Should’ve called Captain Planet

Game development can’t be an easy thing to do, having to balance lofty goals by what can be accomplished has to be difficult. If everything works out the game can go on to become legend, however if it doesn’t work out each of those lofty misfires will just be shine brighter and bring more attention to the failure, After Us is a game that falls firmly in the middle of greatness and failure.

MSRP: $29.99
Platforms: Xbox (reviewed), PlayStation, PC
Price I’d Pay: $29.99

After Us puts players in control of Gaia in the form of an elf like little girl who has a head full of long white hair and is tasked with recovering the souls of animals on the now dead planet of Earth. By recovering these souls she will be able to release life back into Earth, saving the planet. In a grim look at what our future can hold, the world in After Us is a desolate and barren wasteland and the art direction on display is incredible. The game is full of surreal environments taking everyday things that we as humans use and twisting them and morphing them into a monument to our excess. After Us starts off in what appears to be a vast desert but as players move through it will become apparent it’s an abandoned highway. Platforms are made up of old rusty cars as the dust swirls around the darkened environment making for a very lonely and desolate place.

The various regions in After Us all feel unique from each other from the coldest depths to the ocean to a field full of saw blades that of course players will have to dodge. Each area feels like a lesson as to what can happen if humans continue with all their capitalism, much like We are the Caretakers; a game I reviewed earlier this year which was about saving endangered species. While I loved all these various vistas, I am disheartened by a lot of everything else in After Us. After Us makes use of platforming controls but due to the floaty feel of them it makes successfully making jumps difficult. Jumping can cause many headaches because of the precise nature that’s required for a lot of the puzzles. To the game’s credit there is an indicator that appears under Gaia which will show where she will land but sticking it is another thing all together. The controls needed a few more passes of QA, especially if you want me to make exact jumps or face a game over screen.

Sadly, these issues also translate over to combat as well, in After Us there are humanoid creatures who will come from the sludge that covers most levels. The main issue is the game doesn’t feel like it was ever meant to have combat, instead it just feels tacked on. As I said above, After Us has some large vistas and open areas but from some reason the game likes to surround players with enemies in a tight corridor where the camera has issues giving you line of sight. Even when they do swarm players in open areas the lackluster attacks that Gaia has available to her makes killing her foes a chore, one where running away and then quickly doing a 180 to attack usually works to dispatch most foes.

After Us had some lofty goals and it shows but sadly, they didn’t quite reach those highs. Incredible art direction and a dope soundtrack sadly don’t make up for the ‘tacked’ on combat and the very floaty platforming controls. The design choice to make it open world is also a head scratcher because the game absolutely does a poor job of telling players where to go next. I’m left wondering what could have been with After Us, had the combat been taken out I think this would have been a much better adventure.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Beautiful Art direction
  • Floaty platforming controls
  • Combat feels incomplete and tacked on
  • Open world design choice will leave players lost
Written by
Terrence spends his time going where no one has gone before mostly. But when not planning to take over the galaxy, he spends his time raising Chocobo and trying to figure out just how the sarlaac could pull Boba Fett’s ship with its engines firing FULL BLAST into it’s maw with relative ease; yet it struggled with Han Solo who was gripping *checks notes* SAND!