E3 2021 Quick Hits: ‘Anuchard’ and ‘B.ARK’ First Impressions
by Gary Catig
After cancelling last year’s expo due to the pandemic, E3 returned this past week in the form of a virtual event. It was definitely unconventional compared to years’ past, especially with the lack of hands-on play for many of the announced games. We were able to receive demos for a few games, however, so we’re able to share our first impressions on indie titles Anuchard and B.ARK.
Announced during the Freedom Games spotlight, Anuchard allows players to take control of the Bellwielder as they attempt to save the souls of the townspeople populating the titular location. Explore a mysterious dungeon to battle monsters, solve puzzles and reawaken the lost Guardians to fully restore Anuchard. Developer stellarNull drew inspiration from the classic Japanese company, Quintet. You can see the influence in the aesthetic and gameplay of games such as ActRaiser and Illusion of Gaia.
The knockback mechanic adds another layer to your typical action RPG and they make use of it particularly well in its puzzle aspect. They have also added an elaborate cooking system to create food which provides power-ups. Rescuing the souls of more villagers unlocks more ingredients and more complex recipes, which in turn, offer improved benefits.
Overall, Anuchard looks like a fun play if you enjoy the genre. Keep an eye out for it during the first quarter of 2022 on Steam, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.
B.ARK is another title that is heavily retro-influenced. It is a shoot ‘em up following in the footsteps as such franchises as Gradius. Tic Toc Games wanted to make an accessible game for newbs in the complex modern landscape. To help with that, they created a playful Saturday morning cartoons look with animals piloting mechs. But don’t let the cutesy appearance fool you — even from the start, there is a heartbreaking origin story of the characters.
Assume the role of Barker the Dog, Felicity the Cat, Lucio the Bear or Marv the Rabbit as they repel the incursion on our solar system from an army of aquatic attackers known as the Dark Tide. It’s a constant, fast paced assault with tons of enemies and laser blasts. Each character has their own unique abilities, so find the one that works best for you. The four-player couch co-op gives it an enjoyable group atmosphere and you can even coordinate to unleash team attacks. Even when your mech is destroyed, you can be rescued by a teammate in Side Car Mode where you can keep on blasting away at the enemies. For added replay value if going it alone, each animal has their own history to uncover while progressing through B.ARK.
You won’t have to wait too long to get your hands on B.ARK because it will be coming soon to Nintendo Switch and Steam.