Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards
By Angelica Guarino,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Repetitive play, tech issues ruin myth-based action tale.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
There isn't much outside of the traditional superhero narrative, but themes of fighting for oneself and taking on family responsibility are prevalent throughout the tale.
Positive Role Models
Aluna is passionate, talented, and proud of where she comes from. She's happy to fulfill her duty to protect her mother's magic and jumps headfirst into solving problems when asked to take them on.
Ease of Play
There are many helpful in-game tips as well as multiple difficulty levels, even one which allows players to focus on the story more than the combat if they so choose.
Violence & Scariness
Fantasy depictions of violence are common throughout, including bodies of enemies that don't disappear after they're defeated.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The Earth goddess, Pachamama, appears naked when she speaks to Aluna, covered by vines instead of clothing. This nudity isn't sexual.
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Products & Purchases
Aluna not only appears in her own comic book series but also as a playable character Heroes of Newerth, a multiplayer online battle arena title.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards is an action-RPG (role-playing game) available for Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. This tale of 16th century Spain stars the demi-god daughter of Earth goddess mother and a Spanish conquistador father - Aluna. Combat frequently occurs during gameplay, and the bodies of defeated enemies remain onscreen, but no blood or gore's shown. Pachamama, the Earth Goddess, is shown naked, with vines wrapped around her body instead of clothing, but this isn't meant to be sexual in nature. Parents should also be aware that Aluna has her own comic book series, and appears in a separate multiplayer game, Heroes of Newerth, as a playable character.
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Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards
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What’s It About?
ALUNA: SENTINEL OF THE SHARDS features the heroine of an existing comic book series, “The World of Aluna.” Co-written by the writers of Assassin’s Creed and Batman: Arkham Origins, this game transforms the comic book story into a playable adventure. Aluna is a warrior who wears a shard containing her mother’s power as a necklace, allowing her to harness her mother’s magical powers and use them in battle. Pachamama, Aluna’s mother, tells her that the shard she wears is one of many, and most have gone missing. It's not long before a member of an evil cult called Nivaro arrives to tell Aluna that her mother’s suspicions are correct. The group's planning to take over all of the villages in Tairona, and Pachamama tells Aluna that the only way to stop them is to find all of the missing shards and take power away from the cult. Aluna readily assumes the task and sets off to find help in the form of shamans, soldiers, and village leaders.
Is It Any Good?
With an original premise rooted in a historically accurate 16th century world, this adventure has an epic setting, but bland gameplay and graphics that mellows out the experience after a few hours of play. There are stretches of Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards that look the same and can make navigating the map confusing. In addition, fighting repetitive groups of enemies feels tedious, which interrupts players’ emotional investment in the story. Aluna seems to be more focused on combat (because the story's already been outlined for fans in the comic book series), but these longer stretches of combat still affect the pace. At least players can explore skill trees in melee, ranged, and magic abilities that work very well when used in tandem. Players also have the ability to totally rebuild their skill trees by refunding and re-redeeming skills. The freedom to build a character up from the bottom mid-game, as well as changing difficulty levels and equipment builds, offers a welcome opportunity to reset once gameplay gets stale.
There’s nothing wrong with an action-RPG (role-playing game) prioritizing action, but the biggest problems are technical issues and visual design choices that are confusing. Aluna has lots of laggy gameplay and glitches. Enemies will sometimes just stop fighting and stand motionless, still vulnerable to Aluna’s attacks. If this happened once or twice, it would be excusable, but it happens repeatedly. Also, the graphics are intentionally reminiscent of older games from the 1990s, namely the original Diablo game. This is especially apparent when animated illustrations from the Aluna comic books are accompanied by engaging narration to offer additional story exposition. These segments are stunning, but they look like they belong in a completely different game, which can be jarring once the scene transitions back to its primary gameplay design that feels outdated, especially for kids who aren’t connected to memories or gmaeplay of older titles.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about female heroes in video games. Aluna is one of very few Hispanic female protagonists to be given her own role-playing game, so what does this mean for the future of video game characters? Do you see yourself represented in the games you play?
What's the benefit to mixing both history and mythology in creating a new and exciting world? Are there any possible negatives?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Digiart Interactive
- Release date: May 26, 2021
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Superheroes, Great Girl Role Models
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy violence
- Last updated: August 2, 2021
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