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Avatar ImageAztaka Review
By: Ashley K. | September 27th, 2009

Aztaka Preview

It’s very rare that a true indie gem comes along and blows you out of the water with its innovative design, incredible art direction, and intuitive controls, but Aztaka has achieved this and so much more.

Features Overview

  • Manipulate spiritual energy to solve mysteries and vanquish foes
  • Enhance and customize your character by training skills and abilities, and acquiring ancient artifacts
  • Embark on optional side-quests to acquire valuable items and gold
  • Visit shops to buy and sell potions, rings, piercings and skills to aid in your travels
  • Challenging yet simple spell casting system
  • Twenty-one unique and detailed levels

Aztaka is set in Mexico in 1328 and follows the story of an Aztec warrior named Huitzilo. Born from the Gods and destined to save his people, Huitzilo must find the seven keys in order to unlock the Path of the Gods and bring peace and prosperity back to his people. Joining him in this monumental task is Ayohpa, a small hummingbird with divine powers. Together, these two must stop Chihuac, and evil woman who is responsible for the death and despair of Huitzilo’s people, and the murderer of his mother.

Aztaka plays to many different genre classifications, with RPG elements mixed in with platformer and puzzle gaming elements. It’s a delicious combination and will leave you wanting more as you explore the breath-taking environments and do battle with a few very challenging foes.

Style & Substance

The most outstanding thing about Aztaka is the art direction. All of the environments are hand-drawn lush areas which will have you craving more of the stylistic direction. Huitzilo will travel from lush jungles to dark swamps and hidden temples, with each area exquisitely detailed and truly immerses you in the experience.

No attention to detail has been left out in the UI either, with an easy to use and follow system that displays all your stats and information in a clear and concise manner.

A great look at the interface and story progression in the game.

A great look at the interface and story progression in the game.

Of course, all of this beauty and attention means nothing if the game is hard to control, but Aztaka excels in this area as well. Huitizilo is controlled using your basic movement keys on the keyboard, while you attack with the mouse. This control scheme works very well with the game, as spells are cast via your hummingbird companion with the mouse in a sort of Simon-like mini-game.

Controlling Huitzilo is straightforward. Movement is controlled by the W, S, A and D buttons (jump, duck, left and right respectively) and the mouse (right-click to attack, left click to select or grab items). You can also select spells by clicking on your hummingbird companion.

Game Play

Huitzilo progresses through 22 levels of lush environments, defeating enemies and earning experience and skill points in the similar vane of RPGs. However, the puzzle elements of the game will need to be solved using mystical energy, which Huitzilo collects from various enemies and locations. This mystical energy comes in four different varieties, from life and death to dark and light.

This mystical energy is manipulated with the mouse and each type of energy has a different effect and can perform certain tasks, such as healing yourself, creating light in dark areas, or even opening chests and growing new tree branches to reach certain areas. Since all four forms of energy can be retained once Huitzilo finds the right receptacles, its wise to keep a good supply on hand.

A view of your inventory in Aztaka and the many customization options you have.

A view of your inventory in Aztaka and the many customization options you have.

Progressing through the game is rather easy at first, but as Huitzilo levels up and gains new abilities and skill points, you must decide where to place his stats. Strength, agility, and fortitude are the main stats for Huitzilo, which increases his power, critical strike chance, and overall health respectively. You also start the game with a basic attack ability, but as you find new weapons and scrolls, you’ll add the ability to sprint, wall jump, and even destroy cracked structures.

In addition to leveling up Huitzilo, as you fight and gain experience, your hummingbird companion will also receive levels and skill points. As she is your source of magic, increasing her divine mana pool and her power when casting spells is a must.

The abilities and spells menu gives a description of both Huitzilo & Ayohpa's abilities.

The abilities and spells menu gives a description of both Huitzilo & Ayohpa's abilities.

While Aztaka plays out like an RPG platformer, it is not linear and the player must backtrack through several of the previous areas in order to progress the story further. While this may sound tedious, as you unlock new abilities and spells for Huitzilo and Ayohpa, it becomes beneficial to revisit these areas to reach additional items you could not reach before.

Final Thoughts

Rating: 9/10

The storyline is engaging and the RPG elements of Aztaka are presented well, and I found myself wanting to keep playing even as I knew I had other commitments. Because of the way the story is presented, you are left wanting more as you continue through your quest log, making Aztaka a very addictive side-scrolling platformer/RPG.

As I progressed through the game and gained the Wall Jumping ability, I found this technique to be frustrating to use and its required to advance throughout the game, so I had to look up online how to use it properly, as the in-game explanation does not do a very good job of explaining how to perform a wall jump.

Other than this minor annoyance in the control scheme, everything about Aztaka spells out a truly enjoyable experience, from the excellent storyline to the great environments and a truly awe-inspiring soundtrack.

System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows XP / Vista
  • 2 GHz Processor
  • 2 GB System Memory
  • 256 MB DirectX 9.0c Compliant 3D Video Card (w/Shader Model 2.0 Support)
  • DirectX 9.0c Compliant Sound Card
  • 2.5 GB Available Hard Disk Space
  • DirectX 9.0c

Recommended Requirements:

  • Windows XP / Vista
  • 2 GHz Processor
  • 2 GB System Memory
  • 512 MB DirectX 9.0c Compliant 3D Video Card (w/Shader Model 2.0 Support)
  • DirectX 9.0c Compliant Sound Card
  • 2.5 GB Available Hard Disk Space
  • DirectX 9.0c

Official Trailer

This trailer offers a great look and listen into some of Aztaka’s gameplay and the unique style of art which is featured throughout the game, as well as the outstanding soundtrack.

A demo of Aztaka is available, as well as the full version of the game from Direct2Drive, Impulse, & GamersGate for $24.95

  1. Avatar Image

    Chris Carter

    Excellent write up! The Diablo-esque nostalgia is enticing me.

  2. Avatar Image

    Ashley K.

    @Chris: Sweet, thanks for the link. I was wondering if you’d do a write up on Aion.

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  6. Boris

    I heard they are gonna release Aztaka v1.5 with the source code tomorow! Fu[k yeah!

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