After Us: A Disappointing Blend of Platforms and Post-Apocalyptic Restoration
After Us promised to be the perfect mix of post-apocalyptic restoration and story-driven 3D platforming. However, the game fails to deliver on both counts. This lumbering beast is often a bit too directionless for its own good, relying on unwieldy platforming and mind-numbing combat to pad out the time between brief reunions with the various spirits of the forest.
Playing as Gaia, the extra-powerful forest spirit, is interesting, but her standard platforming moves can alternate between feeling slippery and feeling like a boulder sinking to the bottom of a river. Her heart of the forest ability is visually satisfying, but its primary use is for lackluster combat and infrequent distance-reaching moments.
The game’s gameplay is visually and mechanically distinct with eight open-ended zones to explore, which lack a sense of direction, making it easy to get lost. Mechanically, there is no ascending difficulty or build-up, and combat encounters just feel like unnecessary padding to the story.
The primary villains are the Devourers, the malevolent ghosts of humans who destroyed the Earth through rampant consumerism. Battles mostly boil down to running back and forth in a circle, and combat encounters just pad out the boggy storyline.
The graphics are impressive, and the game’s visual design is the real star of the show. However, the level design is inconsistent, making many of the sections feel like you’re just guessing the whole time. The soundtrack is engrossing, but it feels like it’s missing something.
Overall, After Us is a disappointing blend of platforms and post-apocalyptic restoration. It fails to deliver on both fronts, relying too heavily on combat encounters and confusing level design. While visually beautiful with an engrossing soundtrack, it’s not enough to make up for its flaws.