All the influences that define Summum Aeterna are showcased to perfection from the very first playthrough. Which of course is good. The prequel to Aeterna Noctis rethinks its playable formula to be closer to the roguelite premise of Dead Cells, the level structure of Castlevania: Symphony of The Night, and the gameplay of Hollow Knight while being a little bit of everything and nothing special. And that’s why it’s so compelling.

After putting the finishing touches on 2021 with the latest indie candy Made in Spain, Aeternum Game Studios returns to the fray, and that’s despite the fact that the people of Toledo have already been working on their new project Summum Aeterna for a year and a half, which lands as Early access on PCs if it hasn’t even been six months since the release of his first film. In fact, it was technically announced three months before its surprise arrival on Steam.

In VidaExtra we had the opportunity to play the development version of Summum Aeterna, we were defeated by practically every single one of the enemies included in the current version of the game. Sometimes out of distraction, others out of recklessness, and as you might expect from the previous chapter on Aeterna Noctis, the difficulty is both a trademark and an attraction in itself.

The game still has a long way to go, all is said. Two worlds, two distinct realms and three weapons is much more than a starter but also the tip of the iceberg of what should be expected and demanded from the final version. Our impressions of Summum Aeterna are already positive and the truth is that given the track time planned for this year we will get there, we trust that they will get better. Mainly because the act of the warlord condemned to eternal life already has what it takes to solidify the Aeterna Noctis universe better and better.

Half Metroidvania, half Roguelite and 100% Indie Made in Spain

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The Aeterna universe is a cruel place full of dangerous creatures. This can be disturbing at first, but the king of darkness, our protagonist, is made of a special paste. As was explained to us between loads, of the countless horrors that Summum Aeterna will have before us, our hero is the worst of all. Which, to be honest, makes sense.

Of course, being a prequel, it is not necessary to have played Aeterna Noctis, although at the playable level we will start with an advantage: the sensations of action and fast platforms where the reflexes and the precision of the controls to wear come difference are there. However, the first differences will be noticeable in the level design. Or rather, in the absence of design in the levels.

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It’s not that Aeternum Game Studios has renounced this very successful visual style, in which traditional animations serve as a contrast to classic sensations for controls, but – as a good roguelite, the levels that we will go through will be very close to the start of the game generated . And this is where Summum Aeterna differs from Dead Cells: we will have some decision-making power when it comes to what the generated world will look like.

Regardless of what has been achieved and advanced in Summum Aeterna, if we are knocked down we will be rewarded with a series of special objects that we can exchange to improve our character, our skills and a kind of resource: the seed. In addition, if we look closely, on the right we can see how these elements are accumulated and generated before being eliminated.

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The interesting thing is that the levels of Summum Aeterna are generated by sprouting the seeds from previous games and each of them has its own genes that determine the elements of the world in which we will travel, including the number of dangers, treasures or singularities with whom we will meet. At launch we can get up to 20 types of world mods and it is expected that more will gradually arrive.

In fact, and this is the really curious thing, in addition to the fact that there are different types of seeds, we can combine those that are similar to generate new rarities that lead to more interesting generated worlds, combining conditions at will. And although we don’t design the generated world, we can choose what kind of gaming experience we will find.

Smooth gameplay like silk. Twisted and Machiavellian levels

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Although the so-called seed mechanics are imposed as the element that differentiates Summum Aeterna from other action roguelites, its claim still lies in the sensations of the controls. And that’s where Aeternum Game Studios know how to transfer what you’ve learned and inherited from your first film to adapt it to any type of generated scenario.

The Essentials: Protagonist Summum Aeterna moves just as smoothly as the Dark King of Aeterna Noctis and inherits many of his essential moves. We will have at our disposal from the start those double jumps, the impulses that will allow him to cross dangers without suffering damage and those always convenient stomps that will allow us to finish off our enemies after a pronounced fall, intentional or not. Logically, the further we advance, the better our skills.

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The way we approach buffs will depend on how we manage our loot as we play and how we behave on screen when emerging from elimination. Because the king of darkness is immortal, but we can assure you that he is not invincible.

That is, the treasures found, the enemies knocked down, what has been explored and generally how we squeeze each scenario adds up and we can trade it for improvements and weapons. And since there’s no time limit or stopwatch like other roguelites, it naturally encourages us to get lost and explore. That we try to avoid the most dangerous sections, even if it’s not necessary.

On the other hand, although we are much stricter when it comes to restoring health, we are fully aware of what is at stake and what we risk if we don’t move forward.

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And not only that: one of the elements that we can unlock is a kind of room in which a sort of wheel of fortune appears, spun by death itself, in which grants us an improvement, a huge limitation and a condition to eliminate the second becomes. Add even more variety to each level. A success if we are lucky enough to ask to spin the wheel.

Good wicks for a good action roguelite, of course, although as we’ve mentioned, it’s still early days to fully appreciate the great vision behind Summum Aeterna: as it’s in Early Access, it will lots of content coming. The good news is that this year it will be rounding out its attractions.

Summum Aeterna is ticking and his future for 2022 looks phenomenal

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The launch version of Summum Aeterna, or rather Early Access, serves to strengthen its experience as a game and deservedly set it apart from what Aeterna Noctis offers. But also the tip of the iceberg: beyond the two worlds already offered, with their respective bosses and scenarios, the first major update will add more enemies to the game and even a new type of seed to increase the variety.

Aeternum Game Studios is charting the immediate future of their new game by laying out a roadmap with established plans full of news for each summer month. Additionally, by the end of the year, Summum Aeterna is expected to feature a total of four worlds, six play areas, and tons of improvements, new challenge systems and weapon types to complete them, and of course, more seed variety.

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However, the plans of the Toledo studio go further: as we have been told, the idea is to give this prequel the same treatment as Aeterna Noctis and release it on all gaming platforms. In every respect, another example of the ambition and talent that can be expected from a Spanish video game that knows how to bring to its territory the best ideas from East and West.

Summum Aeterna is challenging, intense, with tight controls and elaborate animations that don’t go unnoticed. Its early access is now available on Steam for a very redeemable €15.99 that will make us suffer with its fast paced games, get us hooked with every great achievement and hopelessly tempt us to play the penultimate game with every new type of seed . ..