Solar Ash preview: Stunningly mysterious

Heart Machine showed me an early look at the endlessly stylish world of Solar Ash.

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Heart Machine’s Hyper Light Drifter was one of the pleasant surprises of 2016. With such an impressive debut, fans were excited to see what the developer’s sophomore debut would be. That project is Solar Ash, an action platformer that takes players through a series of mysterious environments. I had the chance to take an early look at Solar Ash ahead of its launch later this year.

To save the planet

In Solar Ash, players take on the role of Rei, a Voidrunner that’s on a mission to save her planet from total destruction. The Ultravoid is a being that’s already devoured a number of worlds, and has Rei’s home planet in its sights for its next meal. During my preview, I got to learn more about the story and universe in Solar Ash.

An interesting point that the developers made during my preview was that they don’t want to give players the answer to every question they have. The world of Solar Ash is wildly unique, with hyper-stylized environments and an equally vast array of characters and creatures. Players will have the opportunity to explore and discover more details about the universe and the beings that inhabit it, but a lot of it will be left up to their own interpretation. A part of keeping the mystery means leaving some loose ends untied.

That said, players will still have plenty to learn when making their way through Solar Ash. Heart Machine promises a roster of endearing characters, and I got a glimpse at this when watching a developer play through the game. The developers look to deliver a game with large scale in Solar Ash, and the world design is a key aspect of accomplishing that.

High-speed traversal

Solar Ash is an action platformer, and will task players with traversing a diverse range of environments while taking out enemies. During my preview, the developers stressed that fluidity in movement was a major point of emphasis during the game’s development. As a Voidrunner, Rei is fast and agile, grinding rails and leaping across large voids to reach new areas. In addition to combat, movement and platforming will be key in Solar Ash.

There are a number of different enemies that players will encounter as they progress through Solar Ash. As they get further into the game, they’ll meet more dark and twisted creatures. I saw a developer take on a massive creature during my preview, using their platforming and combat skills in tandem in order to take it down.

Racing against time

Though it’s hard to have a definitive opinion before getting to play myself, I was pretty impressed with what I saw in Solar Ash. It’s exciting to see Heart Machine making the jump from 2D to 3D, and with Annapurna publishing, you can almost always guarantee something unique. Solar Ash is set to launch later this year for PS4, PS5, and PC.

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_

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