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Myastere: Ruins of Deazniff Isn’t a Perfect Pairing of Grappling and Exploring

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There are certain gameplay concepts where when you hear more than one in the same sentence, it makes sense. With Myastere: Ruins of Deazniff, it’s a pairing of “Metroidvania” and “spring wire action.” I heard it and figured, “Okay, so this is Castlevania meets Umihara Kawase.” And in a way, it tries to be! But it’s also bogged down in some other design choices and elements that keep it from working. Be it the awkward localization, poor sense of direction, or strange grasp of physics, it keeps things from ever properly working.

Which is disappointing because, well, the company good at developing grappling hook games made it! I love the Umihara Kawase series, especially since it makes mastering physics and rappelling through levels feel natural. There are times when I felt like Myastere: Ruins of Deazniff wanted to be that. From the placement of lamps Aaurae can latch onto, to the way some platforms are positioned, you can see opportunities. The thing is that it feels designed in such a way that it isn’t that accessible.

Myastere Ruins of Deazniff

For example, Umihara Kawase as a series goes out of its way to make sure players can get the positioning of the hook right to get the correct angle. There are level mechanics to help with momentum. That isn’t there in Myastere: Ruins of Deazniff. You also have to acquire extensions, so your grappling hook’s “rope” isn’t even at a length that makes it useful when you first enter the ruins. Which makes sense, because no Metroidvania ever begins by giving you every ability you need to go everywhere at once. But it also means you can’t properly learn to use one of the key mechanics until you spend a few hours with the game.

That in itself could be daunting, but there are a lot of other elements keeping Myastere: Ruins of Deazniff from feeling inviting! The incredibly poor localization is one. You know you’re in for a time when every boss you defeat comes with a message stating, “Destoryed the Boss.” You can get a general idea of what’s going on, though. Aaurae is working for a group investigating a property called Myastere, which can mutate creatures and contaminate environments. She’s looking into ruins emitting it, which is filled with Deazniff thieves and Holy Order Knights. But the translation is so poor that it can be difficult to read and understand what’s happening. It reads like its script was dropped into Google Translate. When one major selling point is that the story can change depending on how much you explore, the localization makes that hard to enjoy.

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There are balance issues too, some of which probably couldn’t be fixed by a simple patch. For example, you can use the grapping hook to kill enemies, along with Aaurae’s gun (with different types of bullets) and various bombs. But it isn’t as zippy as, say, Scorpion’s spear in Mortal Kombat. Some opponents are bullet sponges. While you might think bombs are a better alternative, you need those for some obstacles and they’re more precious. Because grappling takes time to adjust to and isn’t as well-handled as Umihara Kawase’s, I didn’t feel like it was an effective tool for evading attacks for quite some time. And then there are smaller enemies that you just… can’t kill. For example the earliest ones are the maggots inside the zombie pigs, which you can only shake off by jumping and can’t kill before they reach you.

To be fair, I do think a game with a strong grappling mechanic and Metroidvania tendencies could work. Myastere: Ruins of Deazniff isn’t the one to pull it off. Eventually, after you spend enough time with it and get upgrades to extend the reach of Aaurae’s grappling hook, someone might get better at it. But it’s never as intuitive as Umihara Kawase or as polished as other recent Metroidvania games like Bloodstained or Hollow Knight. It has its moments and maybe eventually Success and Studio Saizensen could get the combination right in a sequel or follow-up. I genuinely hope it does, because the idea of this sort of game using grappling effectively and having different areas to explore is exciting.

Myastere: Ruins of Deazniff is available for the Nintendo Switch and PC.

Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.