Himno – The Silent Melody is the standalone rogue-lite combat expansion of the peaceful game Himno. On the contrary to the peaceful Himno released in 2019, this one includes some brutal combat for a change, making it much more challenging and stressful – quite the opposite of the relaxing nature of the previous game!
Developer: David Moralejo Sánchez Publisher: GrabTheGames Genre: Rogue-lite, Action, 2D Platformer, Action RPG Release Date: 20 Oct 2021 Reviewed on: PC/Windows Available on: PC (Windows, Linux) Link: Steam Gameplay Video: Youtube Review copy was a demo.
Visually the game has a distinct pixel style and the graphics add a lot to the atmosphere – a bit dark and gloomy but fitting to the style adding heaps of tension. Gives me some Terraria vibes! Motion is fluid and controls are very responsive something that really helps you maneuver around, it plays really well! Controls need a bit of a getting used to, but the tutorial at the start of the play will help you on that, but I needed some practice to flex that muscle memory needed for certain fights that required a lot of dodging.
Music is wonderfully calm and soothing, sound effects are punchy and the rain effect adds a lot to the ambiance – I could listen to it for hours!
Gameplay-wise, Himno – The Silent Melody is mainly a platform game with randomly generated, procedurally harder levels, which you can traverse around using portals/doors (or even reset them by using the same door you came from) – I did get lost a few times using those as the game did not offer any kind of minimap that would assist getting your bearings. But the game offers plenty of exploration as you traverse the levels and get to find more and more interesting stuff. Additionally, you can always get back to the main camp, by using “Essence Core” at some distinctly looking “Essence” portals.
Himno does not really hold any hands – you’re thrown into it without so much of an introduction, and you get to know more about it by exploring around the levels which is quite fun and intriguing. At the start, you have this feeling that you do not know what you’re supposed to do or how anything works. My first thought about it was “Let’s survive first, and we’ll take it from there…”
Combat is challenging, and the game has a big variance in terms of what mobs you encounter – for example, you can encounter bees that fly around fast and you need to target from afar to damage, Robots that remain stationary and pack a nice punch to their attacks which you need to avoid or dodge If you don’t want your journey (and Essence, which is effectively your character’s health) to end abruptly. Also, the game offers a nice variety of melee and ranged weapons to suit your playstyle. You often need to think ahead of the encounter for the best weapon to use, as it is not a mindless act – you must time your attacks and defenses if you want to survive!
The levels (called Districts) are peppered with treasure chests that often contain lots of items including “Runes” that you can equip for some nice buffs (e.g Charge Rune – Gives you speed for a short period of time when using the shield). Runes add depth to the combat and can be used for different playstyles by equipping them and offering high replay value.
Some chests are circled in “red smoke” and you cannot open them unless you kill some mobs and the current district’s corruption levels decrease. When you get the message that “Corruption in District Decreased” make sure you go back and open the chest as those kinds of chests offer some great loot (including increased stats)! Usually, just beside these chests, you will find “doors” marked with distinct icons to higher-ranked districts – but make sure you’re equipped enough for the increased difficulty, or just reset the current district by using the “entrance” and get more loot and stats (grind up soldier!) before you get to a higher district.
Crafting is essential to progress in Himno. As you explore the districts you gather items like Tess Fiber, Rocks, and ores which are used to craft items. Depending on the workbench you find (or even create the bench yourself) you can craft ammo (Arrows etc.), equipment (such as shields), weapons (melee and range) even throwable bombs needed to fight increasingly harder mobs. Another type of “workbench” will allow you to create potions such as “Potion of Essence – Your essence is regenerated faster for a few seconds” and “Return Potion – Teleports you to the camp. Very unstable, 45% of the inventory and all cons are lost upon use” – yikes!
You can go back to the main camp (careful, this resets your stats) and use all the coins and materials for your perusal at the shop, acquiring items and/or new crafting benches or extend your camp using build mode.
In build mode you can build & modify your own base, adding workbenches and anvils as well as boxes to store items from your inventory (essentially vaults). Additionally, you can change the “terrain” to accommodate any and all of your camp items. So that’s something you can work upon progression-wise.
I won’t go further into detail on this as I believe the fun in this game is exploring and getting to find out all about this yourself!
All in all, Himno the Silent Melody is a pleasant experience – you get to explore a lot, craft a lot, and hopefully don’t die a lot, and all that in a beautiful-looking game. I’m looking forward to getting the full game that was released a few days ago so I can fully experience this further, but for those of you that want to test the waters, the demo is pretty nice, and I think it will whet your appetite for the full experience (which is exactly the point of a successful demo)!
Graphics: 8,5 Sound: 8,5 Gameplay: 9 Fun Factor: 9 Final Verdict/Overall: 8,8