It is a common practice in many games, to borrow elements from classic retro titles and format them with shiny new visuals. Even though the sound design resembles something from the 80’s, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Remnants of Naezith is a perky little title that takes a simple core concept and adds in a gripping new twist, even if the sense of challenge can be a little infuriating at times. This has worked well for many others games and has spawned a genre of games with simple concepts that have extremely challenging execution of those concepts. While some of these “difficult” and “hardcore” platformers have faded away over time, the likes of games like N+ remain stronger than ever. Does Remnants of Naezith amount to the same degree? Let’s see.
Remnants of Naezith is an action-adventure platformer that corporates elements of intense swinging combined with lateral thinking. It requires tactical traversing of environments while adding an old-school adventure vibe. What we have is in the same vein as N+ and Trials which pushes players into challenging environments that require a manner of speed, reflexes, and cunning in order to overcome the task at hand. In terms of story, it’s a very simple tale of an adventurer named Kayra being ever so clumsy and falling down a massive pit to their death. Some time passes and a powerful spirit awakens the dead adventurer and grants him with a trusty and spirit-like hook that bestows upon Kayra awesome swinging abilities. With this new power, it’s up to Kayra to destroy the remaining fragments of an ancient dragon within the underground labyrinth and swing his way to freedom.
Speed is everything in Remnants of Naezith with perfect timing and pinpoint-precision being vital for a smooth ascent across the terrains. Mechanically everything is easy to grasp with various aspects of the environment being clear to understand. It is easy to tell what you can and can’t climb and your objective is usually easy to understand. The swinging is easy enough but when you add in other aspects and obstacles, it can quickly become more complex. The lack of guidance in the game can be troublesome as certain aspects of the swinging can be difficult to learn naturally and you’ll have to understand concepts such as momentum without any assistance.
While a game like Portal explains the factors of momentum in stages then lets you loose with a grasp of how it should be triggered, Remnants of Naezith does not explain the finer elements to successful traversing. Acceleration is a tough mother to learn and getting it done correctly would be much easier and faster if you had some guidance. It doesn’t have to be full on hand-holding, but a tutorial of sorts that shows how you can achieve it would be a good place to start. Another annoying issue is that there are moments where you get a pop up stating what buttons you need to press but these can be easy to miss or often enough you’ve already figured the action out in a previous level.
Games such as N+ or Trials at least guide you with the basic mechanics and allow you to grasp them through various stages of development. Remnants of Naezith just throws you in which can be fine but is heavily a trial-and-error format of play to achieve your goal. It would be nice to understand the fundamentals in order to proceed without total frustration. It also doesn’t help that a game like Remnants of Naezith is limited in what you see, and speed and momentum are vital to achieving a high score and to finish the level.
What is quite entertaining to watch are other players tackling the levels in speed runs, and it’s clear some people have spent hours if not the good part of a day perfecting a great run. In this particular case, having to put in so much dedication into the cause is fine; but demanding that the player does so without any sort of guidance, in the beginning, is off-putting. The difficulty spikes can be ridiculous even in early stages, and the first chapter alone has a mixture of levels which can be pleasantly entertaining or infuriating to the point where your blood boils. This is all down to the level design being simple yet effective at the right intervals or overly complex without ensuring players are ready to tackle what lies ahead and without informing them the basics or advancements of swinging.
Still, there are stages which hold multiple paths, allowing for you to play through how you want and discovering shortcuts that may mean an easier journey. Remember that the easiest path may not always be the quickest. There is also a decent level editor which allows you to create your own set of levels to play, share, and practice. This is needed as there are no training stages at all or anywhere you can home your skills. Remnants of Naezith is a visually pleasing game, with a nice art style and a soundtrack that’s really awesome. Something that feels retro yet refreshingly new and dynamic.
Remnants of Naezith can be highly thrilling and rather enthralling if you’re willing to put in some serious hours to overcome a few troubling problems and a lack of guidance that only serves to make learning and progression extremely slow. This is annoying as there’s great potential here, with a dynamic, interesting concept. There is still an enjoyable game here to play but bear in mind the infuriating grind and lack of help can place you in areas which are difficult to move past.