Ah, yes, the days of grabbing the game cartridge and blowing on the inside, shaking it back and forth, inserting it into the console extra slow, or with extra force; the retro era of games was a time of frustration, but also one of magic. Lucky for us, there are some developers ready to tap into that old magic. From out of the shadows, an unknown French developer by the name of Jonathan Brassaud brings us a Metroidvania-style action-adventure platformer in the style of the days of the Super Nintendo titled Inexistence. Many games take a stab at recreating those days with 16-bit graphics and ruthless difficulty, but only time will tell if this one will truly succeed.
One of the most interesting aspects of Inexistence seems to be how it doesn’t attempt to reinvent the genre, but rather strives to encapsulate all the most fruitful core elements from games like Super Metroid, Mega Man, and especially Castlevania. In this sense, Inexistence becomes an ambitious Frankenstein’s monster of a game, all the while creating its own unique world to introduce new gamers to an older genre while reminding old gamers that they can still maintain that element of mystery and danger that used to pervade the days of the cartridge.
Right off, the game sets you up as Hald, a little boy who is determined to get to the bottom of things after his little sister is mysteriously kidnapped. Sure, the plot isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, but I don’t really think it’s trying to be.
The music, on the other hand, could use some work. By no means is it bad, but the game starts out with a mildly shrill tune that can get a little annoying after a while. In my opinion, a much more subtle and dark tune would augment the snowy and sullen atmosphere much more.
In its current state, the control scheme is also awkwardly set, but that can be fixed. Naturally, as an unfinished product, there are still some bugs and kinks to fix up here and there. Since Inexistence is still in beta, you can download the game for free via the Desura platform and directly send the developer your feedback to help point out any issues that may need fixing.
Visually, however, Inexistence is lovely. It excellently hearkens back to SNES-era with humble 16-bit sprites and environments. The wintry environment leaves a lot of room for some inventive scenarios, so hopefully Brassaud will take full advantage of the world he has created.
From a one-man team, this game is shaping out very nicely, and I’m interested in seeing the final product, but it’ll be very difficult to make it truly phenomenal without proper feedback. While our society has, fortunately, advanced past blowing into cartridges to make them work, we will never pass up a quality game. In all, Inexistence seems like it has a lot of potential, so you may want to help make this game as badass as it can be.