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Recompile digitises the Metroidvania genre next year

Still screenshots don’t do upcoming 3D metroidvania Recompile much justice. You might get a feel for the scale of the Tron-like virtual world developers Phigames have built, but it can’t convey the mad, wibbly glitch effects that fade as the world reassembles itself, Bastion-style. It’s hard to even get a handle on what its protagonist looks like in stills – a humanoid form made from searing hot-looking particles that are lost and restored as they move. So, it’s probably best you look at the debut trailer below, because it’s rather pretty, although sadly not due until next year.

Its developers reckon there’s a bit more to Recompile than pretty effects. Unusually for the genre, there’s a branching story, telling the tale of a sentient virus (the player character) trying to escape deletion. Combat, what they’ve shown so far, is a pleasantly zappy bit of third-person shootery. The player’s little rapid-fire rifle is perhaps a bit boring, but the other abilities look fun. There’s a likeably swooshy air-dash, and it looks like this little glitch-person has been taking notes, as I see a somersault that reminds me of Super Metroid’s classic Screw Attack.

Puzzles will be a little different from metroidvania standard in Recompile too. Many of the puzzle elements are controlled by logic gates drawn on the ground, and the player is able to enter a special hacking mode to manipulate how the data flows. I’m curious to see how deep this goes – just ticking all the boxes on AND gates seems simple enough, but add a few XOR and NAND gates and I could see some fun brain-teasers emerging. It’s not just the puzzle blocks that can be hacked, either – some enemies can be tinkered with, befitting the player’s role as a piece of rogue code.

Recompile is due out sometime in 2020. You can keep track of the game on its Steam page here. It’s to be published by Dear Villagers, formerly known as Playdius. You can see some more details on the developer’s page here, including a technical breakdown on how that deliciously glitchy terrain is rendered.

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Dominic Tarason

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