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News - Mini Review: Summum Aeterna – A Rough-And-Ready Roguelite That Gets The Job - Printable Version

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News - Mini Review: Summum Aeterna – A Rough-And-Ready Roguelite That Gets The Job - xSicKxBot - 09-18-2023

News - Mini Review: Summum Aeterna – A Rough-And-Ready Roguelite That Gets The Job

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<p><a href="">Summum Aeterna</a>, a prequel to 2022’s <a href="">Aeterna Noctis</a>, riffs on a <a href="">Dead Cells</a>-style genre fusion, mixing <a href="">roguelite</a> elements into the tough <a href="">Metroidvania</a> structure of its predecessor for a game that doesn’t pull its punches. The result feels rough around the edges but it’s hard to deny that the gameplay feels pretty great.</p>
<p>Enemies hit hard, frequently gang up on you, and will almost assuredly send you back to the hub dozens of times before you manage to successfully complete a run. And while Summum Aeterna primarily demands dexterous skills to overcome its toughest challenges, you <em>do</em> have something to show for each failed run. You, of course, lose most of the upgrades you snagged while out and about, but every run will see you gaining currency and crafting materials that you can then reinvest into things like better stats and starting weapons. This meta-progression system thus ensures that you’ll always be making progress, even when you lose time after time.</p>
<p>In an interesting departure from similar games, Summum Aeterna also introduces a cool seed system for generating the world you run through each time. Before venturing out, you must first <em>create</em> the world by placing a seed in a machine that will generate it for you. Each seed is unique, spawns you in a different starting biome, and will have positive and negative modifiers that’ll change things like enemy health and the drop rate of certain rewards. Picking the right seed is thus as much a part of one’s strategy as deciding on a build, and we appreciated how this positively affects run diversity.</p>
<p>Controls are smooth and responsive, while weapon types feel genuinely distinct from each other and offer interesting twists on combat. A sword can be thrown and either quickly recalled or teleported elsewhere. The scythe, on the other hand, builds up Damage-over-Time debuffs on enemies with each hit which you can then trigger all at once. Moment-to-moment gameplay feels snappy and engaging, which encourages you to dare to try again.</p>
<p>The visuals feel like a cross between the illustrious <a href="" class="external">Castlevania: Symphony of the Night</a> and, of all things, <a href="">Child of Light</a>. Whether you’re exploring the shadowy reaches of a familiar-looking Gothic castle or the bright canal-bordered streets of a Venice-esque village, all environments feature a painterly, hand-drawn style that feels like a perfect fit for the somewhat dreamlike tone of Summum Aeterna.</p>
<p>Unfortunately, Summum Aeterna feels rather poor on the performance side of things. Luckily the frame drops here or there don’t affect things too much, but loading times can be pretty long and we had a few instances where the game outright crashed, ending promising runs and erasing some hard-won progress. Hopefully patches are forthcoming, as it feels like this could be an excellent addition to any roguelike fan’s Switch library with a little bit more elbow grease.</p>
<p>Launch instability issues aside, it may be a bit derivative, but Summum Aeterna ultimately ticks enough boxes to be worth your while. Smooth combat, tough difficulty, and an interesting seed system all come together to make this one worth investigating.</p>