Released (on Steam): 5 Apr, 2019
Genres: Action, Adventure, Indie
Developer: Supra Games
Publisher: Supra Games
Steam Price: £15.49
Supraland is a First-Person Metroidvania Puzzle game. The main sources of inspiration are Zelda, Metroid and Portal.
Supraland assumes that you are intelligent and lets you play independently. The story is minimal, gives you an overarching goal to pursue, and then sets you free. Despite child friendly visuals, the game targets experienced players. Playtime: ~12-25h
You explore a large interconnected world in which most ways are at first unpassable until you find new abilities to overcome those obstacles. A cornerstone of Supraland's design was to create abilities that are so versatile, they will keep on surprising you by how many different usages they have. If you combine your abilities, the possibilities become even bigger.
Most of the game is about exploring the sandbox world to track down secrets. Often you will think you are about to get out of bounds and beat the level designer, but right there is a chest waiting for you with a very rewarding upgrade. Supraland respects your lifetime and doesn't bloat the playtime with unlimited no-brainer collectibles.
The deeper you get into the game the more you will be facing creative puzzles you've never seen anywhere before, encouraging you to stop and think about what abilities you have and how you can use them in yet another way. Puzzle types that I already knew from other games were immediately rejected in the design process. And it's important to me that once you understand the idea behind a puzzle, you can pretty much immediately solve it instead of having to go through a cumbersome, frustrating execution.
The fighting mechanics are inspired by old-school, fast-paced shooter games like Unreal, Doom and Quake, encouraging high-speed strafing and jumping while throwing shot after shot at hordes of charging enemies without ever having to worry about weapons reloading.
In the demo you can play the first big section of the game and decide if it's for you. The demo progress continues into the full version; you don't need to play anything twice!
Completion: Completed 100%.
Playtime at Review: 26.6 hours
Total Playtime: 39.4 hours
Achievements at Review: 98/98 (100%)
My rating: 9.6/10
Plenty of humour!
Many "easter eggs" to be seen/found!
Full of different and interesting puzzles!
Exploration is awesome, with tonnes of hidden areas!
Continuous improvements being made almost 2 years after release.
Combat is pretty weak, at least to begin with.
Supraland is a spectacular and highly polished blend of exploration and puzzles, with a plethora of external references/”easter eggs”, and a (big) splash of humour. One of the most surprising things I’ve learnt is that Supraland was mostly created by a single developer, David Münnich, making it even more impressive! On Steam, it’s described as a “mix between Portal, Zelda and Metroid”, and I can certainly see where that description is coming from. There’s also a pie chart highlighting Supraland as roughly 45% exploration, 45% puzzles, and 10% fighting, and again, I’d say this aligns with my experiences! Not only that, but they even share the estimated playtime on the Steam page, which isn’t something I see very often. They put Supraland between 12-25 hours, the lower end obviously being focussed on the main story rather than exploring and finding the insane amount of secrets and hidden chests. It took me around 26 hours to complete the game with all the base game achievements.
You begin with an initial cutscene, beautifully introducing the setting of the game/world. Immediately after, you meet some of the initial characters, gameplay mechanics, and the start of the story, while going through what is essentially the tutorial, without it feeling too tutorial-like or feeling like a separate entity as some tutorials can be.
As mentioned on the store page, “the story is minimal”, but at the same time, I felt like it mixed perfectly with the rest of the game to bring out the best of everything. Plus, while it was a simple story, it was still interesting, amusing, and had occasional twists thrown in for good measure. Heck, if you want to look at it more seriously, it even highlights real world problems such as race/colour, and how the words and actions of a single person in power can influence and divide so many. We’re gonna take it for what it is though; simple and fun!
There are lots of different items and upgrades to acquire throughout the world. Many of these can be found scattered/hidden around the world, while others can be purchased with the coins you find and collect from enemies. You’ve got lots of basic upgrades for more health, holding more coins, damage, etc, along with more specific upgrades required for story progression, including new/improved equipment and jumping. There’s even more useful upgrades made available upon completion of the story too!
There’s a fair amount of combat in Supraland, but this is pretty basic for the most part, and certainly one of the weaker aspects of the game. You’re pretty much just spamming with your wooden sword to attack enemies, while moving around to dodge attacks. The speed of attacks seems unreasonably fast too. It led a bit of discomfort to begin with, but I soon became used to it and the other aspects of the game had more than enough charm and appeal, and the later items and upgrades that could be used for combat really made it a “nonissue”.
Puzzles and exploration are where Supraland really excels though! There’s lots of areas to explore, and the more you progress, unlock, and upgrade your items and abilities, the more exploration opens up. You think something seems unreachable? Chances are you can get there at some point, and there’s likely some form of secret or amusing easter egg to be found! I’m an explorer, so any kind of open world game will have my testing the limits and trying to get to insane places. Supraland not only encourages that, but rewards it, and it does it so much better than any game I’ve played before it! I was half expecting to get stuck in terrain at some point, but to my (very happy) surprise, I never got stuck or glitched out.
One of the most surprising things I found was the lack of a map, but I actually learned to love not having access to a map, especially later in the game where you could get up really high to see where you were going. There’s plenty of shortcuts to unlock too, so there’s no real need for a map anyway. It made the exploration side of things even more fun and appealing to me!
Every area will be brimming with different puzzles, whether it’s one of the main ones to progress through the story, or one to find a secret area or new upgrade. The variety and progression of puzzles was pretty much spot on for me! Some took little to no thought, others made me think a little, and then there’s the ones where I was better off having a little break and coming back with a fresh head. I did this a few times, and the solution generally clicked as soon as I came back to the puzzle. One of the great things about many of the puzzles and exploration is that there’s often multiple ways of going about them.
If you hadn’t already gathered, I freakin’ loved Supraland! The combination of world, story, exploration, puzzles, secrets, progression, and humour was simply perfect! While the combat wasn’t anything special, it soon became irreverent once I got into the game a little and everything else worked their way deep into my heart! The fact I could go pretty much anywhere and didn’t encounter any bugs or glitches was also impressive! Supraland is more complete and polished than the majority of AAA games out there. If you enjoy exploration, puzzles, and good humour, I implore you to give Supraland a try!
Posted on 20-02-2021