A note before we start, it’s worth reading up on the context in which Clan O’Conall was developed and how this beautifully presented 2D action-platformer came to be. Check out Kirsten Howarth’s article on Clan O’Conall’s rocky road to release HERE.
What is it?
It’s Trine meets Guacamelee! in a 2D action platformer where players need to switch between three characters in order to solve puzzles, beat bosses, and traverse beautifully realised landscapes. The objective? Reach Caorànach, The Mother of Demons and retrieve that Crown of the Stag that she stole from your family.
If you didn’t know what you were looking at you would be forgiven for casting an eye over Clan O’Conall’s opening cutscenes and assuming you were watching some of the very best Cartoon Network had to during the 90s. By turns, colourful, expressive and haunting, it manages to be all these things whilst also remaining functionally clear – no matter how many monsters you end up scrapping with, or how quickly you swap between the three main characters, frantic never becomes confusing and visually busy never becomes overcrowded.
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Swap ‘Till You Drop
The O’Conall siblings; Swordmaster Kilcannon, Huntress Clakshot, and Haggish the Brute are your playable characters. Each has a unique skillset which can be upgraded as you progress. Haggish as a tanky brawler, Kilcannon as a mid weight warrior and Clakshot as your highly mobile ranged character with a double jump. Clakshot is your best bet for putting you upgrade points into – bosses use regular attack patterns but they hit hard and move fast, so the more nimble you are and the further away you can hit them from, the better. Each different character has their own health bar which adds a secondary level of tension to boss fights as the more damage you take, the fewer offensive options you have.
Authentic by Design
Speaking of mythical creatures, HitGrab’s artistic leadership toured around the UK during the early stages of development in order to gain inspiration for Clan O’Conall from the source. It shows – from the headless horseman Dullahan, to Caorànach, The Mother of Demons herself, each of the characters are recognisable but also distinct reinterpretations of their source material. The same goes for the environmental art that ranges from the mortal realm to the mythical world of the Fae. For any fans of Celtic folklore you’ll be getting more of what you love with a vibrant, refreshing twist.
A vibrant, snappy action platformer that makes the most of its Celtic source material and never feels fidgety, no matter how frantic combat or platforming gets. A real gem that has yet to find its audience on PC, but might just find it later this year when a rumoured Switch port is tipped to be released.