HomeReviewsGame ReviewsThe Tarnishing of Juxtia Review: a soulslike in pixel art

The Tarnishing of Juxtia Review: a soulslike in pixel art

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A soulslike in pixel art that does not want to innovate but still manages to give us a few hours of fun with a good combat system.

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Talking about the soulslike phenomenon and how much FromSoftware has influenced a number of independent developers has become obvious and redundant. The success obtained by the Japanese software house has caused an increase in fans and professionals eager to get closer to results joined by Miyazaki. As many are today’s attempts to create a mixture of genres that can try to give birth to a new playful current following the soulslike model.

Well, with that deep nostalgia of the 80s and 90s, here we find in our hands video games with a high level of difficulty, an exquisitely retro style and the recovery of some elements of platforming and side scrolling that converge to give life to something new. Among these we also find The Tarnishing of Juxtiadeveloped by Actual Nerds and available on PC, now we want to talk to you in detail.

The mephitic Tarnishing of Delium

The Tarnishing of Juxtia ties in for its sombre style and dark setting to titles like Hollow Knight and Salt & Sanctuary (by the way, here is the review of the sequel, Salt & Sacrifice), sharing that desire to sour the protagonist’s journey in different ways. Fortunately for him, Actual Nerds’ journey boasts other characteristics that need to be talked about.

Among these certainly we do not include the semi-vague narrativewhich is in fact a typical trait of soulslike, ready to let us understand how the apocalypse has plunged the world into darkness, because it is populated by deadly beings armed to the teeth. It is up to us to delve into these shadows left to proliferate by supernatural entities, which spawned monsters eager to bring us down. Let’s be clear right from the start: The Tarninshing of Juxtia doesn’t try to do anything new compared to what we’ve seen in other productions and we wouldn’t exactly call it generous when it comes to longevity. The adventure in fact lasts about eight hourswhich on the one hand could be positive for those looking for a faster and not (too) difficult experience but on the other hand it could be a bit unpleasant, because, thanks to the changes made to some mechanics typical of soulslike, this journey could entertain you more than expected.

The chosen one

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In the shoes of a skilled fighter chosen one of the goddess Juxtia and able to handle any weapon, you can open chests or collect any drops from opponents, which will clearly pass to a better life in clashes that will see you use basic attacks, magic and the inevitable somersaults to dodge the dangers. The UI instead is limited to showing the bar of health, stamina and mana, with the latter that will gradually recharge after performing the spells.

The stamina that regulates the possible combos and health can be regenerated either thanks to bandages, which in this case replace the famous flasks, or by resting at the fountains, which are the equivalent of bonfires. Despite having a large arsenal at our disposal, which will allow us to vary the offensive to the sound of slashing greatswords and thrusting spears, we found the attack combinations a bit limited and sometimes cumbersome, although the mix between dodging and well-aimed blows allows us to have the upper hand even about the seemingly unstoppable abominations. Fortunately, the playful recipe is embellished from what is in effect a frenzy statuswhich unlocks after hitting enemies a certain number of times, indicated at the bottom of the screen with diamonds to fill.

When the figures are complete, the warrior will gain a stat bonus that will allow him to unleash more powerful attacks, both from a magical and physical point of view. A small addition, but undoubtedly welcome, which pushes the player to ring as many combos as possible and therefore removes him from adopting passive and wait-and-see strategies.

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Because while it is true that your spells will have a wide range, reducing Jixtia’s abilities to those of a novice wizard is not the best idea, especially when confronted with opponents who can move quickly or even. through the use of teleportation.

The soul and rune of the fighter

Actually swinging swipes left and right could lead you to one premature death, as well as to lose that currency that you will collect every time you defeat an opponent. The souls, which can clearly be recovered by reaching the point where they were left by the fallen fighter, are used exclusively for leveling up and cannot be exploited in other ways. As for the fountains, Actual Nerds has scattered a good number of them on the map, trying to be kind to newbies and to limit the punitive experience. That said, only the bigger ones will allow you to enhance the characterwhile the smaller ones are limited to regenerating healing items and recharging the warrior’s energy.

To increase the depth of the gameplay and the battle system we think the gifts we will receive from the defeated bosses: we will be able to activate skills cannot be used in quick succession, due to the sustained cooldown times, but which proved to be very useful for triumphing in battle. We will also have amulets that will change our stats and not just for the good.

In fact, we are talking about the integration of buffs and debuffs that should not be underestimated, a trait that calls to choose the right compromise to find in order not to transform possible benefits into annoying inconveniences. On the purely strategic front, in short, the adventure try to provide as many paths as possibleleaving the player the total freedom to build an ad hoc build and to choose how to continue to reach his ultimate goal: to break through the troops of Drelium and put an end to the darkness that has fallen upon the realm.

A platform war

We now come to what is the mixture of elements to which we referred earlier. Actual Nerds has combined combat in the wake of soulslike exploration typical of platformers, sharpening the verticality of the 2D side-scrolling environment, so as to allow the hero on duty to search for hidden passages or activate useful shortcuts.

It is just a pity that the experience is characterized by a certain basic simplicity on the structural front. We are talking about a limited number of optional rooms and secondary bosses guarding valuable itemsas well as alternative routes always beautiful to see, thanks to the good artistic direction, but which are exhausted in a few steps.

Speaking of aesthetic presentation, both the warrior’s equipment pieces and the opponents we are going to face, they turned out to be pleasing to the eye, thanks to an always attractive design. In particular, the enemies fight cunningly and know when is the right time to launch a fearsome offensive or when to resort to providential dodges. The boss battles are also enjoyable (even the introductory ones), which saw us memorize the attack patterns of fearsome opponents and then launch us into a tense and satisfying action.

The Tarnishing of Juxtia
The Tarnishing of JuxtiaPC Analyzed VersionThe Tarnishing of Juxtia is not a title that shines for originality, especially in what is a scene already full of soulslike and products ready to mimic its main features. Yet in its proposing already known but not trivial gameplay mechanics, it offers a playful experience that manages to entertain, thanks to very engaging boss fights and an effective artistic direction. In short, if you want to experience a journey full of arduous and exciting challenges, you should take it into consideration.

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