Two Ton Studio’s Unto the End is an indie title worth your time. Part Game of Thrones and part Another World, it’s a game worth its approach in almost every single way.
Unto the End is an action side-scroller that bases its self in exploration and harsh and unforgiving combat. You play as a Lost Hunter in a world that has been invaded by monsters. Your sole mission in the game is to get back home to your family. This includes you traversing a frozen wasteland filled to the brim with monsters around every corner.
The game begins with an actual warning that says that this game is different. It gives you the warning that states that you can lose your sword in the game, it warns of frustration and a brief bit on the difficulty of combat. Now, at first, I thought that the warning was just a bit of silliness in an attempt to set itself apart from other games. But, nope the game really is different and holy smokes it is frustratingly difficult.
Combat is built off of light and heavy attacks, shoulder checks and dagger throws. You can block high and low depending on your enemy’s attacks and do your vital dodge rolls. Luckily, the enemies broadcast what they are going to do pretty openly. Bad news is that the controls are a little bit slow registering and positioning. There were plenty of times when I knew I was blocking low, but it was my character’s animation beginning to block low. The registering and timing could use some work.
There are a lot of enemies and a lot of varying sorts of attacks to learn. Also, there are plenty of enemies that are thrown at you at the same time. The game begins flinging multiple enemies at you very early on too.
Your sword is easily knocked from your hand and lost. Heavy strikes will knock it from your hand and even rolling to evade can end in losing your weapon.
In 1991 there was a popular game titled Another World. It’s a great game and critically acclaimed game with an approach and animation style very similar to this one. The big difference being that it was a sci-fi game and was entirely less difficult than Unto the End.
It’s best to learn your combat very early on. Spending time in the training mode, which you can enter at anytime throughout the game, is a great way to spend your time. Figuring out parrying and timing your strikes is probably about 90 percent of completing this game.
The animation style is a minimal approach and mimics that of the earlier mentioned Another World. It’s a nice looking game in its minimalism. It’s disappointing that the game uses negative space terribly. In the caves where things get extremely dark, Unto the End fills the screen with largely blacked out sections. Those big blocks of dark areas is just boring to look at. It’s too much of a change up from the icy vast vistas of the land’s surface.
Between the combat you will spend the game exploring and crafting. Exploring is essential to finding loot that allows for easier strategies later in the game. Finding meds that assist in slowing bleeding is very important. You will seriously thank yourself for spending a little more time to check the entirety of levels. Crafting torches, and meds and weapons is also a very important step in the game but, its is all based on diligent exploration and looting. Bleeding to death after being wounded is definitely a way that you will without a doubt die. Herbs do their part in slowing the bleeding but you cannot completely stop bleeding until you arrive at a save point, campfire. The save points are spread out and spread out vastly. Meaning you can die a bunch from the same cause over and over again due to these strangely spaced out suckers.
Unto the End is a simplistic and at times beautiful game, that places you in the red beard of a hunter with a very simple goal of getting back home. It’s an extraordinary game in its indie approach. The warning that it gives you in its first screens isn’t to be taken lightly. The combat contained within is extremely difficult but ultimately very rewarding to master. Unto the End is an extremely good side-scroller and one that shouldn’t be passed up if you like a good bit of violent and challenging combat.
Unto the End is now available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Google Stadia. If you are subscribed to Xbox Game Pass its included for free in your subscription.