First Impressions: ITORAH

Cover Art for ITORAH

While there are plenty of good Metroidvanias out there like Hollow Knight, Ori and the Blind Forest, Dead Cells, I am always on the lookout for more games to add to my growing list. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to check out the ITORAH demo from Grimbart Tales, and I have to say, this is an incredible game. The gameplay, the story, the challenges combine make for a fantastic adventure in the world of Nahucan.

ITORAH takes us through the story of a young human girl, Itorah. Armed with a powerful sentient ax, Itorah must save her land from a growing plague. Along the way, she encounters random enemies and main bosses. In the demo, I fought Dhalia, and it gave me a really good look into the type of battles we can expect. It was reminiscent of boss battles in Hollow Knight, where patience and timing are crucial. It took me a few tries to find the pattern and get into a groove, but once I did, I was able to take down Dhalia with some ease. The rest of the encounters you have in the game are pretty standard for Metroidvanias: enemies crawling on the ground, enemies flying above you, and enemies jumping around you.

Exploration in ITORAH is linear; each area you go to does a really good job of guiding you to where you need to be. If you come across a dead end, then you need to go the other way to find a skill or item you need to get through. In the demo, I found both the double jump ability and a downward strike ability at the most opportune times. There are no skill trees in the game, so finding these abilities are essential if you want to progress. The double jump allowed me to reach high walls and make longer jumps from platform to platform or from vine to vine. Once I got the downward strike ability, I was able to clear boulders that were preventing me from exploring the depths below. There were also typical hazards like spikes that would jut from the floor and the ceiling, and thorns that covered the walls. There were so many thorns.

“ITORAH is an incredible game. The gameplay, the story, the challenges combine make for a fantastic adventure in the world of Nahucan”

-Wren

Mesoamerican influences are prevalent in this game which, in all honesty, is what drew me to even try out the demo. There seems to be an uptick in Mesoamerican- and Latino-influenced games coming out from indie developers and I am all for it. And here, you can clearly see the inspiration in the character designs, the environments, and the overall look of the village. Even the name Nahucan is similar to Nahuas, a group of indigenous people who lived in Mexico and parts of South America. 

In all, it took me one hour to complete the demo. Naturally, the demo put me towards the middle of the game so I didn’t get a chance to experience the story from the beginning. Therefore, I didn’t have any context for the characters I met, but they were interesting enough that I look forward to learning more about them in the full game.

ITORAH looks to be a very promising platformer. The levels are challenging, but not frustrating. The gameplay is fairly straightforward and if you are used to platformers, you won’t have any problems figuring out how to move around in the game. The developers do recommend a gamepad for this game, and I agree. You could get away from playing it with a mouse and keyboard, but it’ll make the game way more difficult than it should be (unless you’re into that kind of thing).

ITORAH is set to be released this year for Xbox One, PS4, and PC through Steam. I highly recommend checking out the demo on Steam.

Wren says: RECOMMEND

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