June 3, 2023

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Despite the death of the world, “After Us” is the best atmospheric game with a heart in the right place | games

Game reviewThe debut of the independent Spanish studio Piccolo was released four years ago. “Arise: A Simple Story” was an instant hit, as the emotional journey through memories of a recently deceased Viking did well with critics. The combination of light puzzles, platforming system and dreamy atmosphere is also the main focus of ‘After Us’, their second release that takes everything a bit more elaborate and a bit bigger.

The world is spoiled. This isn’t big news anymore, but in Our Dimension there really isn’t any left of it. Buildings have become ruins, car wrecks litter the roads, people and greenery are long gone and the animals you encounter become ghosts upon closer inspection. It looks like dull misery, but fortunately, the goddess who introduced herself as the Mother has a plan: the very last survivor, young Gaia, who, in addition to her questionable outfit and white hairdo, has the gift of restoring nature.


They’re all fairly thick in terms of symbolism and that’s not a problem at all as long as the gameplay doesn’t become secondary to the message. Fortunately, that’s not the case at all in “After Us,” because it’s a joy to explore a post-apocalyptic world while running, jumping, and floating. The focus is really on discovering the world, as you hardly encounter enemies while playing. There’s omnipresent black goo that will try to swallow you if you get too close and here and there you’re surrounded by a very limited number of more active hazards, but that’s about it.

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The main objective of the game is to search for the remaining gems from the different animals that once inhabited the world. Gaia has an arsenal of platforming moves typical of the purpose, but also has a unique singing voice that broadly shows the way to the nearest creatures. A useful feature that ensures that you are never taken out of the flow and atmosphere of the game to have to look at the map to see where you need to go next.

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Thus, the exploration of the (semi) open world is done in a very natural way without becoming too simplistic. Because although you can often see where you should eventually end up, the road there isn’t always straight. Thus, the environmental puzzles are the main part of the challenge in “After Us”.

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Magic Khaled

Audiovisually, “After Us” is one of the most exciting games of the moment. Of course, no small-scale indie title can compete with the graphical toppers, but the design of the world, the contrast between the wasteland wastelands and the green oases in which you can sprout, the way light and dark are used, … give this game a timeless charm that also underscores On the topic of salt.

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The music emphasizes the somber atmosphere that gradually turns hopeful with delicate compositions. The only pity is that, just like in “Arise”, spoken voices are still not used, but all dialogues during cut scenes appear in the form of text and that text can sometimes go through pretty quickly.

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After us
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The key word to describe “After Us” is “atmospheric.” The game immerses you in an oppressive world from the start, but also shows that all hope is not lost. A game with a clear message backed by solid gameplay, made by a studio that knows what it’s doing and its heart is in the right place. Oh, and you can pet dogs (well, ghost dogs) in this game. Another reason not to miss this game.

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The game is released today for PC on Steam and on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.