Not quite the Joule in the crown
released OUt NOW! Reviewed on XO | Also on Pc
Publisher Microsoft studios
For someone who’s not had human company for most of her life, Joule has managed to keep herself admirably busy. She’s a crack shot with her rifle, for starters, and has adopted a rigorous exercise regime, if the arc of her double-jump is any indication. The industrious so-and-so is a dab hand with electronics, too, manufacturing a pair of dandy rocket boots for dashing across the desert sands of her otherwise uninhabited homeworld.
That’s because ReCore takes place entirely on Far Eden, a dusty marble that was selected as a prime terraforming candidate once Earth fell victim to a future-plague. Exactly why the terraforming effort hasn’t proceeded as planned is a mystery at the game’s outset, and you’re left to wander an open overworld with no one but an excitable robo-dog for company. Naturally, it isn’t long before some murderous machines turn up to kickstart the game’s actionadventure narrative.
ReCore has many minor faults, and a fair number of them can be banded together under a single subheading: pace. The game bogs you down in delays at every opportunity. Every player death, for instance, is followed by a loading screen of 90 seconds or more, which turns difficult boss battles into cruel and unusual exercises in anger management.
Its missteps often feel like desperate padding, but ReCore is not a short game, offering at least a dozen hours of play. Had it been trimmed back to six-to-eight hours, and a greater focus been placed on dungeon design rather than scouring the overworld, it’d be an easy recommendation.
It’s unfortunate but all too appropriate that ReCore manages to bury the core of a strong game in a weird, spiny exoskeleton. Like Joule, you’ll have to do some work if you’re going to extract that worthwhile kernel of knockabout, old-school fun from Armature’s adventure. James Nouch
Writer Joseph State was influenced by The Jungle Book and Peter Pan. He says there’s “a little bit of Wendy” in Joule.
She’d lost the Really Big Screwdriver needed to remove the sash and helmet.