Two Parsecs From Earth is one of the most frustrating and tedious Metroidvania titles I’ve ever played. It’s clearly not a high budget affair, but almost every element comes across as either missing the mark or intentionally bad and even for the usual easy 1000g of a Ratalaika game I’d recommend steering well clear here.
Now look, I’m not going to take shot at the woeful English on display here as the developer clearing doesn’t use it as their first language. That’s fine, and I’ve seen worse. But what I will take umbridge with is the attempts at breaking the fourth wall by telling us just how boring or bad an idea is just after doing that exact thing. Comedy, amirite? Within the first few minutes we find the downed ship we’re supposed to be looking for; our hero whimsically mentions that it can’t be that easy, asking “Where’s the 1000g?”. While I’ll admit this one at least got a smirk, later on this just becomes rote. After a chase sequence they bemoan how unoriginal it is to have such a thing in a game… yes. Yes it is. There were many more examples in my time playing, and I’m sure there’s more but, well…
I grew bored of the frankly horrible controls, lack of assistance and all round experience far before I’d collected the 3 batteries and 30 Cargoes needed to complete the game. Taking cues from the Metroidvania genre, we find various areas locked off until we’ve acquired a certain power or item to bypass them. These powers are dotted around the sprawling levels as you may expect, but getting to them – and then back again to use them – is an exercise in tedium.
We can’t even jump to start with (another excuse for a ‘hilarious’ joke or two) but when we find our first power up the choice is there between two options. Annoyingly no matter what we pick we find ourselves traipsing around the labyrinthian levels hitting dead end after dead end. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to each area, so unlocking the ability to walk though certain walls for example might not even be of much use in the area you’re in at the moment.
Controlling our hero is frustrating as all hell too. We can jump but it’s one of the stiffest jumps I’ve used in gaming, acting as it does in a seemingly random fashion. Jump near a ledge and they’ll stick to the surface and hop up. Sometimes. Trying to navigate tight corridors full of spikes is annoying, made worse by the hard to parse collision that seemingly kills us when we should be in the clear. Dying sends us back to the start of the current area, but also loses any cargo we might have collected. One area saw me trying for far too long to collect the 4 or so boxes in it, only to die right at the exit. Needless to say, I didn’t go back for them again.
Looking at the map is all but pointless as although it indicates which section we’re in the lack of detail means we could be in any part of the highlighted section. We can’t even zoom in on it to try and read the shape of the land around us. We can, however, zoom in on our character, which the game handily points out is “pointless”, going on to say that the artist spent a long time on assets so added this in for people to appreciate their work.
I can’t deny that the dev’s clearly wanted to put some heart into the game, but almost none of it pays off in any positive way. The character controls awfully, the powers are nonsensically strewn about, the Fourth wall-breaking jokes just highlight the poor game design instead of compliment it, and even those looking for an easy 1000g will likely be put off before they can reach it. While the aim may be to get to Earth, I’d suggest giving it a wide berth upon it landing.
This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox One console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.