reviewed Sanctuarium Online
Very cool game! Really recommend it, one of my top of 2022.
I love the camera-switching mechanic. The game puts you in what amounts to a platforming level, but the perspective makes it look like a world map out of Shin Megami Tensei 4/3, sim city, etc.
You can switch between a zoomed-out 3rd person view or a close-up, 1st person view. What's really smart is it changes your movement speed when you switch views. You can walk slowly through building interiors in 1st person, and zoom around the world in 3rd person. And the game uses its 'dual screens' to always show both views.
Design-wise this game reminds me of that new Super Mario Bowser's Fury game, but I liked this more. We're seeing more of this kind of design: islands platforming challenges set in an open world, where you travel between them. I guess it's the 3D platformer's response to the open world trend - Sonic Frontiers, Bowser's Fury. But in those you have a lot of walking around waiting for platforming..
Sanctuarium is nice because you get some of that fun 1st person exploring (I think there could have been more? That, or I missed a bunch of it -I think I sequence broke a little). Then the 3rd person feels breezy as you go between landmark to landmark, with simple platforming challenges. You still get that fun open world feel of seeing landmarks in the distance, but things here feel much more streamlined than an actual slogging open world.
The platforming controls were workable, the moveset very simple, but there was a interesting trick of being able to fly up very steep slopes, which led to some fun parkour-esque design.
The narrative theming was about a dead MMORPG. I felt like this part didn't quite execute as well as the others, but I generally like the idea of games that reflect on MMORPGs. Still waiting for someone to make the meta-Maple-Story game I desire...
Reviewed on Oct 21, 2022