Have You Played… Aztez?


Maybe you heard the story. An indie darling in 2012, eventually released into a changed world in 2017, commercial disaster and, at least, widespread coverage of said disaster after the fact.

I played Aztez; I gave it a few paragraphs in our weekly Unknown Pleasures round-up, genuinely unaware of how bright its light had once been and thinking of it as just another cool under-the-radar 2017 game. It was pretty good.

Pretty good isn’t often enough for a break-out hit these days, of course, but more than that I think Aztez didn’t quite live up to the bright promise that, checking our archives, it had half a decade ago. The complexity of its combo system certainly meant some sights to behold, and I think it pays off in that respect for people who want it for that respect:

I’m not sure the black and white and red all over art style is anything like as striking this late in the day, however – the monochromatic action game is a more familiar sight now – and I found the boardgamish campaign structure to be a little listless. Something that took five years to make probably shouldn’t fall out of one’s head quite so readily.

But the fighting was good, and I really do hate to see anything made with the right intentions fail. I hope it’s found its crowd, whether small or otherwise.


  1. Turkey says:

    Maybe they should try to get a Nintendo Switch deal before that marketplace gets overcrowded with indie games too. Seems like an better fit, anyway.

  2. Vilos Cohaagen says:

    the problem for me was that the game concept just didn’t appeal. The art style is lovely but I didn’t want to play a beat em up with combos mixed with strategy. I like strategy but not beat em ups. I imagine it fell between two stools for many people. Add to that the vastly different market in the 5 years it took them and it was always going to be tough.

    • Nauallis says:

      “Falling between two stools” is a remarkably weird way to mark time. Original though, I’ll give you that.

      • fuggles says:

        It’s not a way to mark time, he means it does two different game types, neither of which appeals to many people in combination. As such if you like one part, you may not like the other – think chess boxing.

        • Vilos Cohaagen says:

          fuggles is correct. It’s an English saying that means neither one thing or another.

          • Nauallis says:

            Yes, duh. Stools in the sense of defecation, but the malaprop wordplay was apparently only funny to me.

            Be facetious, folks!

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    Drib says:

    Can’t speak to this game itself or the controversy over it, that I’ve never heard of, but the art style sure looks cool.

    • dontnormally says:

      There wasn’t any controversy it just sold poorly.

      • Baines says:

        The “controversy” is probably in reference to the Engaget piece linked above by Alec.

        It wasn’t a controversy, but it drew some mixed reactions for various (not controversial) reasons. Which some that thought the article was great might feel was controversial.

  4. mukuste says:

    I actually hadn’t heard that this did so poorly. Bit of a shame. I still want to play it (from what I’ve read, the combat parts are basically “Bayonetta – The Side Scroller”, and Bayonetta is one of the best action games ever made), but the apparently pointless strategy metagame put me off of getting it so far.

  5. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    The black and white aesthetic is nice, but a bit.. opaque? Or perhaps stark is a better word.

    I haven’t played it, and I was interested in it. But what I got from the embedded gameplay video was that the combat feels bullet-spongey (except.. without bullets. You know what I mean). You know, unlike something like one-finger death punch. I’m not sure how common that is in the genre, this isn’t exactly a fighting game where you face equal opponents and given the effects make your attacks feel like they should do more than just toss the opponents about. I don’t know, it just makes me feel as if the attacks are less weighty than I’d like them to be.