Developed and published by Supra Games, Supraland is self described as a mix of Portal, Zelda and Metroid, ostensibly Supraland is an action adventure game, set in an imaginary fantasy world, I know fantasy generally alludes to being imaginary as well, but in this case I think it’s apt to describe as such.
The story of Supraland is by design very minimal, through visuals alone the overarching story is that a child is playing with toys and has set up an expansive world for his little characters to explore, from the point of view of your character however, the game starts off with a mission to find out why the Red village’s water system is not working, during this tutorial mission you will find that a rival Blue village exists, and an uneasy existence between the two sets off your journey, from this point the world opens up to you and you can explore and gain skills for further exploration at your leisure.
This is where Supraland really shines, the game is played from the first person perspective and gives you the ability to jump, crouch and run from the outset, shortly after you will also gain a sword (because it’s dangerous to go alone), and your adventure will begin in earnest, there are tons of secrets to find, coins to collect, enemies to fight, puzzles to solve and new abilities to learn.
Supraland uses an interesting system for ability unlocks, in that you need to solve
puzzles to find barrels which can then be brought back to the shop to unlock the new ability for purchase, it’s a system that really rewards exploration, which is a key feature of the game, for instance at the start, before finding any barrels, you can purchase a speed up power up, when you have this there is a very simple “puzzle” you can solve nearby, there is a button, a cable and a door, when you press the button the door at the end of the cable opens, and with your improved speed you can enter the room before it closes so you can open the chest that resides inside.
For the most part each ability will allow you to access formally inaccessible locations to explore, (I say for the most part, because some upgrades are just for more health/strength), double jump, triple jump, force cube, these are just a few of the upgrades you will unlock to allow you to solve more puzzles and improve your hero.
The secrets you find and puzzles you solve don’t always lead to barrels though, s
ometimes you will find coins which you can use to actually purchase the upgrades, and other times you will find instant upgrades, such as improved health or the ability to see enemy healthbars.
Supraland also limits the amount of coins you can collect, and much like some of the Zelda titles, there are items/upgrades that cost more than you can carry, the solution to this is to purchase a limit increase from the shop so you can carry enough coins to buy these upgrades, in similar fashion to the improved wallets from the Zelda series.
As mentioned earlier, the game is set in a child’s play area, with the characters being sort of plastic or playdo figures, essentially the shape of the basic people you see on signs or bathroom doors, you can even see the outlines scattered around to further prove that they were just cut out using a stencil or something along those lines, outside of the characters, the world is quite cute and has crystals and rainbows in the distance, rock walls, gorges, mountains etc. it also has a few nice touches dotted around such as a pencil and eraser in the first village which both remind you of the setting and allow some scale for your characters and a (to you) giant chair which takes a lot to climb.
Both the art style and the actual visuals I found to be quite nice, they suit the tone of the game and are pleasant, even the little enemies you fight are somewhat adorable, such as little skeleton guys with tiny bodies and large heads.
The music in Supraland, much like the visuals and story, is relatively minimal, but pleasant, mostly folky adventure type stuff, nothing as memorable as the Zelda series and for the most part I forgot that there even was music, which says more about the addictive gameplay than it does about the music, the sound effects are fun and chipper too, with the swing of your sword, the little moan of effort from jumping, the crackle of your force cube loading and plenty more, most of all I found the coin collecting noise to be very satisfying, a very Mario styled chime.
Supraland boasts some of the biggest and most beloved game series amongst its influences, and definitely contains elements from them, such as Portal like puzzle solving, Metroid Prime styled secrets, and later on a projectile weapon similar to Samus’ arm gun, and even non linearity from Zelda Breath of the Wild (also you can drop the force cube on enemies heads just like in BotW), however even with the amount of similarities to other titles, it never came across to me as smashing multiple games together, rather it was taking influences and creating something new, something of their own, something undeniably fun.
Supraland is an ambitious game to incorporate as many things as they have, but the skill and imagination of the developers shines through, even in something as subtle as the multiple uses of the force cube, the force cube is a purple cube that you can summon at will, you can use it to activate pressure sensors to hold down buttons, you can summon it underneath you to raise you up to access higher places, as mentioned before you can drop it on enemies as another method of attack, and while you hold the button down to select where to summon the cube you create a glowing firework icon that can also be used to light dark places, puzzles have multiple answers to solve them and for a puzzle exploration game, that’s the best thing you can ask for.
Rating: 9/10 – Incredibly fun, imaginative, inventive, indie.
Genre: Adventure, Action, Puzzle
Developer: Supra Games
Publisher: Supra Games
Release Date: 5 Apr, 2019