Preview: Vernal Edge by Hello Pinguin team

In this Vernal Edge preview, we will explore a 2D action platformer made in Game Maker Studio 2. This definitely stood out because in the demo the developers forgot to change the icon to a suitable (demo) icon. The game is very reminiscent of Metroidvania like games. You move through dungeons, solve puzzles, and use weapons and magic to defence yourself against monsters. In the meanwhile, you juggle enemies, explore and navigate new environments with your airship, and fight ruthless bosses.

I understand why this game appeals to so many Kickstartbackers already! Although the demo showed not that many unique gameplay elements yet, it can clearly appeal to a bunch of people who love this genre of games. This is the kind of game that fans of Metroidvania will leave drooling in front of their game console. Vernal Edge takes you on a journey with hero Vernal and cyborg Chervil, who both are searching the sky for answers about the kingdom Haricot, which mysteriously broke off from the ground and rose into the sky. During your journey, you will meet many enemies and find yourself in troublesome situations.

Smash your keyboard!

Combat is a very important part of Vernal Edge’s gameplay. Fighting enemies can be challenging on keyboard. You will often try to combo attack your enemies, which will be challenging since the developers gave them a defensive tool called the Poise. The fact that breaking down multiple enemies at the same time isn’t easy really suits this kind of game. You will find yourself smashing your keyboard a lot while trying to break down this barrier with charged attacks, pulse attacks, and spells. With striking blows, you try to swing one enemy after the other through the air. In the meanwhile, you try to swing through the air yourself like an acrobat (or Lara Croft) by poles that blend a bit too much into the background.

Still, soon you notice that it is not the most convenient choice to play that way. This is really a game that you have to go through with a controller. Luckily there is an option. The existence of that option quickly becomes clear because you hear the explanation of both the keyboard and controller controls simultaneously. This all happens with very boring plain text, where you have the urge to click through quickly. I noticed that I read everything with half of my attention because in my opinion it could all be told quicker and more powerful. Thet should bring this information more vivid with an interactive tutorial.

User experience problems

It would be nice if the game registers whether you play via the keyboard or via a controller and adjust the explanation accordingly. At other times, the necessary explanations were completely missing. In addition, it would be useful if it is clarified which button would skip the current text line. Now I found myself trying out multiple buttons before using the backspace. I also had no clue how to use my inventory or that there was an inventory in the first place. I accidentally found out because I wanted to leave the game and escape brought me to the inventory menu. Still, all these problems are things that can easily be solved if the developers put more effort into user interfaces.

These are all things that are very easy to fix in the final build of Vernal Edge. It’s just a matter of fine-tuning. The art and music are great and the demo shows a lot of potentials as long as the UI and user experience of the game will be fixed. Hello Pinguin Team definitely works with a lot of passion for this project and you can feel this during the playthrough. Multiple readers told me to preview this game, and I can definitely see why. If you look with a grain of salt at the occurring problems, there is quite a cool concept behind Vernal Edge that can bring hours of action-packed gameplay.

Vernal Egde

Try Vernal Edge yourself!

Recently, Hello Pinguin Team launched a Kickstarter for Vernal Edge. They are still searching for people to back their program, since they have not reached their goal yet. They are trying to achieve a pledge of €45,024. Click here if you want to try the demo yourself, and decide whether you want to pledge or not. After the Kickstarter, the game will be released on Steam and other digital PC platforms sometime in late 2022. PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch ports might follow in the future.

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