A mysterious case of waking up in a new setting, our dear hero, Nikolay Bernstein opens his eyes to find himself 36,000 feet under the sea. With him, and consciously connected, is a Buddy-Unit. Together you two will traverse the depths of the sea, gaining ground one step at a time.

They key to games that adopt the metroidvania style lies heavily in the own flair it produces. We all know how to navigate labyrinthine type maps, and the concept of needing 'the next item or ability' to pass a door or special obstacle isn't one that's brand new. The formula is great; that's why it's used over and over, but the fun lies within the individuality of the story, concept and design. Twists on this classic tale are things like Buddy-Unit gaining interesting and helpful upgrades in tandem with yourself, with you taking sole control of it at times for a nice change. There is also no time limit, so exploring is made to be at your own pace outside of battle. 

Boss battles dot the way as nicely constructed road blocks. Each boss will provide it's own unique challenges in phases. They all have a distinct feel both visually and in their attack patterns, which really tend to cut up an monotony one might feel. 

Outbuddies nautical depths have a colour palatte that reflects the despair and loneliness of the deep. Blues and purples are put to stark contrast on your character's reds and pinks. The understanding to have a subtle, yet striking palatte coupled with the pixelated graphics is no doubt a visual recipe for success.

I am astounded that Outbuddies was made by a one person team--Julian Laufer. Coined on the official Steam page as a 'spare time passion-project that grew to be so much more. The sheer dedication to bringing a quality entry in the metroidvania field is not an easy one--and often can be quite intimidating trying to measure up against the classics' shadow. Details were carefully considered and gameplay meticulously balances--to which you can not only see, but feel. 

After all this talking up, the big question remains: is it fun? Long answer--yes. Short answer--yes. Provided you're into this genre, Outbuddies will keep you busy with a nice time all the way through. Progression feels very good with this one indeed. It's not a carbon copy of it's predecessors, and expands on the nature of--(yes, I'm going to say it again) metroidvanias.

This one comes with a solid recommend from my end--Outbuddies is no doubt packed with fun to be had. It's an interesting take, and clearly make with lots of love. Don't miss out on this title if you've seen it and are curious--it's a keeper!