To make the perfect game you will need time, planning, and a whole lot of talent. While most indie games come with problems and issues that are often never handled, launching a game with next to no problems is practically impossible. My hats off to Aleksandar Kuzmanovic Games for their work in Unworthy as they have created a game that is as brutal as Dark Souls with a story as mysterious as Little Nightmares and Limbo.
The essence of a soul who chooses to fight their way through volatile and dark creatures is not one of holy retribute. Following the path of a sinner, the search for peace and escape is not for those unworthy of its tranquility. Have you come to prove that you are worthy?
Unworthy is set up with a few customizable options so that it can be played on the way that best suits the player, when it comes to the combat. Initially starting out with just the chains that bound you, to what I believe was supposed to be hell or purgatory, and then surfacing to gain your first main weapon: Sword and Shield. Continuing through the game you will be forced to fight bosses in order to collect more items and weapons so that you can progress through the game. My favorite weapon is the hammer which is gained after defeating the second boss. Each weapon that you collect will have its own special ability that can be used once per charge. The most helpful item that I didn't expect to gain was the Crow's Eye, which let's you view the map from any Soulflame Alter (save location). I thought this game simply didn't have a map, but turns out they just make you earn it.
When you are fighting, there will be a lot of dodge rolling in order to survive. An almost expected feature for this game type, but the amount of dodging available is based on your stamina. The stamina meter applies for dodging and attacking, so watching it to make sure you don't run out is essential. Failing to keep a dodge at the ready at all times will often force you to take some damage from an attacking enemy.
As you progress through the game you will find runes that give a bonus to your stats, but at a cost. It is rare it find stat boosting items that don't bring down another stat, including your health.
Most items are a one use system though. By this I don't mean that you saved the game and so you can use the item, die, and still have the item to use when you load up that save. I mean that you use an item and so that item is now gone. This mechanic is a brutal addition since it applies to everything, from health to combat assistance items. The only item that doesn't follow this, kind of, is the Soulflame Flask, which provides health regeneration over a couple seconds. This item doesn't seem to follow this rule as your stock replenishes after ever death, but it also restocks when you save. The Soulflame Alter save points seem to refill your flasks, which is why it doesn't seem to follow this rule.
The combat is where the game gets unfair, or perhaps tests your worthiness. Even the simple enemies that you come across as your make your way through the map can be pretty devastating. While the obvious side of a brutal combat game is that you will need to learn the moves of the bosses in order to properly dodge, attack, and defeat, the same goes for every enemy. Learning their attacks and how to fight them helps you decide when it's best to defeat or avoid them. I found that in most cases it is best to avoid because you will often be heading into a boss fight and there is no save between where you started and the boss. Not to mention that when you venture into unknown territory you need to be prepared for the worst because it is likely what you are heading into.
The mechanic for the items that can only be used once is used in more ways than just to negatively impact you. The same "once it happened, it happened" type mechanic applies to a few aspects of your journey, including any experience you gain and section of the map you uncover. This helps when it comes to leveling up your character, but abusing it to raise your level is pretty pointless thanks to how Sin works.
Sin is the value system in the game, much like currency. You can use it in a few spots where a NPC acts as a shop, which they aren't obvious that they will sell items either. Other than that, the sin is used to level up your abilities as well. Once you enter the cathedral that first introduces the level up system to you, it will be accessible at any Soulflame Alter.
There is also a fair share of platforming in the game. You will need to learn how far of a drop causes your character to roll for this. I can't even remember how many times not taking that into account has caused me to roll into a field of spikes. The challenge presented with the various platforming sections are fun to go through, but once you obtain the Spirit Bow it becomes even more entertaining.
Graphics and Sounds
Using various shades of grey, along with black and white, to build a world within the view of a 2D image is no easy task yet Aleksandar Kuzmanovic Games managed to do so nicely. The only other color you will find in the game is red, which is your own blood making a mess every time you get hit. Despite the graphics being made of pixels, the world appeared to be an unreal reality.
Every enemy had its own sound effect which only helped the immersion and imagination of what they would look like with a closer look. The music within the game held the atmosphere as a gothic style of long, and sometimes off key, tones. This changed for certain rooms and for the boss fights, but the style remained even when the energy fluctuated.
This game will never get easier, but your skills can continue to improve. Unworthy is easily a game that I see many players completing time and time again, constantly trying to beat the game with a better record than the last.
Hats Off Comments
This is usually the part where I would list in what ways the game could improve, but alas I fail to see what needs to be changed. Do I have a few complaints? Of course! This is a brutal combat focused game after all. Thing is, it is very fitting to the Dark Souls style of game and so my problems can all be answered in the famous Souls fan based way; "Git Gud."
It would of been nice to have more save locations so that when I die I'm not so far away - "Get Good." I could of used some hints on best ways to beat a boss, like weapon choices or what to avoid - "Git Good."
The entire map was a maze and you never knew what to expect around every turn. Figuring out where to go was an actual difficulty as well, but following my curiosity while being prepared for the worst helped me find my way every time. I did run into a couple glitches, but within the same day of reporting them, they were patched.
It is obvious that the developer, Kuzmanovic, put more than just his time and talent into Unworthy. This game was made with passion and the result was a brutal 2D gothic masterpiece.
Unworthy is an incredibly frustrating game that is easy to enjoy. It's the perfect blend of fun, punishing, and slightly unfair so there is always a challenge to overcome. It will bring out the competitive side of gamers while testing both their patience and skill. With gameplay that is more than fitting to the name, this game is a gem that any gamer that enjoys proving their talents would enjoy from beginning to end.