GGRecon's Top Indie Games Of 2021: Solar Ash
Every once in a while, a game will appear with such a fascinating approach to every part of its makeup that you won't have any choice but to pick it up. For me personally, the avant-garde is an avenue to storytelling that simply can't be matched. NieR: Automata's bizarre approach to characterisations in an empty, echoing world was just too odd not to investigate, and the presentation and architecture of The Foundation in Control forced me around every corner of the twisted, strange building until there was nothing left to see. Since these games, though, a similar peculiarity has been hard to find.
That's until Solar Ash came onto the scene, a game that looked like the bizarro love-child of Shadow of the Colossus and Jet Set Radio. In many ways, that's how the game feels - but at its very core, it is so, so much more.
Solar Ash - Void Of Vision
In Solar Ash you'll become Rei, a Voidrunner on a mission to save her planet from absolute destruction using the Starseed, a colossal weapon that allows you to twist time. Eradicating baddies along the way and taking down the looming Remnants, your adventure is one that's led by big spectacle and an eerie spaciousness that will make you feel very, very alone. But it's by design.
The game's world and history will slowly reveal itself to you if you're willing to go looking, chatting with leftover residents and reading scattered journals that detail the helplessness that the end of the world brings. Solar Ash is a cold game that subjects you to the isolation of restoring all you love completely alone, and it's all the more compelling for it.
Solar Ash - Shooting Starseed
The game's visuals, as you can probably tell, are utterly magnetic, and instantly set Solar Ash apart from any of 2021's other gaming offerings. Solar Ash's world might be in the midst of decay, but the colours that detail your journey make every corner compelling, and you won't want to miss any of it.
It works together with its immaculate controls, that are absolutely the most crucial thing about a game like this - balancing sheer speed with agility and momentum, Solar Ash can achieve perfect equilibrium and make taking down the dreaded Remnants with such a slick attack, you'll feel like you've been doing it for years. These moments of finishing off the behemoth kaiju are among Solar Ash's most satisfying, and you'll find yourself desperate to take down the next.
Solar Ash is incredibly special - a labour of love that pays off in every way conceivable. Its gameplay is a snappy delight, and it comes with a narrative that will stick with you for a while. Rei's journey is a complete triumph, and it makes Solar Ash one of the very best games of the year.