Early Access Showcase: The Secrets of Raetikon

Every week we bring you a new feature and every month we iterate on those features. This is the Early Access Showcase. It's space where we will discuss games that are currently in a pre-release state but are accessible via open betas or Steam's Early Access program. If you missed last week's edition of Hall of Fame, check it out here. For last moths Early Access Showcase, check it out here. Now on to The Secrets of Raetikon.

The Secrets of Raetikon made me want to check out its early access build simply with its art alone. The look of the game was so beautiful and unique that I couldn’t say know. I realize this is an incredibly shallow way to look at games but look at those screenshots! The world itself is built with sharp, geometric patterns and the colors that populate the game make everything pop and appear vivid. When I got into the game world I realized there is a lot more to The Secrets of Raetikon than just a pretty face.

Gameplay in The Secrets of Raetikon is simple but incredibly enjoyable. You play as a bird. The bird needs to collect slivers and shards to move on to the next area. There is certainly some overarching reason as to why this particular bird is collecting items but those are secrets that are not yet available to the public. So instead, I focused my time on swooping through the air, freely floating as birds are wont to do, and collecting shiny objects. The flying mechanics are simple and involve only a button press to flap your wings while you use the left tumbstick to control your aerial swoops and dives. However, the world of Raetikon is not just about aimlessly swopping and flying around, other wildlife inhabits the world and not all of it is friendly towards you.

Jackals, eagles, and giant hawks are vicious creatures who, unlike the rabbits and benevolent birds you first encounter, will not hesitate to harm you. One particular bird became a nuisance as every time I went to gain a shard it grabbed me in its talons and threw me into a bush. This is where the ingenious side of the game comes in. The bird you play as is tiny and seems defenseless, but that is only true if you’re unwilling to use your ingenuity. I realized that the bushes I was being thrown into had a space in the middle, a space I could fit into. By baiting the eagle to me and flying swiftly to the bushes I hid myself in the tiny space and watched the eagle nosedive the bushes until it was dead. Other fun moments include dropping rocks on enemy birds, creating basic traps, and outrunning your attackers to safety. None of this “combat” is mentioned or taught in the tutorial and I preferred it that way. It gave the world a sense of naturalism, as though the ecosystem in the world behaves on its own and you are just a visitor.

I don’t like to criticize games in Early Access as they’re still being developed but the one thing this game could use is a map. I often times got lost or was unsure of where to go next as the open levels allowed me to roam freely but I never felt confident in the directions of my roaming. With any luck a map can be introduced to make the game world navigable. It didn’t bother me that much, but that’s probably because I was too busy looking at all the pretty colors.

Seeing the beautiful graphics and style of The Secrets of Raetikon is absolute treat, and seeing it all in motion is even more impressive. The fluidity of the movements, the colorful visuals of the world, and the simplicity of the controls make The Secrets of Raetikon look like a very promising title.

Well, that's it for this edition of the Early Access Showcase. Check back next week for the next edition of the Backlog.