds". In it, you play as an astronaut attempting to terraform a world, using a whole bunch of sciencey stuff he doesn't quite remember how to use. While enjoyment will on the player's tolerance for tinkering, On the Edge of Earth: 5000 is a charming experience that rewards experimentation.  ...
1,741 Views
3 Comments
Hero and Daughter> Dora Tongue firmly planted in cheek and, um, assets spilling out all over the place, this dungeoncrawling RPG translated by vgperson and created by Tachi follows Ralph, a hero busted back down to level one, as he summons powerful female companions to help defeat the Dark Lord.  ...
Aries Escape: Episode No.14> elle While browsing a new display at the fine arts museum one day, you wind up trapped inside a strange exhibition. The artwork here is quite puzzling—literally. To escape these rooms, to even find the door, you need to collect clues and useful items, then use them to solve a series of puzzles.  ...
1,622 Views
14 Comments
Button Escape 24> Dora There are eleven buttons you need to find and click in order to escape from this challenge by Tototo Room, but first you need to get in touch with nature to solve the puzzles in your way...  ...

Recent Comments

 

Display 5 more comments
Limit to the last 5 comments

Casual game of the week

9 Clues: The Ward

Browser game of the week

On the Edge of Earth: 5000

Mobile game of the week

Twelve

Your Favorite Games edit

add
Save links to your favorite games here. Use the Favorites editor.

Popular on JiG


The Room

Virtual Villagers: Origins

Submachine 9: The Temple

Surgeon Simulator 2013

The House 2

Papa's pastaria

Fireboy and Watergirl 4: The Crystal Temple

Fireboy and Watergirl 3: The Ice Temple

Moonchild

The Royal Trap

Loren the Amazon Princess

1931: Scheherazade at the Library of Pergamum

Magical Diary

Heileen Series

Visit our great partner: maxcdn!

Monthly Archives

Legal notice

All games mentioned or hosted and images appearing on JayIsGames are Copyright their respective owner(s).

All other content is Copyright ©2003-2014 JayIsGames.com. All Rights Reserved.