Like a certain former US president, The Queen of the dying planet Anyaroth has gone a bit crazy and started using virulent mind control against the people, including her own army. Here, we play as a soldier of said army, who has been freed from control and recruited by the Rebellion to help overthrow the tyrannical monarch.
Dodging and cutting our way through the Army’s outposts, we aim to infiltrate from the surface to the depths of the very core of the planet where the Queen awaits, along the way hunting out and picking up helmets from other fallen soldiers which garnish the story with more context.
What is on offer is a Metroid-esque platformer with precision firing controls. It makes for heart-racing gaming, as being even a fraction off could cost you serious health or even death.
After defeating the first boss, and being recruited into infiltrating and searching further, I began to run into bugs, and I don’t mean of the entomological variety. There is a particular moving platform section that somehow deleted my last save. Enemies here pounce from platforms on each side as you descend, and I’m not ashamed to admit I got overwhelmed and died a good couple of times. I respawned back to the last save point, changed my weapon load out, and tried again but after the second attempt my game froze upon respawn. I restarted the game, which is when I discovered my progress had been entirely deleted. When I died once more, I lost all my currency as expected, but there was no death screen, my health bar was depleted, and the enemies kept flogging my corpse to eternity.
Perhaps the game just hated me and got fed up with me playing it badly. I did eventually get past this section but struggled with the controls. Usually, I consider myself to be quite adept with the concept of twin-stick controls, and throw in all the shoulder buttons you like – it’s never an issue. But I struggled using the connected Switch Joy-Cons, with the buttons proving to be a mite too small for such frantic action. I also found it odd there was no Switch Pro controller support, so I imagine players on Steam may enjoy a more comfortable experience where the controls are concerned.
The previously mentioned problematic platform introduces a new mechanic where projectiles can be deflected with a new melee weapon. Pulling one off is quite tricky, however, and there often isn’t a lot of breathing room to dodge, attack, shoot, and deflect without taking some pulverisation. Wall jumps are similarly difficult in execution, and more so when there are levels with an auto-kill wall of doom that chases you down, leaving you to scrabble at the walls like a rat stuck in a drainpipe.
Unfortunately, and because of these things, it slightly spoiled my experience. I feel that had the controls had the option to go handheld, some of the frustration would have been removed. It didn’t feel so much as a skill issue as it did there being an overabundance of similar moves on buttons that were close together, and the Switch buttons can be a bit “clicky” to register.
The story itself was enjoyable and I found that despite my irritation with the weird control timings, I was invested enough to a point. But there are bottleneck moments which some people will either stick at and keep trying, or others will get fed up with and wonder if it’s even worth continuing with. Unfortunately, I fell into the second camp, especially with the issues I had with my save file.
If you love hectic, bullet-hellish platforming games with strict and precise controls, then Anyaroth: The Queen’s Tyranny might be right up your ant hole, but it could be worth checking out on Steam rather than on Switch.
Published by Firenut Games and developed by Yggdraseed, Anyaroth: The Queen’s Tyranny is out now on PC and Switch.