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ALUNA: Sentinel of the Shards

This is advertised as role-playing game but like all RPGs online that are not actually based on a paper & pen tabletop game, it is a move, fight, explore adventure where you run your character around killing virtually everything that comes towards you - friendlies usually just stay still and wait for you to approach. They may join your merry (small) band of warriors.

There are four variations of play-mode, three of which are ascending difficulties for the arcade style of play and the fourth is the Story mode. The latter is what this page is all about. I have not had the time to play all modes and so have concentrated on the story.

However for players who want to know a little about those other modes here is a quick précis.

EASY: For players new to RPGs this is a reasonably simple romp. There is only a small chance of finding Legendary Loot but this is more than in the story mode.

NORMAL: In this mode it is up to you to equip items that you find rather than have them auto equip as in the Easy and Story mode. You can also collect resources and craft them.

HARD: As Normal but harder. There are more player options, more Legendary items to locate and more Gold to Loot.

The opening movie is beautifully animated and sets up the game in full-on comic-book style. I normally try to get through these openings asap, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching and listening to this.

The goddess Pachamama comes to you and informs you sadly that all the animals and plants in the jungle are being corrupted and turned into sci-fi like creatures. Pachamama believes she can heal them if all of the magical shards, like the one around your neck, are brought to her. So I am betting that you can guess what your mission is.

Move your character by either holding down the LMB and moving the cursor or by clicking on a space and letting your hero move to the selected spot. The Arrow keys do nothing and WASD make your character dive and roll to the North, South, East or West, great for dodging when being fired (or fire-breathed) at.

The 'K' key brings up a screen which shows a three-section Skill tree of sorts. The menu buttons are [Character] [Skills] [Journal] and [Map] all pretty much obvious. Each leads to another screen.

As you level-up you gain points that you can apparently spend to make your skills and abilities better, much like in most similar and Role-Play games. However, and I feel rather daft saying this, but I have points to spend and no idea how to spend them - the mechanic for this is not as intuitive as in most other games.

For examples: the 'I' key does not bring up your Inventory and the 'E' key doesn't Equip nor is it a key that covers most Actions.

Your mission is broken down into Quests or Tasks. The first one identified is to locate and kill a Huge, Mad, Monkey. You have a mini map on the screen, bottom right, which shows Red Dots for enemies, usually at this point of the adventure these will be mini mad monkeys, mini mad mother monkeys or Triffid type plants that spit at you.

Follow the arrow on the mini map - it is attached to the outer edge of the circular map and points in the direction your target is. Naturally it points 'as the crow flies' when in reality your journey is around hills and via forest paths, killing everything en route.

This is as far as I have got so far but it's more than far enough to be able to conclude that the Story mode, particularly, is a grand adventure. I don't feel like I am playing an RPG but more like an extremely updated version of the games from the late 90s to early 2000's such as Diablo. The gameplay is similar but the graphics are so very highly advanced.

Throughout your journey through the jungle you will find Mana and Health points (floating Blue or Red gems) and loot chests which, so far and touch wood, have all contained some gold coins and on occasion, a piece of useful weaponry or armour, none have exploded and caused damage to me so far.

I did pick up a follower, Warakusi, and she aided me in combat for a while, but when the going got tough she was down at the foodtruck getting Burritos and Coffee (ie. nowhere to be seen).

Below you can see the result of my battle with the Super Gorilla - it died! True to being an end of level type of monster this was no easy or straightforward fight. The Gorilla kept disappearing and sending three large mad monkeys to continue the combat. Once you dispatched of them a red circle appeared on the ground.

If you are quick enough (or clever enough to recognise this for what it represents) then you could survive being rendered stunned - naturally I didn't because  I am a klutz at dodging, can't even blame my arthritic fingers this time as it was my addled brain cell that didn't think fast enough.

I did survive.

So far I have enjoyed this adventure and am looking forward to whatever is next for me to face. SHARDS here I come!

© Chris Baylis 2011-2021