Review: Pronty (Nintendo Switch) – Pure Nintendo
Set in a distant future, Pronty plunges you into the chaos of a world on the brink of destruction. Long after civilisation has retreated beneath the ocean, the world is yet again under threat. You play as Pronty, a protector of the community, and you have to explore your atlantean world to find out what is causing society to crumble.
The underwater setting allows Pronty to play with the physics you might typically expect of a metroidvania. There are no ledges you can’t reach or tall drops to fall from. Instead, the game gets more creative in the ways that it blocks off certain areas. Some have underwater vines or toppled brickwork blocking your path that you eventually learn to blast through. Others are more tied in to the environmental message of the game, with clouds of toxic chemicals clogging up various areas.
There are also unforgiving bosses in your way that will prevent you from moving on. These are brutally challenging in a way that inspires a sense of genuine achievement not only when you finally defeat them, but with each quirk of their battle style you can identify.
You are accompanied by an eel-like companion named Bront, who acts as guide, shield and weapon. The skills you can learn with Bront’s help include shooting it like a javelin at enemies and having it spin around as a barrier to incoming attacks. This makes for quite an interesting combat system. It lends itself well to the underwater setting and offers some additional original mechanics to make Pronty stand out from similar metroidvanias.
The sprawling map is very well designed, with marine flora and fauna sprouting from Atlantean ruins and labyrinthine tunnels connecting the different areas you have to explore. The world brims with life, bursting with color that shines out of the deep-sea gloom. The art style suits the setting wonderfully, with fun cartoony characters exploring detailed and gorgeous surroundings.
The other creatures you encounter are designed in a similarly fun and creative way. You’ll mostly see small beings largely inspired by marine life that exist in the real world. They’ll often have exaggerated weapon-like features or be able to shoot projectiles, and are easy enough to learn how to defeat. The bosses are another story. They make for far more difficult fights and are mutated in more extreme ways, blending their fish-inspired foundation with enormous blades or spikes or bullets.
Throughout the game, you can’t avoid the environmental message at its core. The failing infrastructure that triggers the action in the narrative. The mutated undersea creatures you are surrounded by. The toxic spillages that block your path until you learn to navigate them safely. It isn’t a heavy-handed message by any means, but woven very comfortably into the story, setting and gameplay. Still, it lingers effectively if you happen to play at the same time as another planet-destroying oil spill hits the news cycle.
As a game, Pronty is a lot of fun. Both the exploration and battle mechanics are engaging, interesting and challenging in a way that is well balanced. Original concepts sync easily with a familiar metroidvania framework and you ultimately get a lot of game for your money.