Elderand (PC) Review

By Athanasios 26.02.2023

Review for Elderand on PC

Heavy-on-exploration action-adventures… or simply metroidvanias, were once a kind of a rarity. Nowadays it's raining new titles, especially from the indie scene, with some of the brightest gems coming from that part of the industry, like the absolutely brilliant Hollow Knight. Oversaturation, however, brings forth a big problem for creators: how do you stand out from the crowd? Mantra and Sinergia Games solution to the problem sadly seems to be to not try at all. Welcome to the dark fantasy land of Elderand, where the biggest challenge will be to remain invested.

Players take the role of a mercenary, who must brave the monster-ravaged lands of Elderand and stop a great evil. Typical? Yes, but what has always mattered more in video game narratives is how one tells a story, and not what that story is. This goes the "mysterious pieces of lore" route, with a few pages here and there semi-explaining what has gone wrong, with a little bit of dialogue thrown in to spice things up. Unfortunately, it's hard to care, and occasionally to even understand what's happening. The unbelievably generic fantasy writing talks of a dangerous cult and incomprehensible terrors, but few will be engrossed to it all. Plus, while this is supposed to be Lovecraftian it's really not. A Cthulhu-like statue here, some weird words there, and that's just about it. That's not Lovecraftian. There's none of the feeling of dread and hopelessness expected.

Screenshot for Elderand on PC

Aesthetically, this leans more towards the gothic style of the Castlevania series - less eldritch and otherworldly, and more like a heavy metal album cover. You know the drill: caverns and serpentine monsters, moonlit, gargantuan cathedrals and undead knights, dying forests and giant bugs, and so on and forth. It looks good, no doubt about that, if a little bit generic. The pixel art is great, it's just that few scenes stand out. Generally, this is a game that can be described as adequate. Just adequate. The story is there. It's not great, it's not awful. The pixel art is top notch, but offers nothing that can be described as memorable.

The worst part is the world itself. Being a metroidvania, this is supposed to be a maze of interconnected biomes, where finding new tools permits exploring it further. Sadly, it's one of the simplest metroidvania worlds ever crafted, with as little as possible interconnectivity, just a tiny amount of abilities to use, and almost no secrets to discover. Most will explore 90% of what's on offer in less than five hours(!)… which by the way means that the length of the whole adventure is way too short for the price tag this was released with.

Screenshot for Elderand on PC

A short length can be counterbalanced by a high replay value, but the one in here is pretty low, mainly because of how underwhelming the character customisation options are. The mercenary receives EXP through battle, which can be spent in four separate stats: Strength for higher damage with strength based weapons and better stamina, Dexterity for knives, whips, bows and a higher critical hit chance, Magic for magic-based weapons and MP, and Vitality for HP. No ability trees, no nothing. Simplistic. There are plenty of weapons, so one can pick and choose a variety of play styles, which is certainly a good thing but that's about it. It's important to note that this is mainly a combat-focused game. While it does revolve around exploration like all metroidvanias, that part is not that well-handled, thus all that remains is fighting with what stands between you and the next screen. The combat is fun, with mostly snappy controls, and there is a nice variety of enemies to fight against, but like with everything else in Elderand, there are a couple of issues to talk about.

Screenshot for Elderand on PC

There's a fair bit of clunkiness when it comes to some moves; small stuff like turning around after landing and so on, which don't necessarily break the game, but definitely make the action less fluid, and make it obvious that there's a lack of fine-tuning. This is also one of those games where the main character should not be harmed when enemies touch them - this turns a great deal of the experience into pure aggravation. There is also a lack of decent balancing in certain areas, like for example how the ammo drop rate for sub-weapons and bows is too low (or too high when wearing a certain ring), or how useless such weapons actually are. Bosses are even more problematic, as it's surprisingly easy to brute-force your way - including the final bosses.

Elderand's biggest problem is that it's well-made piece of software… that just never manages to be that fun, or stand out from any other of its kind, as it is way too formulaic, and afraid to do more than just the basics. This isn't a bad game. Read that again: it's not a bad game. It's a somewhat entertaining experience that will last for about six or so hours, but and then be forgotten forever. There's no point in playing this unless a total newbie to the genre, but even then you are advised to spend your hard-earned money on the classics. There are many.

Screenshot for Elderand on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


Elderand is the definition of disappointing. There's no big flaw to point at, apart from the fact that this is extremely afraid to do… well, anything apart from the basics. The result is something that looks good, sounds good, and feels good, but never really manages to be more than 'ok.' It's a well-crafted 'ok,' with nothing to show for that could separate it from the rest of its competitors, old or new.


Sinergia Games


Graffiti Games


Action Adventure



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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