Supraland review: It's a small world after all

Supraland is a metroidvania puzzle game from Supra games that is finally making its way to consoles. Our review.

4

Supra Games specializes in titles based around simplistic stick figure characters. Whether they’re fighting monsters or playing sports, these characters are present in both past and upcoming releases from the German developer. Supra Games’ latest title is its most ambitious, putting players in a massive sandbox full of possibilities. Supraland originally released on PC back in 2019, and has now made its way to home consoles.

Little big planet

Supraland plops players into a small world that’s much larger than it seems. Controlled by kids playing in their backyard, your character is tiny, making the world around them massive by comparison. Supraland goes light on story, giving you some minimal setup, as well as an ultimate goal. Other than that, players are left to their own devices in this sprawling map. 

Supraland is about the most “sandbox” a game can get, which explains why the campaign is a bit barebones. Players carve their own narrative. By going and doing just about anything they desire. Games like this can feel a bit lazy, but Supraland is able to succeed because there’s simply so much to do and see. Whenever I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next, there was always something interesting or worth checking out right around the corner.

After being given your initial quest, players embark on a grand journey across the sandbox. This is when Supraland’s wonderful sense of discovery comes into play. You come across so many random events, characters, and locations on your way to reach the Blue Kingdom. The world of Supraland is also heavy on humor. I mean, it is based on a child’s imagination.

A melting pot

Even the developers behind Supraland struggle to nail the game down to just one or two genres. It’s commonly defined as a metroidvania puzzler, but also features elements of RPGs. The developers also describe the game as a cross between Portal, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid. These influences were quite apparent as I progressed through the game. 

Blending a number of genres and styles together makes Supraland feel like a hodgepodge of a product, but a glorious hodgepodge indeed. This is because the game’s various elements all feel well-executed and implemented into the game independently. Exploding groups of enemies with energy blasts feels just as satisfying as going sword-to-sword in old-fashioned combat. 

This vast open world and melting pot of elements also makes Supraland ripe for environmental puzzles. The game is filled with puzzles that become increasingly inventive as the game goes on. As players acquire more abilities and items, they’ll be forced to think more critically when approaching a given puzzle in the world. Supraland’s biggest accomplishment is being able to balance it’s three gameplay pillars of exploration, combat, and puzzles.

A new world

Playing on Xbox One S, I was impressed at how solid the game played and felt on the modern console. Despite there being a huge game world with a large number of characters, structures, and items on screen, I rarely ran into hiccups and performance issues. The console version of the game also integrates controller vibration, which adds a level of authenticity to combat and action.

With Supraland taking place over a sprawling world, there’s a wide range of locations and areas to come across. I was impressed with the variety on display with the different towns and biomes in the backyard sandbox. This is evident in areas like Carrot Town and Blue ville. In a game that promotes players to endlessly explore and discover, it’s important that the locations don’t all feel the same.

The adventure ends

Published by Humble Games, Supraland is simply one of the best sandbox games I’ve ever played. It perfectly embodies the term, letting players define their experience. The only shortcomings in this title are some generic and lackluster character and item designs, but that’s a nitpick when stacked against everything Supraland has to offer. The gameplay feels like a love letter to a laundry list of classic games, doing justice to all of them. Supraland is a must-play game for fans of the open world.


This review is based on a digital download code provided by the publisher. Supraland is available now on PC, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One for $19.99

Contributing Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

Review for
Supraland
9
Pros
  • Endless ways to play
  • Creative puzzles
  • Great blending of gameplay mechanics
  • Discovery and exploration feel natural
Cons
  • Character design and world aesthetic can feel bland
From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 23, 2020 5:00 PM

    Donovan Erskine posted a new article, Supraland review: It's a small world after all

    • reply
      October 24, 2020 4:18 AM

      Been waiting for this to come to consoles, excited to play it.

      • reply
        October 24, 2020 5:50 AM

        So that's why this is getting reviewed now, I was confused because Steam indicated that I finished the game in July of last year. I see there's DLC now too. The base game was fun but I can't say I'm all that interested in revisiting it over a year later.

        • reply
          October 24, 2020 5:51 AM

          Yeah I think because it's a smaller team they didn't have the capacity to do multiple versions at once. I held off because I wanted to play in on the couch.

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