Code provided with many thanks to PR Hound.
Holomento is an action RPG that has recently hit Early Access on Steam. This is an adventure game that certainly looks a little similar to the Souls series. But it aims to bring its own spin on the formula while also offering a challenging permadeath feature encouraging the player to make every run count. Special thanks to the developers for providing a code so I can share my early impressions of this intriguing new title.
Set in the land of Eventide Hollow, which has fallen under a curse, you play as a mysterious traveller followed about by a mysterious book called the Holomento. Your goal appears to be to rid the realm of all the evils that have sprung up and restore peace and harmony. At this stage of the game, there are not a lot of narratives, just the odd NPC to chat to. You begin the game playing as a mysterious hooded character spotting a fetching purple cloak. As you progress, you will unlock new characters to play as.
A feature that stood out immediately is the ability to manually name your character. So be sure to get your creative naming skills flowing. But if you can’t think of anything creative, you can just randomise a name instead. Your adventure will likely end in failure. When that happens, the book traps your soul within its pages, returning you to the start of the game, waiting for the next challenger or, I guess, victim. It’s a pretty good premise for a game which features permadeath.
Touched by the Light
I was quite awestruck by the beautiful graphics when I first started the game. Before I even moved the character, I had to take a moment to appreciate the beautiful lighting effects. Piercing through the trees and warming me through my computer monitor. Added to the ambience of birds chirping, I felt like I was in quite a peaceful place. But I couldn’t stay in this meditative state forever. The level environments are huge and vast.
You’ll explore through woodlands to snow-covered mountains, all of which have scattered ruins of a kingdom that was once prosperous. From there, I was able to explore the world at my own pace encountering monsters to slay like skeletons, giant green potion blobs and dark knights, which would randomly spawn in front of my character. It certainly ruined the nice walk I was having. You have two forms of attack: a close-range move which often looked like my character was performing some serious martial arts, and a ranged move. Your starting weapon is a fire spell and your fists, but you soon find new weapons which you can equip like bows and arrows, swords and even various guns that feel a bit out of place in a fantasy setting but sure are fun to experiment with.
Upgrading armour is pretty simple just find new pieces in chests, and it just increases your experience of that body part, saving the need to equip anything new. Coins are scattered all over the land, found in chests, defeating enemies and often just in a jar on the floor. These can be exchanged for upgrades at shops to improve your stats and, hopefully, your ability to stay alive.
Prepare to Die
The most notable feature is permadeath. When you die, your character is gone for good and even features a rather familiar tagline of ‘You died’ that feels a tad too similar to a certain Souls series. Nothing is carried over, and you restart with a new character from the beginning. But it’s not all bad. You can unlock shortcuts to access new areas quicker, and as you progress, you can even choose a new starting point to avoid repetition.
The game is certainly tough and unforgiving. Enemies and boss fights can take you down in an instant if you’re not careful. But there is a lot of fun to be had exploring the land and trying to uncover all the game’s secrets. The path ahead doesn’t feel linear. Early on, you can take on side missions dotted about on notice boards which will automatically reward you with experience and coin once completed. Later down the road, you are also able to upgrade towns carrying several benefits to your character.
All Fun With Bugs
Holomento is one of the more buggy experiences I have had with Early Access. Now I know that bugs, glitches and a work in progress are part of the course with Early Access. The ones I encountered here were pretty funny and ended up bringing quite a smile to my face. Every run, I encountered some oddity, such as skeletons retreating backwards into oblivion like they were running in fear from my presence. I got stuck in the floor multiple times, and some enemies really had an overly tough time trying to hit me instead of looking like they did a silly dance.
My favourite moment by far was when I entered a boss room, and the music shifted from the beautiful fantasy score to something hilariously whimsical like I was watching some old TV sitcom. It was at this moment I burst out laughing, which I have not done playing a game in so long. Some may look at this as a fault, but I actually have to thank the developers for this beautiful memory I will cherish forever when I feel blue. Looking at the game’s roadmap, the developers are clearly listening to feedback and are already on the case addressing the bugs, so it’s likely all the funny ones will be gone by the time it releases. If you do decide to jump in to this game, do not hesitate to provide feedback.
Holomento is available in Early Access now. No plans have been made for release to other consoles at this stage.