- Total Score: - 7/107/10
Recompile is definitely worth a try if you enjoy 3D platforming. With elements of Metroid and Tron, it can be a beautiful experience!
Developer: Phi Games
Publisher: Dear Villagers
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Playstation, Xbox
Recompile is one of the more unique games that I have played this year. It brands itself as a Metroidvania with non-linear exploration and gameplay. While there are definitely some Metroidvania aspects, especially leaning more to Metroid, the game is mainly comprised of platforming sections rather than fighting your way through the levels. The game also features beautiful environments that are very reminscient of Tron. Was Recompile a game well compiled? Or does it have some debugging to do?
You begin your life as Program, installed by Janus into a system network in order to access the Mainframe of the system that controls a ship designed to save humanity. Your task it to collect data and logs in different sections of the mainframe in order to “Recompile” the Core data and repair the Mainframe. To help you achieve this task, you must also collect abilities in order to Hack and Delete your way through the system.
There are 4 sectors of the system after the initial tutorial area. Each area has a focus on a specific game type, but all of them still have elements of platforming, collection of lore data, finding upgrades for your character, and flipping switches to advance through the area. Some abilities that you acquire actually allow you to bypass puzzles and segments of the sector as well if you choose to do so.
The HEX (Green Zone) focuses on hacking, where you can use Bits that you have collected from killing enemies to flip switches basically. The TET (Red Zone) focuses on fighting enemies with your gun, this is how you can collect bits and unlock a few abilities that makes combat easier. The OKT (Yellow Zone) is mainly about platforming, here you gain abilities that help with traversal. Finally, the ISO (Blue Zone) features a mix of elements with the addition of flying.
While the game is non-linear and actually allows your to explore a few different areas of the system from the beginning, there is definitely a route that you will want to take. This means that if you choose the wrong section first, you could be in for some serious back-tracking. Trust me when I say this, start with Red, Green, Yellow, and then Blue. In TET there is an ability that will slow down time to a crawl that has no limit of use. This was almost necessary for boss fights because the sensitivity and control of your view while shooting your gun is a bit off. You can’t look as high as you need to sometimes, and you can’t really run and gun as fast as you would want to.
On the other hand, platforming is solid and a lot of the times it made me feel super anxious, especially in the OKT sector. There are tons of tiny platforms to land on which can keep you on the edge of your seat. If you are playing on PC, the controls are a little weird. I think most people will want to play it on a controller as some of the abilities are bound to weird keyboard keys like X and I couldn’t find a way to change it in the menus at the time of my playthrough. The developer has reached out and said that these fixes would be implemented soon though so that will be a very welcome update.
There are several different endings to Recompile, that change based on the amount of data you restore to the core. Each are pretty interesting and it is possible to see them all in a single playthrough by replaying the final section and choosing not to restore specific sectors of data. I really don’t want to spoil any of the endings, but even the “bad” endings I really enjoyed.
Overall, this game is more of a 3D platformer with influences of Tron and Metroid. It does have some combat sections and a boss fight at the end of each section but most of these fights are trivial, especially after getting certain upgrades for your Program. Personally, I was hoping there would be more combat compared to the amount of platforming, but the game is beautiful and it’s fun finding all the lore and figuring out how to get to where you need to go. Definitely worth a try if you enjoy platforming and light lore sprinkled throughout the game as hidden collectables.