In the Game: “Pronty” Treads Water in a Sea of Better Metroidvania Games

Pronty is a new entry in the Metroidvania genre of games. Pronty asks and answers the question, “what if we had an entire game be the underwater level?” That’s exactly what Pronty does. You play as the adorable little fish fella named Pronty and are accompanied by their little robot javelin fish companion, Bront. You scour the city of Royla, which once bustled with life and a thriving population. Now it is ruined with aggressive marine life and pollution. Early in the game, you are introduced to the main antagonist, Raksha, who has caused all the strife that Royla has gone through. Raksha is this grotesque behemoth of a fish. It is up to you to deal with Raksha to bring peace back to Royla.

Pronty doesn’t do much to reinvent the genre, nor does it break any new ground, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Not every game has to change how things work. Pronty works like any other Metroidvania. You find upgrades and items along the way that open up new areas and hidden secrets to explore and seek out. The combat is handled through your mechanical swordfish friend Bront, who uses his very convenient sword nose to help deal with your enemies. Bront is also quite lovable. The characters in this game are all super cute and fun to get to know and learn about. There is also a ton of lore packed into this game. You are always learning new stuff through item descriptions and scannable objects. The attention to detail is really, really good here. It keeps the underwater world interesting and fresh throughout the whole experience.

As much as I loved the characters and the environment, the gameplay didn’t grab me like I wanted it to. I found a lot of gameplay mechanics to feel a little unresponsive at times. The dodging/evading mechanic felt unreliable to me. Often times, I felt like I was completely dashing through an enemy’s attack only to have a good chunk of my health bar taken away. This was a problem for me because dodging correctly actually gives you a damage boost against attackers. Trying to land the dodge consistently seemed way too difficult for me. I grew up playing a lot of rhythm games and have played basically every Soulslike out there. My parry/evasion timing is pretty good for the most part. I just could not get a proper grasp of it in Pronty for the life of me.

Pronty‘s overall movement speed also feels a little too slow for me. The game gives you a lot of mobility options along the way like the aforementioned dash and some others, but the regular swim speed could have been a lot faster. A lot of the earlier parts in the game felt like I was dragging my feet through some mud to get to where I wanted to go. Apparently, there is a movement speed upgrade but I never found it. I only found out about this afterward from a Steam review of the game. This might not be a problem for most people, but it hindered my experience. Maybe if I had done some more exploring I wouldn’t feel this way.

Many of those Steam reviews I had mentioned were extremely positive and had a lot of great stuff to say about Pronty. While I can’t agree with everything that I’ve seen online, what I can agree with is how great the art style and overall presentation of Pronty is. The characters are lovable and well designed, the music is really fun, and each area you visit feels intentional and realized. I also found this game to be a little bit easier than the usual games in this genre. Due to its lack of major difficulty and its charming characters and style, I think it’d be pretty easy to recommend this to more of a casual gamer looking for something with some substance to hold their attention for a bit. It’s a great little introduction to the Metroidvania genre for someone who isn’t familiar.

Pronty is a charming experience. It’s an easier Metroidvania than I’m used to which might be a negative for me, but is certainly a positive for others. I found myself getting frustrated over some basic mechanics that I wish were a little more fine-tuned. Maybe I’ve just been blessed with having recently finished Metroid Prime for my first time, but I wanted a little more from Pronty. I kept waiting for the game to click with me, but that moment never totally came. I recognize that my opinion isn’t the popular one and you actually might adore this game like most others do.

I think Pronty is fine. If you’ve been wanting to try a Metroidvania but have been scared off by the complexities and difficulty that the genre is known for, then give this game a go. However, if you’ve played any of the Metroidvania giants, you could probably skip out on this one without missing much.

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