Remnants of Naezith

A game by Tolga Ay for PC, Mac, Linux, and Switch, originally released in 2018.
Remnants of Naezith is a high-speed precision grappler starring an adventurer named Kayra. Thousands of years ago, a powerful thunder dragon named Naezith ruled the skies, and after his death, the dragon’s body parts – his remnants – continued to hold his power. However, Naezith’s soul also remained behind and he has no intention of letting his power fall into other hands, and so he devises a plan to purge the land of these remnants.

While Kayra is exploring an ancient cave with his trusty rope and grappling hook, his equipment gives out and he falls into the darkness below, only to awaken with newfound powers. Gone are his rope and grapping hook, replaced by glowing claws magically bound to his hands (we hate it when that happens). With these hooks, Karya can now shoot magical beams from his hands, which serendipitously work in the same way as his old equipment.

While experimenting with these powers, the soul of Naezith appears to Kayra and tells him of his plan to rid the world of his ancient body parts. Naezith offers Kayra a trade: unlimited treasure in exchange for allowing Naezith to use his body as a vessel and complete his mission. Kayra accepts this offer, and his adventure begins.

Despite this longwinded and convoluted premise, there is nothing that elaborates upon or supports these foundational statements within the game itself. The game world consists entirely of abstract floating objects, and navigation is made along a branching map that allows players to select which levels they enter. There are no further narrative elements, no explanation as to why the world is now a wasteland of floating objects that only a magically empowered grappler could possibly navigate (Kayra is said to be exploring the world in search of the dragon’s remnants), and no further exposition as the player moves from one section of the line-drawn map to the next.

The game begins by offering short levels with explanations of the controls. Players are able to extend a grappling line to rock-based surfaces and swing back and forth. There are numerous metal surfaces to which the grapple will not hook, and the bottom of the screen is often lined with pools of water or spikes, resulting in death if the player disconnects at the wrong time. As in most grapple-based games, the key is to measure your speed and trajectory before disconnecting, with tougher challenges requiring multiple grapples in succession, and the game’s difficulty escalates quickly.

In addition to grappling and swinging, you may grapple to a point on the ceiling or along a wall and pull yourself rapidly toward it, and it’s possible to fling yourself upward along a vertical surface by pulling yourself toward it at a steep angle. Of key importance is the game’s dash maneuver which may be used to increase your movement speed while on the ground, in the air, or grappling. Players can even skim across the surface of water by dashing quickly with the right timing, as long as there is enough energy to power the maneuver. The dash maneuver draws from an energy meter that recharges slowly over time (or more quickly when standing on solid ground), so it must be used strategically.

Players can combine the dash maneuver with jumps, double jumps, and grapples to increase their speed through the environment and build up enough momentum to reach high platforms. The ability to double jump resets with each successful grapple, allowing skilled players to stay aloft and perform complex aerobatics with little need to ever touch the ground. It’s also possible to screw up a grapple and end up in an unwinnable situation, so the player is given a quick reset button that sends him back to the most recent checkpoint – these are moderately spaced – and another button that resets the entire level.

Players must master the game’s controls in order to make any kind of progress beyond the opening area. Advanced techniques are required even in the early going, offering a steep initial learning curve and an unrelenting challenge thereafter. While early areas offer a bit of fudge room and allow for alternate methods of completion, later levels require extremely precise movement with little room for error, with many challenges requiring the player to stay aloft for the entire level.

Players will see themselves swinging around spinning saw blades, flinging themselves between rows of spikes, jumping wildly through Portal-sque teleporters, pushing through repulsor walls, and dodging lasers, with most failures resulting in instant death, or at least a substantial loss of momentum. Losing momentum can be a killer here, as many challenges revolve around building up a high rate of speed and keeping it going to dodge obstacles and reach distant targets. Even if you’ve mastered the likes of Bionic Commando and Ninja Five-O, you will have a lot to learn here when it comes to the game’s pace and what it requires of your reaction time and dexterity.

Levels are designed to be completed in seconds, although it may take a few minutes to find your way through on a first attempt. You are graded on your speed through each level, and time rankings may be shared via online leaderboards. Each level loads with a ghost character following the basic route needed to get from one side of the level to the other, which helps the player understand what kinds of moves are required, but it’s possible to move much more quickly than this, and players can also compete against other players’ ghosts.

There are four worlds with 20 levels each, and these levels are connected on a line-drawn map that offers several branching paths. It is not necessary to complete every level in order to move forward, so players may skip around a bit if they get stuck. Once the completion threshold is met, players may move into the next themed area. There are also some bonus levels to be found by finding a secondary set of remnants hidden in some levels. The game also features a level editor if you’d like to try your hand at making some dastardly creations of your own, or playing someone else’s.

Remnants of Naezith was developed by Tolga Ay, who began developing games in 2014. At the time this game was developed, he was computer engineering student at Yildiz Technical University. The game won the indie prize at Gaming Istanbul 2017 and took third place in the Best of QUO VADIS 2017.