ALUNA: SENTINEL OF THE SHARDS
By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on May 31, 2021
The first time I saw a trailer for Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards, I was immediately convinced that I needed to play this game. It reminded me of one of my all-time favorite games in the genre, Diablo. Plus, I really love to play isometric action RPGs. The game was released for PC and Nintendo Switch on May 26, so let's waste no more time and dive into the world of Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards.
During the intro you'll learn that you will take the role of Aluna, the warrior daughter of a Spanish conquistador and South American nature goddess Pachamama. Her mother left Aluna a necklace with a shard containing a part of her powers, but there is more than one shard. So, it's up to Aluna to travel the world and collect all the shards, so she can receive her mother's powers to save the world. Not an easy task of course but Aluna seems tough, so I think we will manage.
The big plus of this game is definitely the setting. Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards is set in a world of Inca Mythology and tales that formed the backbone of 16th century Colombian culture. It's an interesting angle, still fiction and fantasy, but quite a far cry from your run of the mill demons and orcs. It's interesting and new to me and I like it. The world around you comes to life beautifully through the nice game design and cool graphics. I think it's also a very good choice to bring in the comic style during cutscenes, which creates a perfect bridge between the videogame and the comics that Aluna was originally created for.
Alas, after spending more time in Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards, a couple of less enjoyable elements also stand out. First up, I'm not a big fan of the voice acting; it's all a bit flat and you will hear lines used again and again and again. Another thing that kind of fell flat is the combat. It's cool that you can find many different weapons and adjust your gear to match your preferred style, but it took me more than one tries to actually hit an enemy on more than one occasion. Apparently, they have specific hit points or something, or else your attacks won't do any damage. On the other hand, it does actually add an extra challenge to the game, but I truly wonder if this is something that is done on purpose.
Having said that, I did enjoy playing the game. It's one of the more ambitious projects of developer N fusion and a passion project for Paula Garces and Antonio Hernandez, the creators of the original comic books. Aluna further made a name for herself in video games after becoming a playable character in S2 Games' popular MOBA Heroes of Newerth, in which she was played by Paula Garces herself.
"I love comic books and video games, yet as a Latin American woman, I never saw myself reflected in the media I was consuming. Antonio and I created Aluna to change that," said Aluna creator and actress Paula Garces. "Creating the comic book series was a thrill, but letting players actually embody Aluna and see the world through her eyes in a video game is a dream come true!"
Digiart Interactive founder Antonio Hernandez has this to add: "Aluna has been a passion project for Paula and I for years, as we've wanted to create an empowering role for Latina girls everywhere. Women and people of color are playing video games more than ever, and we wanted to create media that reflects this diversity and celebrates Latin American culture. We hope Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards offers an enlightening look at Inca mythology for people from all walks of life."
Especially considering the price of the game, Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards is a very nice game. For now Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards is available on PC and Nintendo Switch, with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions still follow at a later date. I think this game shows what the developers can do and I truly hope to see more awesome games made by them in the foreseeable future!