Parents' Guide to

Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards

By Angelica Guarino, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Repetitive play, tech issues ruin myth-based action tale.

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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different game, which can be jarring once the scene transitions back to its primary gameplay design that feels outdated, especially for kids who aren’t connected to memories or gmaeplay of older titles.

Game Details

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