Afterimage Review: A Stunning Hand-Drawn Adventure

A stunning world ripe for exploration.

I personally had a rough start to Afterimage. I wasn’t alone in this, and the developers ultimately responded to the criticism. In the process, they addressed a number of my concerns via post-launch patches and let the game stand on its own. It needs a little more polish, but now the appeal is much more apparent.

Afterimage is a “hand-drawn” Metroidvania with Soulslike elements, brought to us by Aurogon Shanghai and Modus Games. Players take control of Renee in the world of Engardin. After her village is destroyed, she takes off in pursuit of a mysterious girl she found crouched over her mentor’s body.

An Expansive World

Once the basics are taught, Afterimage offers multiple paths to its players. At first, I didn’t like this, I’m used to more guided experiences like Song of the Deep or Salt & Sanctuary. While I ultimately came to appreciate the freedom, it does have downsides too. 

The movement system is fluid and effective.

Like others in the genre, Afterimage starts with basic controls that expand as Renee gains more abilities, unlocking more of the world. Controlling her can feel a little slow at first, but it doesn’t last for long. Combined with the optional Afterimage abilities, the platforming side of the gameplay is challenging but still fun.

Afterimage provides a large world full of prizes that encourage exploration, but some mechanics add needless friction in doing so. This is especially true at the beginning of the game. Players start with only one replenishable healing charge; health potions are nearly mandatory in the first 10 hours or so. These health potions are also limited until the hub town is reached.

Afterimage Screenshot
Image: Modus Games

Fast travel is brought in around the same time and is similarly shackled; every use takes a rare consumable. After a patch it’s available in town, but for a price that newer players will struggle to afford. When Renee gets the ability to travel between the checkpoints for free, it only applies to the big ones. I don’t understand why it does this, as Afterimage is at its best when it lets players wander. 

Unnecessary Mechanics

Similar to Metroidvanias of this era, Afterimage makes you drop valuables on death. In this case, it’s only experience points towards the next level, which works better for the curiosity the game brings out of its players.

The weapons themselves are varied and start appearing with unique modifiers that lend well to different playstyles.

A big part of the game’s content is the different weapons and equipment. Renee can wield two physical weapons and one spellcasting focus simultaneously. This grants multiple options in combat and only becomes better once Weapon Skills are added to the mix.

The game would be better if it revolved less around levels and stats. I’ve come across weapons, bosses, and entire areas after I’d outgrown them; that’s a tragedy that could have been avoided with equipment more focused on unique buffs than stat scaling. Engardin is a big place, and it can be easy to miss an important area on your first trip.

Afterimage Screenshot
Image: Modus Games

The Talent system is meant to give players options; it’s a tree of power-ups separated by category. Unfortunately, I’ve seen it done before and done better. It’s meant for customizing your playstyle, but the buffs are too small. Seriously, “+0.5% damage on Weapon Skills”? 

The Weapon Skills themselves are much better. They grant flashy and practical new ways to use your weapons of choice. The problem is half of them are hidden in the world anyway, and before the patch, they were level locked. 

Scenery that Steals the Show

Engardin looks better in a post-apocalyptic state than many real-world spaces. Someone put their heart into crafting this world, and it shows in the locales, the enemy designs, and the world-building. 

The world of Engardin looks wonderful.

I especially enjoyed the Town of Exiles, which nailed the ambiance of a literal Ghost town. I wanted to leave that place ASAP, forget the loot, and XP. While I didn’t look forward to rewriting this review to account for the patch, the changes gave me the breathing room to better appreciate how well-made the different environments are.

Afterimage Screenshot
Image: Modus Games

The story is expansive, though sometimes uncompelling. Renee’s partner has the lion’s share of the dialogue and personality; you eventually find out why, but it makes Renee herself feel overly passive. By the time I reached the goal first set in Resting Town, I’d forgotten why we were going there in the first place. Afterimage compensates for this by featuring more engaging characters out in the world to stumble across. I just wish they’d used those conversations to show more of Renee herself or her quest. 


Afterimage is a fantastic journey, slightly marred by unneeded mechanics. After a rough start, players will settle into exploring Engardin and finding all its wonderful secrets. The game falls just short of greatness after the patch, but even so, it’s a title worth playing.

Afterimage Review

Zeph Rider

Sound Design


Afterimage is a fantastic journey, slightly marred by unneeded mechanics. The game still holds its own thanks to competent combat and platforming set in a wondrous world. It’s a fine addition to the Metroidvania genre.


Afterimage is available on Steam.

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PC Review Copy provided.