Solar Ash preview: Colorful and fast-paced traversal

Annapurna Interactive
Annapurna Interactive /

Solar Ash, a 3D platformer developed by Heart Machine and published by Annapurna Interactive, is set to release on Dec. 2, 2021, on PS4, PS5, and PC. Heart Machine is best known for its 2016 game Hyper Light Drifter.

Players will control Rei, a speedy being called a Voidrunner that wants to save her homeworld from a huge black hole called the Ultravoid. Her homeworld is full of cool places to explore, including sunken cities, water shelves, and lava zones, according to Alx Preston, the Creative Director of Heart Machine. Furthermore, the game is all about traversal – fast-paced skating, grappling, climbing, and even grinding on rails.

Of course, there is combat as well, with the enemies’ threat-level increasing along with your progression. Rei will eventually face giant beasts that hold the key to progressing the story. Preston flaunts the combat as “fluid, simple, and satisfying” in a PlayStation blog post.

Why I’m Excited

I very specifically remember seeing an icon for Solar Ash appear in the list of upcoming games on the PlayStation Store the first few days I had my PS5. This game has sparked my curiosity ever since, and now that its release is almost upon us, I can’t wait.

First of all, the game looks visually stunning. The bright neon colors and distinct design of Rei’s homeworld look incredible. Even though we will be skating around for the vast majority of the game, I am looking forward to exploring the world and admiring the graphics.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the movement. Watching the Gameplay Reveal trailer and seeing how fluidly Rei can bolt around the world, grapple, and climb up cliff-sides looks exhilarating. Also, skating on top of a huge monster to battle it should definitely be a lot of fun.

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It truly looks like Heart Machine has made something special. With all the AAA games that have come out recently, I am excited to dive into an indie game again. I’ve been curious about this game since I saw its icon about a year ago, and I cannot wait to finally try it out in a few weeks.