Replaced puts you into precise 2.5D platformer combat | hands-on gameplay

Replaced is a 2.5D sci-fi action platformer with a retro twist. You play as R.E.A.C.H., an artificial intelligence that has been trapped in a human body against its will.

At the Summer Game Fest Play Days event, I was able to play a 20-minute demo of the game coming from Ukraine’s Sad Cat Studios. The title is coming for the Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles, Windows PC, and with Xbox Game Pass.

Replaced combines a cinematic platformer, pixel art, and free-flow action combat with an engaging dystopian story set in an alternative 1980’s world. Everything is ruled by corruption and greed. The ones in power see humans and their organs as nothing more than just currency.

In the first part of the demo, I engaged in 2.5D combat with the enemies wielding melee weapons and the occasional gun. Since it takes place after the apocalypse, Replaced presents you with apocalyptic 2D scenery such as a fiery orange backdrop to the fighting.

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I had a long sword-like melee weapon that I could swing with heavy or light attacks at the enemies, who seemed subhuman. They attacked me from both sides, and I found I was often dealing with four attackers. I had to parry their melee attacks or suffer damage. I could also dive and dodge their attacks. But if I just hacked at them while they hacked at me, they eventually overwhelmed me.

So I had to get used to precisely blocking the enemies attack and then swing back at them. Occasionally, a heavily armored fighter with a big shield would come at me, and then I had to launch a heavy attack to strip it of its shield. I eventually got competent at this kind of fighting and waited for my openings.

Once in a while, my gun would charge enough from the attacks so I could fire a single shot. This was useful, as the enemy would also send out one fighter armed with a pistol as well. I had to dodge in order to escape and quickly shoot the pistol-bearing fighter to win. This went on for a while until I was able to finish off all of the fighters. Then a giant boss came at me, but I wasn’t able to beat it.

In the second part of the demo, I visited the people who were in charge of the city. They were laying low in the subway underground. The underground quarters for the largely homeless population was full of life, with marketplace stalls. I met with the leaders as they were turning down another character’s bid to launch a revolution against the establishment using a single gun. Since they wouldn’t help, I went on, exploring the city and hoping to scavenge some stuff.

And in the third part of the demo, I was able to watch a cutscene that set up the premise for the game. There was an obsessed programmer working way too hard trying get me, the AI character, to get inside a body. It was pretty dramatic and tense, and it made me want to play the game. We’ll see how this one evolves. It is a very creative roguelike game.

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