For some time, it has been impossible to ignore the fact that video games have started their own crusade to save our planet. Either for social or political reasons, as is the case with Road 96, or by exercising environmental activism with the Spanish developments Naiad or Endling: Extinction is Forever. These titles dealt with how human beings destroy all natural life in their path, or devour it out of greed. And now we have another example of that with Piccolo Studio’s new platforming adventure title, After Us.

Scheduled to release on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series this May 23, Ben and I had the opportunity to play the game and check out an early part of it to see how it forms, and while its underlying message is crystal clear, the gameplay still has to convince us a little more.

After Us puts us as actors in the shoes of the Spirit of Life itself, Gaia, a being in the form of a white-haired young man who must roam a devastated Earth while locating extinct animal species, all with the goal of collecting their life essence and helping preserve them in the Eternal Ark from the mother. This journey will take Gaia to all sorts of places on the planet, places that have been scarred by oil spills, highways, wrecked cars, concrete structures, power lines, and a myriad of other types of infrastructure. people who put our needs before their needs. .impact on the environment and the creatures that inhabit it.


With that in mind, After Us asks you to guide Gaia through these areas avoiding deadly contamination and other dangers, and you do so using a range of platforming moves and special abilities that can help you eliminate toxic sections. Among other things, we will have different types of jumps, slides, runs and other platforming movements, and abilities such as charging the energy of Gaia to be able to eliminate certain dangers (and briefly replace them with a lawn fertile green with wild flowers) and thus be able to pass them on unscathed.

The platforming system is quite basic and easy to understand although it can be a bit tricky to master. After Us insists that her multiple abilities activate on the same control inputs, which means you must use the correct trigger on the controller to launch yourself into the air, reload, and use Gaia’s cleansing ability, etc., leading to frequent missteps and eventually missed jumps, which is just plain frustrating.

In terms of level and world design, it’s fairly linear and only allows Gaia to explore one path, which means there aren’t too many alternatives when it comes down to it. is about approaching the game. Since the levels are designed to reflect a post-apocalyptic Earth, dotted with what can only be described as fossilized human beings, you also can’t just walk around and get a feeling of wonder. It’s heartbreaking and quite scary, and while the level design isn’t the most inventive or exciting, it does at least make you think about what we humans are doing to the planet.


However, there are several ways to venture off the beaten track, into small open areas along the way. Upon reaching them, Gaia can look around and spot small animal spirits that can be collected and they will begin to grace the world, adding true spirit creatures through levels. These spirits aren’t the core of After Us, as Gaia primarily seeks out larger spirits, but they are small collectibles that enhance gameplay a bit.

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After Us is also a game without much sound. Gaia doesn’t appear to speak, and aside from Mother’s occasional dialogue, the only sound is from the ambient soundtrack that plays as you explore the world and some echoes of the human activities that have taken place there. Maybe I missed something else in this aspect, because it puts even more emphasis on how narrative and story are conveyed through gameplay, and that’s something with which After Us really clashes at times due to its more basic (from what we’ve seen) game design.

While what we’ve seen of After Us so far hasn’t particularly blown us away, we’re intrigued by the underlying message it’s supposed to convey, and we’re really looking forward to seeing what other abilities and environments we we’ll see with the rest of the story and how Gaia evolves and grows with them.

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