Unto The End is a 2D sword fighting game where you trudge through the wind, ice and snow battling the elements as well as your fair share of sword armoured foes. There’s plenty of sword fighting as well as exploring in this neat little indie action-adventure.
Unto The End is primarily a sword fighting game and it’s one that’s going to test your patience, wits and skill… but mainly your patience. Rather than fight hundreds of enemies at once, like say Hyrule Warriors, these fights are against a single, tough foe. And fight for your life you will.
The battling in the game is likely to either a) frustrate you massively to the point of wanting to turn the game off or b) you’ll fall in love with the game and sing it praises for many years to come. I think it’s highly likely it’ll be one or the other and maybe not so many in between. Enemies mean business. Full stop. They will batter you, test your skill, nerve and patience much like From Software Games that have come before it. There’s a nice little practice mode where you can practice against your wife (of all characters), and she’ll train you up to be a hardened warrior if you have the patience for it.
Much like other Souls-like games, it’s all about studying your opponents and understanding their timing and their moves. Once you learn your foe then you’ll be equipped to beat them. However, this means going in and learning… so grab your sword and start hacking away. The fights don’t always seem that fair, however, which may add to the frustrating as blows from enemies seem to somehow bypass your blocking moves leaving you wounded and close to death. The best advice I can give you is to learn your enemy patterns and try not to get hit!
There are a few checkpoints throughout the game which will come in handy, as you are going to need a rest and patch yourself up at times. These did feel a little few and far between and the game could have been a little more generous. I know this is supposed to be a hardcore fighting game, but to many, this is going to put people off.
Enemies do appear to have unfair abilities whether they be ranged spear attacks or the ability to turn on a sixpence at you when your main character feels somewhat sluggish and laboured. Perhaps he’s tired too. Enemies appear to have magical reflexes that put yours to shame, blocking even the swiftest attack that seems impossible if you were in their shoes.
As well as striking enemies with your sword there’s a barge attack that allows you to get in a follow-up, but the timing here does feel a little fast. You’ll get it but it’s going to take a hell of a lot of practice to master the combat here. You can also throw out a dagger which can come in handy.
There’s a whole bunch of fighting, yes, but there’s also the exploration part of the game too. Caves and other dark areas are required exploration as you’ll need to find supplies to help you recover from the inevitable stab fest. There are also some environmental puzzles, which is a nice elevation from the fighting. You’re going to need a rest.
Where the game frustrates with the gameplay it excels with the visuals and audio design. The graphics are very effective with the 2D layered environments, well crafted and the animation is very smooth – which is particularly effective when you are in a battle. There’s a variety of environments including snowy landscapes which are in contrast to the dark, dank tunnels found throughout the game where little light is let through making seeing what you’re doing sometimes a little tough.
The audio design in the game is great too which works perfectly well with the visuals. The audio conveys the environment very well from the cold exterior to the creepy, tight tunnels you often find yourself in. Our main character’s little noises as he flies into battle give you a real sense that he’s having a tough time, not only in battle but in regards to the environment and situation he finds himself in. It’s all very immersive and well done.
Unto The End is a challenging little game that will either delight you or madden you. I was captivated by the graphics, plus really enjoy uncovering little indie gems. This one feels like when you lift up a rock, and there’s a massive spider underneath. It’s challenging, sometimes borderline evil but for those out there who enjoy this punishment then it’s going to be an afternoon or evening well spent. I picked this one up on Xbox Game Pass, and I’d recommend Souls fans give this one a whirl.
Developer: 2 Ton Studios
Platform: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch (played on Xbox Game Pass on PC)
Release date: 10th December 2020