Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards by Digitart Interactive is a top-down action RPG that focuses on the child of the Goddess of the Earth, Pachamama. Learn more in our Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards review!
Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards by Digitart Interactive is a top-down action RPG that focuses on the child of the Goddess of the Earth, Pachamama. The story starts with a greatly animated cutscene telling you about how Aluna was born the daughter of the Goddess of the Earth, Pachamama, and how she sacrificed herself to save her daughter. With her sacrifice, her heart separated itself into multiple shards that were scattered around the world, with Aluna having one of the pieces that gives her a bit of her mother’s powers. The story then sees you talking with your mother’s spirit as she senses an evil presence in the jungle. As she asks you to find the missing shards to restore her power to help locate this evil force, a monkey comes by, stealing your necklace with the shard and fleeing into the jungle. You’ll have to venture into the jungle to get it back, which will only be the beginning of your quest as you’ll discover more about those evil forces lurking around.
The left analog stick will allow you to move around as you use the right one to do a dodge roll in the direction you press it. The X button will be used for interactions and for your default skill to attack enemies, which is also the attack that will replenish your mana points. The rest of the face buttons, as well as the R1 and R2 buttons, will be used for skills that you can equip as you progress through the game and learn them. Those skills will consume mana and will sometimes be available for specific weapon types, thus making them useless if you happen to change your weapon. The L2 button will be used for your health potion, while the touchpad will bring up your inventory.
In typical hack’ n slash action RPG fashion, you will find an incredible amount of loot as you fight your enemies, a lot of it being new weapons or armor parts that you can equip. When looking in your inventory, you’ll get the details of how those parts can augment or reduce certain of your stats so that you can choose which you’d prefer for your build. As your character levels up, you’ll earn skill points that you’ll be able to spend in another tab of your inventory in order to learn new skills to attack or passive ones that will always benefit your character once obtained.
Visually, the game has some nice environments with an Incan influence that gives us a more colorful presentation, which is an interesting change from the darker tone of other popular games in the genre – looking at you, Diablo. The cutscenes that show up from time to time at certain points in the story are also incredibly beautiful and fun to watch, helping to flesh out the story in the process.
After watching the beautiful cutscene, I was more than happy to jump into a hack ‘n slash that wasn’t only about demons. The thing with the monkey stealing the shard felt a bit weird, as I would expect someone with a magical shard around her neck to protect it a bit more than that. But the story evolved into something better with the spirit of an evil still looming over the lands and his clan, the Jivaro, trying to attack Aluna’s village and unfolding some evil plans that you’ll discover as you progress.
In terms of gameplay, I definitely enjoyed my time with the game, although it didn’t feel as polished as a AAA title in the genre, which is to be expected given the budget price for Aluna. You could feel the attacks being a bit sluggish when you do them, but the one thing that annoyed me the most was the dodge roll. I would’ve thought that pointing the right analog stick in a direction would make Aluna roll that way, but most of the time, the roll was performed about 20 degrees off of the direction I aimed for, making it a bit annoying when trying to evade attacks.
As for the trophies, the list is surprisingly not impossible for the type of game you’ll take on, considering that you can adjust to any difficulty setting – although easier difficulties make legendary loot drops more scarce. A lot of the trophies are tied to the story, a few others to some grinding since you have to reach level 70 and obtain all skills in the three skill trees. The rest will unlock when completing a few specific actions, so as long as you read the trophy descriptions, you’ll know what needs to be done.
Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards is a decent hack ‘n slash game with a few caveats, but it’s definitely enjoyable considering its low price tag of only $9.99 on PlayStation 4. Fans of the genre should be able to appreciate it, warts and all, and newcomers will be tempted to jump into the genre thanks to its affordable price.
This Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided Digitart Interactive.