One of my favorite video game genres is the 2D platformer. I have been a big fan of platformers ever since I was quite young, and it is still one of my favorites. The genre is also one of the favorites for indie video game developers which means new games get released for the genre all of the time. This makes it hard to sometimes find the hidden gems. When I first saw Imp of the Sun I was intrigued due to the art style, setting, and just the fact that the game looked fun. Imp of the Sun is a fun action platformer with an interesting setting that fans of the genre will likely enjoy even if it might not be the most original.
In Imp of the Sun you play as Nin. Nin is an Imp created from the Sun’s last remaining power. The Earth has been plunged into an Eternal Eclipse. You have been sent to Earth to restore the Sun’s power to try and end the eclipse. This entails defeating the four Keepers which have stolen power from the Sun. Can you defeat the Keepers ending the eclipse for good?
If I were to describe the gameplay of Imp of the Sun I would say that it is a mixture of a few different genres.
I would probably say that the main mechanic is platforming. In many ways this element of the game is similar to your typical 2D platformer. To start the game you have a basic jump, but you will quickly acquire a double jump, dash, and even a wall jump. You will use these abilities to make your way forward to the Keeper of each realm jumping over gaps and avoiding obstacles.
For the most part the platforming elements aren’t the most unique. There aren’t any particularly new platforming mechanics that I haven’t seen in other platformers that I have played. Fans of the genre probably won’t find anything particularly new in this aspect of the game.
While I generally prefer games with more originality in the gameplay, I still enjoyed this aspect of the game. The platforming sections of the game work because they are just fun to play. The controls generally work pretty well. I thought the level design was quite good as well. The game finds a good balance between being too easy/straightforward where it becomes boring and so difficult that it becomes frustrating. Once you start acquiring the additional powers you have quite a bit of control over your character. Because of this the platforming is just really satisfying. If you are a fan of 2D platformers I think you will enjoy this aspect of the game as long as you don’t mind that it is not the most original.
In addition to platforming there is a light puzzle/exploration mechanic. As you progress in the game you will acquire a number of different abilities. These abilities use your “Inner Fire” which slowly deplete as you use them. Your Inner Fire can be recharged whenever you stand next to a fire. These abilities help you get past obstacles that previously stood in your way. Most of the puzzle solving comes from figuring out how to traverse the various worlds which includes activating switches and finding a way to open a path forward. In a way these elements of the game kind of remind me of a Metroidvania.
I generally enjoyed the exploration/puzzle mechanics. While the game has Metroidvania elements, they don’t play a huge role outside of gathering the optional collectibles. Your path forward at any given time is usually pretty straightforward, but I still enjoyed the exploration mechanics of the game. The game actually lets you explore the four different worlds in whatever order you prefer. I appreciate giving players the option of where they would like to explore next. You can even move onto a new area if you get stuck due to difficulty or not being able to figure out what to do. The order in which you complete the worlds can impact future worlds though as the upgrades/abilities you acquire can make other sections considerably easier.
The final main mechanic in the game is a 2D combat mechanic. Most of the combat is melee focused even though you get access to a ranged attack early in the game. The combat is pretty straightforward as you mostly just avoid enemy attacks and then spam the attack button until you have defeated them. A few enemies have a special process that you need to follow to defeat them. After defeating some of the bosses you also will acquire special abilities that let you modify your attacks.
Ultimately I had mixed feelings about the combat of Imp of the Sun. The combat is not the most original as it doesn’t play significantly different than your typical 2D action game. I did find the Inner Fire mechanic to be interesting as you balance between using it to heal, or for abilities that make you more powerful in combat. The combat is fast paced and generally fun. It is more of a button masher than precise combat, but it is generally pretty fun to defeat the enemies.
The main issue I had with the combat is that is can be a little imprecise at times and is a little basic as well. Sometimes it is hard to tell your own hit box as well as your opponents’. This leads to times where you will get hit or fail to hit an enemy when you think you should. This can be frustrating and hurts the flow of combat. I also just wish there was a little more to the combat as you mostly do the same thing in every fight (outside of the bosses).
Ultimately I found the game to be on the easier side. You have a limited amount of health in the game. Whenever you die you will be sent back to your last checkpoint and lose some of the experience that you acquired which can be used to purchase upgrades. Most of the time this isn’t a big punishment as you don’t lose much progress. As I mentioned earlier the order that you do the worlds can make a difference as certain upgrades will make certain sections quite a bit easier. I also attribute this to the fact that you can always use your Inner Fire in order to heal (with a somewhat long charging up period).
I died a fair number of times in the game, but I never really found the game to be particularly difficult. One of the main bosses as well as the final boss were kind of difficult. The other bosses were quite easy though where I either beat them on my first attempt or after just a couple of attempts. Most of the platforming sections weren’t particularly difficult either outside of one section near the end of the game.
I don’t know if this is a positive or a negative. That will really depend on what you are trying to get out of the game. The game isn’t so easy that it doesn’t provide any challenge. It probably won’t be all that challenging to people that play a lot of games from the genre though. On the positive side the game mostly avoids those frustrating sections present in the most difficult games. On the negative side, if you want a real challenge you may not get it from Imp of the Sun.
One of the things that initially intrigued me about Imp of the Sun was the story/atmosphere. I have played a lot of video games, and I can’t recall a single game that has utilized a Peruvian inspired story/atmosphere.
For the most part I liked the story. Elements of the story are similar to a lot of games from this genre, but the new setting was appreciated. The story is a little predictable, but I still found it to be enjoyable. The characters are interesting, and the story is compelling enough that I wanted to see how it would end.
On top of this the game’s visuals were great. Imp of the Sun uses a hand drawn art style which works really well for the game. The character designs and the world itself are interesting and show quite a bit of detail for a 2D game. They created a world that I wanted to explore.
As for Imp of the Sun’s length, it will somewhat depend on your skill level and how interested you are in picking up the collectibles. Naturally the better you are at this type of game, the faster you can complete it. People who are really good at these type of games may be able to breeze through sections of the game rather quickly. Those who aren’t the greatest at action platformers will likely take longer to beat the game.
Otherwise the length with depend on how interested you are in picking up the collectibles. Picking up the collectibles gives you additional experience that you can use for upgrades. Otherwise you don’t really need to worry about collecting them if you don’t want to.
To beat the game picking up any collectibles that you see while exploring, I think it will take most players around 5-6 hours to beat Imp of the Sun. It likely will take a little less time if you just do what is needed to advance the story. If you want to gather all of the collectibles I think it will take around 6-8 hours.
I generally enjoyed my time with Imp of the Sun. It is basically a combination of a 2D platformer mixed with combat and some exploration mechanics. The game is not the most original as there really aren’t any mechanics in the game that I haven’t seen utilized in another game. The game succeeds at what is most important though as it is quite fun to play. The platforming is more enjoyable than the combat, but both are fun. The game is on the easier side though. Outside of two of the boss fights and one platforming section, I generally didn’t have too much trouble with the game. The game’s setting and visuals are quite good leading to a fun adventure. Ultimately the game is a 5-8 hour adventure that I had quite a bit of fun playing.
Basically my recommendation for Imp of the Sun ultimately comes down to you thoughts on the Peruvian setting/story and action platformers in general. If you aren’t that interested in one of them, I don’t know if the game will stand out enough from other games in the genre. Fans of the genre that are intrigued by the theme though, should enjoy Imp of the Sun and should consider picking it up.
Imp of the Sun
Release Date: March 24th, 2022
Systems: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series X|S
Developer: Sunwolf Entertainment
Publisher: Fireshine Games
Genres: Action, Indie, Platformer
- Fun platforming and exploration mechanics.
- Interesting setting with an engaging hand-drawn art style.
- Not the most original game in the genre.
- On the easier side for the most part.
Recommendation: For fans of the 2D action platformer genre who are also intrigued by the setting.