Another low cost, high quality title by EastAsiaSoft, Enter Digiton: Heart of Corruption is a charming 2D side-scrolling Metroidvania with an interesting visual style. For the most part, the visuals use no more than two colors which gives it an appearance of an original Gameboy game but do not let this simplistic presentation fool you. This is a challenging title filled with unique design choices.
The narrative opens with a computer boot sequence which is an android being activated. Playing as this robot, you are quested with retrieving a few items by defeating troubling bosses, navigate tricky environments, and using your Captain America-like shield along the way. Most of the experience is built around this shield as it is used for defense, as projectiles can be sent back to the sender, or can be thrown and auto-recalled boomerang style. When put into the right hands, it can make the player feel like a badass. Blocking requires well timed button presses and throwing the shield might initially seem like it has a limited range, but it always feels right. Simply throwing the shield through a row of crystals in the background and watching the bits crumble everywhere is also satisfying.
Opening in a small hub world, the player eventually finds a key to unlock that portion of the map where the first boss and treasure is located. Unlike Metroid, the player is instantly given access to the entire map for that sector so the player can tentatively plot a course of action. However, the map screen is much more general in comparison to Nintendo’s flagship series. Instead of listing which doors are blocking progress or which tile has a secret, the player will generally know to go in that one direction. It isn’t so much about environmental puzzle solving as it is about completing grueling platforming challenges. Yes, occasionally a key will need to be collected to gain access to a new area but this is more action platformer than puzzle solver.
Control feels tight, responsive, and exactly how it should be. The dash ability, in combination of standard jumps, challenges the player more often than not. The first world, for example, is a cold snow level that eventually takes the player into high altitude regions. This lower gravity locale allows the player to jump even higher to make even trickier jumps. On occasion, the player will be faced with some long, blind jumps, which is a little unfair. However, the lenient checkpoint system means the player does not have to backtrack far. In fact, whenever there is a really difficult part, there is always a checkpoint right before it. Thankfully, the player’s progress is also saved to minimize backtracking. For example, if you die while going for that collectable spirit, you will not have to re-collect it when you respawn.
Speaking of collectables, the game rewards the player by snagging these optional items by enhancing abilities at the shop. More accurately, these wearable masks can alter gameplay as opposed to make it easier since one action is usually strengthened while another is weakened. It is an interesting modifier that can play to the strengths of the player and create some artificial replay value for dedicated players.
I personally dig the two-tone visual style and think it is one of the stand out reasons to play this game. The sprites are simple but well animated and the boss designs are especially wonky, large, and grotesque. Boss fights, like navigating most environments, are tough but fair. Again, thanks to the thoughtful checkpoint system, dying during a boss fight respawns the player right at the entrance but with hope of doing better next time. I probably died a good twenty times before I beat the first snow boss but I never got frustrated because I knew each time I failed it was my own stupid fault. This balance and pacing is well done and kept me coming back for more.
Enter Digiton: Heart of Corruption will not overtake the top spot as your favorite Metroidvania but it can surely hold you over until Metroid Dread gets released. Even if smaller Metroidvanias are not your thing, this game should be on the radar of Trophy (or Achievement) hunters as I was able to snatch that Platinum before I found my way to the first boss. Even though I quickly earned all the Trophies, I still found myself enthused about playing more as it is a quality gaming experience.
Also available on Switch and Xbox One.
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