Heavy metal action-platformer Valfaris has screamed a new update into the eardrums of the galaxy. The Full Metal Mode is now out for consoles with a hefty discount celebrating its release. The mode adds New Game+ where enemies are beefier and bosses have additional attack patterns. But to deal with this escalation, the player also find new items to deal with the demonic threat. No doubt there’s a touch more gore as well. Whenever you clear the core game, New Game+ is unlocked and available for play.
Receiving favorable reviews at its release late in 2019, the game sees the player roam through a 2D fortress which vanished into the orbit of a dying sun. The main character, Therion, is inextricably tied to the old citadel as its former prince and seeks to eradicate the beasties who now occupy its halls.
For 2D indie platformers, it’s interesting to see a title eschew the trappings of the metroidvania and deliver a pure action experience. In doing so, it harks back to titles like Broforce and the Contra series that want players to experience that frenetic pace. But for Valfaris, the heavy metal soundtrack of Curt Victor Bryant would be wasted on the, at times, plodding pace of the metroidvania.
It’s an interesting quality of life update for a game. For those that love the game most and enjoy the challenge, being able to tackle the same enemies with new items and greater difficulty is an obvious bonus. It follows in the footsteps of games like Hollow Knight which have continually released free updates expanding the content of the game to a loyal fan base.
This questions when does an update become so filled with features that it constitutes an expansion set behind a paywall. The economic choice of developers in this situation is an interesting one. With Shovel Knight keeping its massive expansions free for those that own the original game and Hollow Knight releasing content updates for free for two years, is the pressure now on other indie games that haven’t seen such meteoric success as these titles to meet these expectations?