Created by Indie developer Connor Ullmann and published by Adult Swim Games, Oblitus promises everything you can expect from a title to be fun and a huge success: a world with a wide range of different environments, a story that unfolds through environmental details and epic boss battles. The only problem with the game is that it doesn’t deliver.
You play as Parvus and you know nothing about him, the story is told sparingly and it is up to you to discover what is going on with this weird character. That said, the title is a 2D dark fantasy rogue-like aimed to skilled players: There isn’t any persistence. The items and skills you get do not carry over. If you die, you start from the beginning as there are no checkpoints, saves or anything to cover you. The game is meant to be played in one sit, and you that is something you realize when you look at the achievements: you can beat the game in under 25 minutes
You don’t have any map or any indication, every path is a guess and you will see a lot of branching. You will often get lost but at least the environment is full of details and the game as a whole is a piece of art worth to stare at. There is a really simple tutorial where you are asked to press every single action and movement key and that’s it. The rest is for you to discover, the combat is for you to practice and master, and the bosses are there to kill you and make you start all over again until you learn the patterns.
The combat is not really hard to master anyways, so it doesn’t take too much time. You can throw a spear in any direction, which will let you unarmed for a few seconds until it reappears in your hands again, or you can use it to stab foes while you cover with your shield. You will find upgrades from bosses that will let you charge your spear and deal more damage and you can also add fire from torches spread all around the world, but that’s it.
Basic enemies will heal you a little bit when beaten to death, but in no way that will allow you to get punched in the face with no real consequences. The amount of healing is minimal and most bosses can kill you from 2 or 3 attacks. All enemies look different, but do not behave different and is just a matter of depleting their hidden health bar. Bosses will have some simple patterns, but basic enemies will try to swarm you which is not fun. And it’s likely you won’t survive that encounter.
The game is meant to be played with a keyboard and a mouse. There are indications to press, for instance, space or A, but controls with a gamepad are so bad and clunky that you will give up in minutes. It’s like it wasn’t tested at all, but as usual this is just a matter of personal opinion, so there is that.
Oblitus provides tribal surroundings in a gorgeous canvas painting-like environment combined with excellent soundtrack and effects. The problem is the combat, which is the other half of the game. Is is great to listen to as well, but when a game is much cooler to look at than to play you know there are some design flaws.