Lorraine has probably had better days. Separated from the rest of her crew, stranded in the alien jungles of Tavor, trapped in an ancient ruin, she's now accosted by monsters and the undead. Still, it's not all bad. Occasionally she'll encounter data-discs left by her crewmate Ridley, and various bits of equipment to give her phenomenal new movement abilities. Escape from a cursed alien tomb, find your crewmate and — if you're particularly fortunate — come out of it all with the brand
new old fabulous Idol of Tavor as your lovely planetary parting gift. Metroidvania-style action and adventure await you in Angril's new sci-fi platformer, Darktopia!
One of the first important things you'll learn about Lorraine — aside from her ability to handle difficult circumstances well — is that she can't jump due to an injury she sustains from a fall. Fortunately, you'll recover some boots off a fallen crew member, which allow her to, well, hop with [Z]. With some difficult maneuvering with the [arrow] keys however, Lorraine will soon be collecting colored keycards necessary for passing the appropriate doors, double-jumping, and even using a nifty little gadget called an Accelerator to improve her jumps even more. By pressing [Shift] while running once she finds it, just before jumping, the Accelerator enables Lorraine to boost her horizontal momentum for a full second. What that means is that if it's timed correctly, Lorraine's jumps can cross most of a whole screen even if they don't gain any additional height from it. The fun physics of this doohickey alone is enough reason to give Darktopia a try, and when combined with the double-jump the combination gets almost slapstick as Lorraine whizzes across the screen, disregarding the terrain almost entirely.
But Darktopia (which I'll always think of fondly as, "How Lorraine's No-Good, Awful Day Got Better") isn't just about the flagrant use techno-toys to violate the local laws of physics until they feel a bit sheepish and go home hanging their heads dejectedly. Lorraine eventually manages across a blaster rifle, for example. But you won't be able to just set it on Auto-fire and mindlessly laser your way out of the ghoul-infested ancient ruins, oh no no no. Either assault blaster rifles are banned in the future, or the fact that its previous owner abandoned it in a catacomb of ancient alien tombs indicates that it's a slightly inferior model, which Lorraine doesn't appear to stop to consider. Although [X] will allow you to fire (in any of your cardinal directions, by the way), each shot will heat the barrel slightly as indicated on a color gauge. That means for each shot, a cooldown period is required. And if you manage to max the gauge out to red, be prepared for a loooo-o-ong additional cooldown during which time you'll be unable to fire back.
Sly level design also plays a big part in Darktopia. For all the aerial acrobatics Lorraine can eventually muster there is a distinct lack of headroom in these ruins, and much of that is filled with spikes and various other nasties. In some games, that would be annoying. In Darktopia, it's thought-provoking. It means you'll really puzzle out where you need to get to and how the heck to go about it. There will be moments you'll think you're stuck, as you can't always get back to where you started and all the color-coded doors won't open without the corresponding keycards. Don't panic! You'll eventually acquire some nifty device that will make what's impossible for Lorraine at the moment a glib reality later on. The checkpoints enable Lorraine to come back upon death to the last one she'd visited (presumably as a fully-living being rather than some eldritch, undead horror), and just reaching one will fully heal her as well. Even if you're not a huge fan of Metroidvania-style games, come for the gameplay physics of Lorraine's collectible arsenal of gadgets, and stay for the crafty level design and fun. And remember that no day has to be awful as long as you've got deft moves, some futuristic ability-enhancing devices, and a blaster rifle. Definitely a blaster rifle.