Keep your sword aflame and your enemies afloat in shadowy “juggle-based” metroidvania Nocturnal 2

We never covered the original Nocturnal, an “intense 3-hour-long action-platformer” from Sunnyside Games, but the Steam user reception seems very positive for a pay-upfront game that actively describes itself as three hours long, and the just-announced sequel seems excellently awash with fire, darkness and death. It’s a “fast-paced, juggle-based” 2D metroidvania that stands apart for a couple of reasons. Firstly, your character’s magic sword is also your means of illumination, and the levels are gloomy. And secondly, the whole “juggle-based” thing.

In Nocturnal 2, you search the forgotten island city of Ytash for the First Brazier, which very much sounds like an earlygame Souls objective. The 2D levels and art, however, put me in mind of Capybara’s Below, except viewed from a classique Prince of Persia perspective. It’s certainly an atmospheric setting, abundant in pillared doorways and negative space – and a hazardous one, especially when you can’t see the nameless things you’re fighting.

“Keeping your Flame alight is your only way to survive the many dangers ahead,” instructs the Nocturnal 2 Steam page. “Maintain it at any cost by striking fire sources and protect it to better see the enemy attacks.” You will find that your incendiary attacks are all the more potent when performed against aerial foes. “Master your flames to hurl enemies and juggle them into ashes,” the Steam page goes on. I’m not sure that’s how thermodynamics works, but I’d be a fool to complain. There are also fire gems you can mix and match to unlock spells.

A single playthrough may not take you much longer than the original Nocturnal – which, frankly, now looks like a prototype for this game – but you’ll want to complete it several times to discover everything. “Nocturnal 2 is meant to be consumed in a relatively short amount of time, but many surprises are on the menu for those who seek different paths…and true revelations,” the Steam page concludes. I hope those are genuinely revelatory revelations and not, for example, unlockable wallpapers. Nocturnal 2 will be lighting up screens in 2025. If you like the sound of the original, it’s 60% off till 11th July as part of the latest Steam summer sale.

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