The universe hides more secrets than we could even fathom and more space than we could ever hope to explore. Evan Kice decided to share their ideas for what could be lurking between them with Afterplace. This is a top-down 2D RPG taking place in a mysterious land full of monsters and mysteries. You use touch controls to guide the hero around the wilderness, towns, and structures all the while using taps to dodge and fight. With little information to go on, you need to rely on innate curiosity and perseverance to figure things out and do what's required.
With the possibility of infinite dimensions out there, there are even more possible stories out there. Afterplace is just focusing on one such place and one such story. You take on the role of an unknown kid who wakes up in a strange place, referred to by locals as simply "the island". You learn that all sorts of beings and creatures have slipped through the cracks of the universe to end up on the island with no way to leave. Guided by a mysterious voice and your own curiosity, you must help the child fight their way to the truth and hopefully find a way back to their own world. If that's not enough to drive you forward, the idea around what the island is will.
Whenever you end up in a strange place, ideally you'd want to find ways to make yourself comfortable as you figure out how to spend your time. Afterplace definitely gives you comfort and excitement. The first is the game’s minimalist nature. So many questions are asked when you start up the game, but this provides the whole reason to play. You wake up in the middle of nowhere and start wandering around. You meet random characters, learn the basics, and are swinging at slimes with the best of them. The more you learn about the world, the more curious you get while it feeds your sense of wonder.
Since the story doesn't rely heavily on words to fill you in, the aesthetics really shine. The pixel graphics are refined and detailed with colours that blend smoothly into each other. Any sort of animation is simple but clear enough to convey the actions and reactions clearly. Whenever you speak to a character, they generally have extensive dialogue to give the sense of a more natural character and don't often repeat themselves. The music is truly notable for being effective at creating a distinct atmosphere in each area with certain sections having a distinct lack of it to further create an eerie or ominous feeling.
It's also a fairly challenging game where combat is mainly about quick movements and counterattacks. The range of enemy designs is also impressive and you never know exactly what you're in for. You also don't know exactly what you're dealing with until they decide to attack, so you'll need to stay on your toes.
Nowhere is perfect and even your home can have things that create discomfort. Afterplace is the same way. The main issue is its open-ended nature in that it can be too vague in its objectives. The good news is there's always something to be gained while exploring, but some players may just want to focus on the main quest, which is not always clear-cut. For how responsive you need to be in combat, it can take some time to get a hand for the controls. They're generally responsive, but you really need to control your slides and taps otherwise you risk getting knocked out in a matter of seconds.
Afterplace is a mysterious 2D pixel adventure with a nice balance between story, combat, and exploration. The mystery of the setting drives you, as does the variety of characters and enemies that pose a solid challenge, with wonderful visuals and music to support it all. You may need to get a good feel for the controls and overcome a lack of direction to improve playing though. If you do, you may find yourself never wanting to leave Afterplace.
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