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Parents' Guide to

Solar Ash

By Joey Thurmond, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Slick, fast gameplay tripped up by repetition, simplicity.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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Parents say: Not yet rated
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This 3D action title features exploration and exchanges combat for platforming, but its repetitive and simplistic play holds it back. In Solar Ash, players glide across the ground and in cloud-like oceans with futuristic skates to complete a slew of obstacle courses and races against time. The controls are simple, and gameplay feels slick and tight, but there's an undeniable slipperiness and unpredictability to movement that rears its ugly head with frequent frustrating falls. On top of this, the game never adds any new mechanics to the initial moves, and starts to feel the same from beginning to end. While it's understandable that combat isn't the focus, the presence of enemies feels arbitrary since they're basically pests with singular attacks rather than fun, challenging foes to fight. The level design introduces foils to navigation with guard rails to grind on, and poisoned floors that must be sped across quickly, but they don't alter the core gameplay in any meaningful or exciting ways.

Exploration is the most engaging aspect of Solar Ash. Players will search out the Remnants in a large open world divided into several locations. Since there are audio logs to collect that unlock new outfits with passive bonus effects, players will find it hard to resist these optional objectives that unveil more storytelling and goodies to collect. At its heart, Solar Ash is a deeply personal project with excellent voice performances that prompts reflection on how to accept tragedy when it comes, and finding the right ways to press on from those experiences instead of fixating on things that cannot be changed. It's greatly helped by how beautiful its environments are complemented with a soundtrack of electronic and ambient tracks that make Solar Ash an artistic and musical treat. But in the end, Solar Ash is polished and pretty, but could have been so much more if its levels and gameplay were more complex.

Game Details

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