Asterigos Preview: Gameplay And Hands-On Impressions – A few days ago, I was given a chance to try out the demo of Asterigos: Curse of the Stars, which is a Fantasy Action-Adventure RPG developed by newcomer Acme Gamestudio and published by tinyBuild, the latter of which is popular for titles including Graveyard Keeper and Hello Neighbor. But the game they intend to release plays differently this time around in terms of exploration and combat.
In this Asterigos Preview: Gameplay and Hands-On Impressions, we will dive into the world of Hilda as she embarks on a quest to explore the cursed city of Aphes, apply the skills and talents available to her, understand the combat mechanics, and much more! It will be fully available on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation in the Fall of 2022.
Asterigos Preview: Gameplay And Hands-On Impressions
- Name: Asterigos: Curse of the Stars
- Platforms: PC, Xbox, PlayStation
- Developer: Acme Gamestudio
- Publisher: tinyBuild
- Release Date: Fall 2022
- Genre: Fantasy Action-Adventure RPG
Asterigos Preview – Story And Exploration
Asterigos: Curse of the Stars is a fantasy action-adventure RPG predominantly set in the cursed and mysterious city of Aphes. You play as Hilda who is on a journey to follow in the footsteps of her father and to learn about his whereabouts as well as the team behind Operation Ashwind. The game starts with a simple conversation between her and her father as she tries to convince him to take part in a secret mission. What it entails exactly is not touched upon but you do get the idea that this is dangerous since it requires the participation of elite warriors. Hilda then wakes up only to spring into action at once.
In the demo of Asterigos, you will only be able to gain access to the main journal pieces scattered around the roads and gates of Aphes upon exploration. You ought to also interact with documents that give you a glimpse of what life was like in the ‘Outerrim’ as they call it or the city’s outskirts. After a few minutes, you find out about the picture painted by the notes you collect – how Aphes was once a golden land with rumors of treasures.
This reached the ears of outsiders who were ready to plunder it. However, they failed to do so when the bridge leading to the city was cut off to prevent an invasion. They either perished at the hands of beasts in the Outerrim or succumbed to an overpowering curse.
Now in addition to these documents, there are other artifacts such as Echoes to help you piece together the story. There are also Songs but these cannot be accessed in the demo so it remains to be seen what it brings to the table that the other Archives do not provide. Going back to exploration (and the overall gameplay), I encountered optimization and tearing issues. Turning on V-Sync, tweaking the Max FPS, and setting the Display Mode to Fullscreen in-game did not resolve this nor did manually activating V-Sync on NVIDIA. So hopefully it will be resolved by launch time.
Asterigos Preview – Gameplay Features
In Asterigos, there is no Character Creation because you will only take the shoes of the main character, Hilda. The gameplay loop is pretty much straightforward where you explore Outerrim until you reach Aspes and then grab every item and note lying around in your path. You also unlock chests to acquire better equipment including trinkets and fight any monsters who seek to slow you down. When you kill them, you obtain Starite Ore Fragment. As described, this material should be processed but I’m not yet sure what it signifies, that is, if it will be used to upgrade or craft weapons, outfits, and trinkets.
Moreover, the game does not have a map but you will not get lost since the path is linear. There are even blue fish symbols on the wall and the ground to indicate where you ought to go next. As Hilda discovers stories about Aspes and its inhabitants, more drawings will be sketched and revealed in her diary.
Asterigos Preview – Attributes and Skills
Upon killing hostile creatures and bosses, Hilda gains experience to level up. She then obtains Attribute and Talent Points alongside this. Attributes are divided into three main stats – you have Precision to increase your damage using any attack, Constitution to boost your max HP, and finally, Arcane to improve your Skill Damage Rate and Astral Recover Rate. Skill Damage Rate pertains to how fast your AP regenerates as a result of using normal skills and slaying enemies. Astral Recover Rate, on the other hand, refers to the extra damage you inflict with skills, which are considered special abilities.
Before you can allocate points to Talents, you must set your skills. These are gained from the weapons you are currently wielding and standard ones you acquire as you progress further in the game. It’s essential to remember that similar to Stranger of Paradise, you are able to freely swap between two weapons during combat. If you are using an Xbox Controller, you will only make use of RB, LB, RT, and LT to activate both weapons’ attacks and techniques. Attacks are your basic moves whereas techniques are specific effects of the weapons you are using.
For instance, the Sword & Shield allows you to block incoming attacks but you will have to spend additional SP whereas Dual Daggers lets you quickly charge towards targets while remaining semi-invulnerable in the process.
Asterigos Preview – Augmentations and Perks
In the demo, at least 1 skill per weapon and for Hilda has been provided. For Hilda, it was the Stormbreaker, which deals massive damage against multiple creatures at the same time, much like how Cleave works. After placing these in their respective buttons, you will now be able to invest in Augmentations and Perks as part of a larger constellation under the Talent Points section. You can do this by moving your cursor to select yellow points connected to the middle star.
Some examples of Talents include Rocksteady, which lets you solidify your stance to reduce the chances of being interrupted while executing an attack, and Swift Shadows to reduce the SP cost of Rolling and Dodging.
When you reach certain endpoints, you can also gain access to Perks. The drawback to these, however, is that unlike Augmentations, they come with a cost. For instance, the Potion Knowledge Perk lets the Salve regenerate a huge chunk of HP but the number of Salves you carry would be drastically reduced. To equip Perks, go to the Setting Perks section and then select them.
It seems like Skills, Augmentations, and Perks make for interesting build combinations because changing one of them can alter Hilda’s playstyle. However, it’s also too soon to say given that the demo is only about 1-2 hours. If the team manages to pull this off seamlessly then the experience would be richer.
Asterigos Preview – Equipment
When it comes to equipment, Hilda has 6 weapon types to switch from, 4 trinket slots, 3 quick item slots for potions, and an outfit. Some of them like the outfit, are ambiguous because there are no additional details if it will increase your character’s resistance against certain damage types or not. Instead, a loose description of what it generally does is indicated.
Additionally, in terms of the weapons, it’s also unclear if we will be able to upgrade them or if they are even subjected to enhancements either. Will there be legendary weapons that we can loot or craft? We will hopefully have more answers in the coming months. Meanwhile, trinkets provide damage reduction against Strike or Thrust as well as elemental ones like Fire and Thunder.
Next, let’s go through the 6 weapon types. By default, you start with the Sword & Shield that lets Hilda deal damage while protecting herself from taking attacks thanks to the Shield. Because of the hybrid functionality, it’s not as potent as the other weapons damage-wise. Second is the Hammer, which inflicts huge damage against multiple targets in a single swipe. It also lets her effortlessly charge toward them. Third is the Dual Daggers that help boost Hilda’s mobility and evasion skills while quickly darting from one enemy to the next. Having Daggers in your inventory is also enough to open chests, meaning, you do not need to have them equipped.
Fourth is the Spear, which compared to the previous 3 weapons, has a far better range and can parry enemy attacks. Doing so will allow her to initiate a counterattack soon after to potentially knock them down. Fifth is the Staff to perform highly effective ranged attacks with spells. And finally, there is the Bracelets that lets Hilda set magical landmines on the ground to debilitate enemies.
Asterigos Preview – Combat And Difficulty
Asterigos is inspired by Soulslike titles when battling monsters and bosses. When the game launches in the Fall, you can expect to hack and slash about 60 creatures as well as 22 bosses. In the demo, I was able to best both bosses, namely Raveneous the Devourer and Bion. At times the combat felt fluid although this isn’t always the case, especially against tougher enemies. These encounters sometimes feel floaty and inconsistent because your weapons don’t always seem to hit them. On your end, incoming attacks can similarly feel light since there is not much weight or impact in some of their weapons.
But since the demo is still in Alpha, then perhaps these concerns will be ironed out in time for the game’s release. On the good side of it, however, is the flashy and quick combat together with the responsiveness of the skills the moment you use them.
Others may also find the activation of special skills a bit awkward where you need to initially press B before combining it with RB, LB, RT, and LT since B is usually used for Dodging in other games. Whereas other titles like Stranger of Paradise allow you to place combos in the same button patterns to execute different types of abilities. It’s also quite different to press and hold X and then A to initiate Jump rather than pressing A from the get-go but ultimately, it’s a matter of preference. Hopefully, there will be an option to tweak the controls in the future.
Should you die in any encounter, you will be teleported to the nearest Conduit or rest point. This lets you restore HP but at the cost of respawning the enemies you have fought beforehand. Now if you find combat too tough, you can change the difficulty at any point in the game, however, doing so will restart your journey. I’m not sure if this is only for the demo or if Acme intends to implement this in the full game. The three modes are Story, Adventure, and Challenge. For those who are Soulslike fans then Challenge Mode might be up your alley.
Audio and Visuals
Asterigos presents a poignant tone, which is similar to the likes of Praey for the Gods. You are alone in the land of the fallen with barely any humans in sight who can provide you with any guidance. Right from the get-go, you cannot help but feel the isolation the game embraces you in part because of its music. It depicts a forlorn melody of the trappings of someone who is seemingly the only survivor capable of finding out what really happened to the once beautiful Aphes.
But the same could not be said for the weapons’ sound effects, which are not balanced. One weapon such as the Bracelets sounds much more impactful compared to the weak clink of the Sword & Shield when the latter hits the enemy. Another thing that strikes me as strange sometimes is you physically won’t be able to move forward while you are vocalizing your thoughts, which adds unnecessary exploration time. It usually happens when a milestone is reached or when you discover something new.
You can of course skip this bit entirely but you lose out on character development. However, I also imagine that since this is still the Alpha Stage, improvements on both the sound effects and vocalization will be made before the launch.
When it comes to visuals, Asterigos is reminiscent of Kena: Bridge of Spirits in terms of the Pixar-like styles, character and environmental-wise. This is due to their bright, cool colors and detailed textures that make them pop out. The game is not as picturesque as one would expect in animated movies and certainly requires polishing but it looks like it’s getting there.
Asterigos: Curse of the Stars is a fantasy action-adventure RPG that entices you to explore the once beautiful fallen city of Aspes in order to investigate the incidents that have led to its downfall. Its wonderful aesthetics, interesting story, fast-paced combat, and possible build combinations are what will pull players in. Although the game’s systems are simple compared to other Soulslike titles, this has the potential to rise above its predecessors. But it will require more time and refinement before that happens.
If you have been wanting to play something similar to Praey for the Gods or Kena: Bridge of Spirits to scratch the itch, then this RPG may just be the one for you. Asterigos will be available in the Fall of 2022. The price has yet to be disclosed.
What are your thoughts about this Asterigos Preview? Let us know in the comments below! Catch more hands-on impressions in our latest previews and overviews Warhammer 40000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters Overview and Elder Scrolls Online High Isle: Hands-On Preview & Impressions.