Developed by the indie team Lienzo, who are known for the wonderful 2017 title, Mulaka, comes their next game, Aztech: Forgotten Gods, which began development in 2018. After completing the main story and some side content, I have spent a few days digesting this lovely experience. While it’s not a game that will demand your attention for a month, the tidy story is one that you can complete in around 7-10 hours, with a wealth of side content that gives me nostalgia for generations past. Aztech: Forgotten Gods provides a solid experience that won’t overstay its welcome.
The overall vibe of Aztech feels like a throwback to early OG Xbox 3D action platformers. It has a lively, convincing world that you will explore throughout the campaign. The texture work is definitely not what you would see from 3D platformers that have been released recently by larger studios. The grass design is flat and there are a lot of jagged edges in the building models, but if you can look past that, you can see a truly realized world for this story.
The basic story is about going back in time before the European colonization of the Aztec empire. The game explores an alternate history where the Aztecs are left to their own devices and flourish into a great civilization with advanced technologies. Playing as Achtli, you come across the mysterious glove, Lightkeeper, and begin a path of self-discovery, conspiracy and a hero’s journey to save your homeland from an existential threat.
Take Flight and Fight
The gameplay in Aztech is simple and satisfying. Wielding your glove, Lightkeeper, you can explore the game’s world and complete story objectives and boss fights with melee combat mixed with some aerial traversal mechanics, and it works! It works really well. With around 10 hours with the game, I’ve experienced no bugs or crashes. The main thrust of the story will see you travel to various zones in the world, unlocking various abilities and enhancements which will aid you in your fight against titan-like bosses. These bullet-hell style fights require platforming and traversal in order to target each boss’ weak points.
In the city, you’ll find a robust set of side missions, as well as upgrade and customization areas. You can mix and match between a dozen different cosmetic configurations, and upgrade your stats and abilities in the workshop. While in free roam, you can collect lore pieces explaining the world in further detail, compete in combat challenges, or win races for extra upgrade currency. In my experience, the main story missions provided enough currency at a healthy clip, so players shouldn’t feel obligated to complete everything on the map to make money.
The story of Aztech covers the trials and tribulations of Achtli, a proud Aztecan who lives with her mother and has a part-time job delivering packages. Over the course of the game, you will experience Achtli’s backstory and interact with her family, friends and the mysterious Lightkeeper. Overall, the story is fulfilling while taking you through each of the zones and gives you purpose to keep pulling at the next story thread until it finishes conclusively and satisfyingly. I quite enjoyed this game and its ability to get in and achieve the goals it sets narratively, by telling an emotional and engaging story.
Overall, Aztech: Forgotten Gods is a great palette cleanser compared to the more expansive and open-world type games you see in recent years. The charming story, satisfying gameplay loop and a well-realized world with believable characters, helps the game punch above the weight of a typical indie game. The only time the budget shows itself is in the art assets, which is mitigated by the game’s arresting art style. If you’re looking to see the great work emerging out of the independent scene, players who are fans of 3D action platformers with fast-paced boss battles should play this game.
|Reviewed on||Xbox Series X|
|Available on||Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Playstation 4|5, Nintendo Switch, PC|
|Release Date||10th March 2022|