Inspired by the RPG-themed first-person shooters of yesteryear (i.e. Heretic and Hexen), Amid Evil has finally made its way out of Early Access after over a year of gradual content updates. In it, an evil force has spread across the realms and has corrupted the sacred lands. As the champion of the gods, you alone must march on and purge the dark forces from existence in this exciting and gripping title.
It needs to be said, folks: Amid Evil looks friggin’ gorgeous. While the enemies blocky and the collectables are little more than 2D-sprites, the environments and lighting are nothing short of gorgeously detailed areas with lights, steel gratings, pools, portals, and so much more. It’s an effective blend of primitive visuals with truly stunning sights to marvel at, all of which is powered by modern technology. It runs like water in a stream, without any hiccups or framerate drops to slow things down. You’ll find scriptures on stone blocks across each level, should you ever feel like delving into the lore of the world any further. They make for some good bedtime stories, too.
Starting off with a mighty axe, you’ll come across some creative magic weaponry to defend yourself. All of them are fuelled by mana, of which there are four coloured types. Many of the weapons unique in their own ways, like the Star of Torment, which flings shards of a frozen star at high-velocity, and the Celestial Claw, which lobs miniature planets (they’ve been plucked from orbit and shrunk down to fit inside a staff) for explosive damage. Collecting souls from dead enemies will fill up a meter, which will let you temporarily upgrade your weapons with ludicrous damage outputs at an increased firing rate for a limited amount of time. Here’s a golden question: why shoot planets from your staff when you can launch something even deadlier, like suns?
The monsters are creatively designed, with attack patterns to help them stand apart from being mere generic, projectile-flinging bullet-sponges. One enemy type will harpoon like Scorpion from Mortal Kombat, ready for an upfront attack. The green enemies from episode four will sidestep and pounce towards you, regardless of how distant you are. The bosses are not so menacing in comparison. Their predictable attack patterns seldom make them any sort of a threat, and can be easily decimated with your soul-powered weapons. Bit of a disappointing way to round each chapter off, really.
Each of the seven chapters are made up of four levels. While the boss missions have little build-up, the rest of the missions are absolutely fantastic. Every chapter sets itself apart from one another, both in terms of level design and visuals. The level design across the board is complex in design and rife with surprise ambushes, secret areas, thin walkways and traps. Having to battle monsters while pogoing across cathedrals or tight-walking on platforms distended in the void is nothing short of minty. A tricky ‘Endless mode’ is packaged in alongside, which is a nice distraction from time to time. Still, finding the appropriate chapters can be a bit of a maze hunt, since each of the portals to said chapters are scattered across a labyrinth with no signs to guide your way.
Viking-lookalike Andrew Hulshult is the man behind the soundtrack for this one. His atmospheric compositions are fitting enough, and dynamically bleed into one another when things get heated or calm. Not as memorable as his contributions to DUSK (which was also published by New Blood Interactive), but it’s professionally made and sounds like the kind of score you’d expect from a big-budgeted fantasy movie (you can check it out for yourself here).
There are so many gamers out there who still have a soft spot for nineties-inspired first-person shooters. If you’re one of them, then Amid Evil will no doubt quench your thirst with its brilliant visuals, excellent level design, solid combat and off-the-wall arsenal. While the bosses are a bit of a let-down, that doesn’t delegitimize the brilliance of the game. Indefatigable really went above and beyond with this one; swiping up Amid Evil is a no-brainer, even at full-price. It’s no secret, people – Amid Evil will make you feel like a champion