Some titles tend not to set themselves overly ambitious goals to tell a story: Aztech Forgotten Gods is one of them, and in our review we will delve into the reasons why
The ancient Mesoamerican civilizations were pioneers of the world of the Americas, at least until the reaching of Christopher Columbus in these lands, and have always been subject of particular attention by historians. In the western hemisphere the cultures, kingdoms and empires that characterized the vast territories of the old continent are known in detail, although the information presented today is probably only of the fragmentary remnants of what happened in those times, a minimal part of history that is hidden at the origin of human society. However, the cultures of Latin America, prior to the discovery of Columbus, exhibit an even deeper aura of mysteryalso considering how their existence was discovered only at the arrival of 1500.
Through an assiduous study of the most important Mesoamerican civilizations, including the Olmecs, followed by the Aztecs, the Toltecs, the Maya and so on, it has been possible in some way to deepen some of theand wonders, shadows, anxieties and secrets belonging to societies that preceded the arrival of the conquistadors. But if all we know remains anyway a negligible percentage compared to the real characteristics of the peoples who inhabited Europe, is it perhaps for this reason that it is very rare to encounter entertainment media narrating the events of these other civilizations? Not for anything else, authors and creators very often prefer to fictionalize on the classicism of the Greeks, the opulence of the Romans, the difficulties of the Middle Ages and the nostalgia of the Renaissance.
Thinking of the purely gaming side, there is no such expanded variety of titles focusing on the pre-Columbian period: very often, in fact, we tend to add influences or accentuations of Mesoamerican culture within the various works, but it is rare to find video games explicitly based on it.
Titles that have somehow tried to approach this kind of setting can be counted on the fingers of their hands. Yet, the situation seems to be about to change: in addition to the arrival for 2025 of a real Mesoamerican-themed RPG, by the name of Mictlan: An Ancient Mythical Tale, currently a game less based on realism has also been released, but able to educate about the lost civilizations of the Americas ancient. Let’s talk about Aztech Forgotten Gods, a title that attracted us for its themes, and that we will deepen in our review.
The futuristic present of a historical past
Aztech Forgotten Gods was initially unveiled at Nintendo’s Indie World Showcase in the spring of last year, already intriguing many players with the way mixed the past with the future, giving birth to a kind of Latin futurisman aesthetic “cyber-azteca”a mesoamerica sci-fi. This is the second game released by the Mexican indie studio Lienzo, which had created Mulaka as the first title, another work released for Nintendo Switch based on North Mexican folklore, placing the player in the role of a Tarahumara shaman.
This time, disengaging from the most realistic scenarios of the pre-Columbian era, the studio thus gave birth to Aztech Forgotten Gods, and after having suffered a slight delay the game finally showed itself in the eyes of gamers, even allowing to play a short demo already last autumn.
Before proceeding with the introduction of the game plot of Aztech Forgotten Gods, it is necessary to take into account one of the peculiarities that most intrigued the public after hearing about the title: it is told according to a rewritten vision of historywhere the European powers have never come to conquer the Americas, thus allowing the development of a super-advanced civilization.
The capital of the Aztec Empire, Tenochtitlan, now has a decidedly avant-garde appearance, while not abandoning its characteristic stone structures, which have defined the indigenous society of the past for centuries. But with the progress and the birth of new comforts on which to depend, inevitably all the beliefs, mythology and stories belonging to previous centuries they have apparently been forgotten.
The adventures of a strange Aztec family – Aztech Forgotten Gods Review
The story of Aztech Forgotten Gods follows the events of the young Achtli: she will be the protagonist that the player will have to control. After what appears to be a flashback of countless centuries ago, one will come into the present and not many details or premises of some kind will be given about the world in which one finds oneself. Taking a slight glance into the room where the young girl will wake up, you will be able to notice numerous latest generation electronic devices, which will almost make you think of living in the common modern world. However, another factor will immediately catch the eye: Achtli, for some reason, does indeed wear a prosthesis in the right arm (lack that will be explained later in the game).
Once you leave your room, you will meet one of the fundamental characters in the story that will be narrated, that is Nantsin. She is presented as la madre di Achtli, a talented (and slightly eccentric) scientist and established archaeologist. The two will begin to converse about a certain important event that will take place the next day, when Nantsin receives a call bringing bad news: it turns out that an excavation project she was working on was suddenly canceled, despite the fact that they were about to see the results. However, this will not stop the thirst for knowledge and the curiosity of the two history buffs, who will secretly head to the archaeological site to implement the next steps anyway.
Inside the site you will see a mysterious artifact in the shape of an arm exhumed with the excavations, named after Keeper of the Light: it will be the key to conducting a fundamental test in Nantsin’s research, and Achtli will prepare to use it to try to activate a strange core full of energy, placed in the center of the excavation.
But it won’t be long before everything takes an unexpected turn: by touching the energy cell, Achtli will end up being catapulted in front of what looks like a deity, the Feathered Serpent (also known as Quetzalcoatl), who from then on will “inhabit” Achtli’s mind living within Keeper of the Light, and will help the girl in the responsibility of having awakened of the sleeping giants intent on destroying the city.
A century-old thriving city – Aztech Forgotten Gods Review
In our review we won’t go any further regarding the story of Aztech Forgotten Gods: the study says how it is inspired by animeand the main theme it will focus on will be above all inherent in the lossthe lack of self-confidence, the personal growth and the ability to overcome the difficulties of life, never giving up even when everything seems to be on the verge of falling apart. However, his execution is pretty quick, and the game is over within 5-6 hours. As for the game world, as already mentioned it will be abundantly set at a Mesoamerican metropoliswhich has never received any kind of influence from foreign entities, thus managing to keep e further cultivate its splendor.
There is dominating the cultural landscape the Institute, a sort of very influential agency of which Nantsin is also a member, and which deals with drawing up historical records, studying the past and conducting scientific research. As for the city of Tenochtitlan, it will show up with a very different trait from how it is imagined by current historians: in reality, it is assumed that it was the most important city in Central America, with a strongly religious population and connected by bridges and rivers that can be traveled by canoes. Yet, in present-day Tenochtitlan religion does not seem to exist in any form or hint.
In Aztec Forgotten Gods, the advancement of technologies has given rise to floating vehicles, and the various architectures have developed according to vertical planes. But the game world design seems somewhat wasted, as only Achtli will have access to these “flying structures”, using the mighty Keeper of Light to leap from platform to platform.
All the other inhabitants, on the other hand, will always find themselves walking along the streets, and the “flying canoes” will never have any passengers on board, making it much less vivid than what one would expect from such a large city. In addition to this, although the city is freely explorable, it is still empty and bare, valued with ben few points of interest e a handful of side challenges, like fighting some enemies and competing between buildings.
Beating Some Gods – Aztech Forgotten Gods Review
It will be discovered rather quickly that the giants that will go to fight will actually be ancient gods imprisoned, and every single battle will take place in some key points of the city. In addition, depending on the nature that these gods will possess, the types of challenges and battle arenas will also vary, as in the case of the Dio Mictlantechutli, Lord of the Underworld, who will try to use different mental tricks penetrating the protagonist’s head. Also, before starting the actual battle, you’ll need to understand how to “free” the colossus awakened before fighting him, going to solve puzzles.
Once the battle has started, it will surely bring back the mechanics already seen in different games, such as ICO e Shadow of the Colossusalthough in place of parkour or the need to climb enemies you will have to soar with the power of Keeper of the Light, uncovering the vulnerable parts of the bosses and punching them with all his might. However, every time you fly and land shots, the stamina bar will drop until it runs out, at which point you will need to lean somewhere for a moment in order to recharge it; this aspect is not very optimal, as it will often lead us to lose momentum.
At the same time, the bosses will attempt to hit Achtli with different types of attacks, such as rAdd lasers, overbearing slaps, throngs of enemies and of foreign energy dome with holes scattered here and there, in which you will have to squeeze in to avoid taking damage (however, in some encounters many of these attacks will be dodged simply by standing on platforms above the bosses, or keeping a sufficient distance).
Combat appears as the focus of the game, and the story will introduce the bosses in a sudden and continuous succession. You can unlock several useful skills for Keeper of Light at the Central Workshop, obtainable …