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Valfaris is a brutal action platformer, developed by Steel Mantis and released on October 10th, 2019 for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Like the creator's previous work, Slain, it is brutally difficult and with aesthetics clearly inspired by heavy metal, although the setting is sci-fi rather than fantasy this time.
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The game is named after the planet-sized citadel of Valfaris, once a shining jewel in the crown of Emperor Vroll, but which had mysteriously disappeared from all charts long ago, and the Emperor went missing with it. Now, however, it had re-emerged around the orbit of Soli Mora, a slowly dying purple star.

Vroll's son, Prince Therion, was once born on Valfaris, but ever since it was gone, he had long dreamed of hunting down Vroll for his crimes. Now that Valfaris is back, and represents his best chance of finding Vroll, he flies there without a second thought, even if he only has his sword, pistol and wolf ship's AI Hecate to assist him.

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Tropes present in this game:

  • All for Nothing: In the end, Therion finds out that Vroll fled Valfaris long ago, while its interim ruler, Kyvok, was a noble lord who intended to send Valfaris into the star to destroy its corruption for good, and would have done so even if Therion had never shown up.
  • An Axe to Grind: A melee weapon you can find is the Blood Axe. It swings faster than your standard sword.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: After going through the hive area, and having fought Hive Sentinel boss earlier, Therion expects to battle the Hive Queen now. She likewise roars in anticipation of the fight...only for the Exterminator Mech to burst through and immediately drive its energy weapon through it. Lord Kyvok congratulates it over the commlink, but then tells it to deal with you as well.
  • BFG: All of your energy-consuming weapons are this.
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  • Big Bad: No less than Emperor Vroll himself, whose hubristic experiments at trying to exploit alternate dimensions have corrupted both him and Valfaris.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Justified, as your sidearm is an energy weapon.
  • Drop the Hammer: The penultimate boss, Furrok, fights mainly with a hammer.
  • Dying as Yourself: Once you finally defeat him, Hydrovok, the mutated form of Kyvok, asks you to finish him so that you can end this madness.
  • Energy Blade: Therion's primary weapon is a sword of blue plasma. Lord Kyvok wields a large, purple energy sword.
  • Expy: A few.
    • From the first trailers, the game was colloquially described as the "Emperor of Mankind game", due to Therion both possessing a great deal of physical resemblance to Emperor at his prime and being equipped with very WH40K-style armor and weapons, not to mention a similar sort of brutality. Once released, however, it became clear that Valfaris actually inverts this definition: if anything, you are playing as Horus in an alternate universe where he remained pure and it's the Emperor himself who has been corrupted, and now needs to be hunted down.
    • Therion's only loyal companion and conversation partner of any kind is Hecate, an AI on his ship with female holographic appearance and personality, who clearly fulfils the same role as Cortana.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Even though Lord Kyvok runs from Therion after you defeat him the first time, (in his Ironclad Desolator mech), in the end, he's all about it. As he's literally ensured his own death by driving Valfaris into Sol Mori at this point, meaning that whether or not Therion dies is the only thing left in doubt.
    Kyvok: Therion, you are just in time. Soon, we shall be cleansed by Sol Mori's radiant beauty. Let us enjoy a final battle as we creep towards destiny. It seems fitting that as Valfaris dies, so does a Son of Vroll.
    Therion: Even though I was born on Valfaris, I have no intention of dying here.
    Kyvok: Don't be afraid Therion. We can embrace death together.
    Therion: As tempting as that sounds, I have other plans.
  • Flash of Pain: Enemies flash red when hit.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon:
    • The Man O' War, a huge flamethrower which costs energy to fire but does a decent amount of damage per second.
    • The Exterminator Mech is equipped with what appears to be a plasma flamethrower in one hand. The other hand has a cross-like collection of three energy blades.
  • Flunky Boss: Ithan constantly summons bugs to assist him. Arach also has arachnids crawling down from both sides to assist it.
  • Garden of Evil: The third area are corrupted gardens, which are now flooded with acid instead of water and are home to all sorts of horrific plant and insect life.
  • Giant Spider: Fittingly named Arach is one such boss. However, its spends the whole battle suspended in the middle of the ceiling practically immobile, only spitting a large orb projectile that has a long charge-up time and can be bounced back to inflict great damage. The only that prevents it from being a total pushover are the lesser arachnids that regularly crawl in from both sides of the screen.
  • Gorn: The game features an almost comical amount of gore and blood. Any combat arena will be painted red and covered by dismembered remains by the time the fight is over.
  • Hero Antagonist: You eventually find out that Vroll left long ago and Valfaris is actually "ruled" by Lord Kyvok, whose only goal is to purge Valfaris of the corruption left behind by Vroll. By the time you show up, he's already made peace with the idea it would require him to drive Valfaris into the star and die himself in process; in fact, that is the only reason it resurfaced.
    • Likewise, his second-in-command, Furrok, is a noble warrior who only fights you because he's been ordered to, and his honor disallows him to avoid fighting you.
  • Laser Sight: One is always present on the sniper rifle of Ithan, the undead brother of Therion. Like with most examples, he would have been better off without it, as it really only lets you know where to dodge.
  • Life Drain: Defeating Arach boss allows Therion to use its leg as a weapon, and enjoy life drain at the expense of reduced damage. There's also the Bishop's Reach, a sidearm that drains life from enemies, but hurts Therion if he fires it without hitting any targets.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Therion has an energy shield which can block shots and melee attacks. Timing it right allows Therion to reflect shots back to enemies or parry melee strikes. However, it uses energy, the more powerful the blocked attack is, the more energy it requires.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Envoy of Destruction, a weapon that fires a barrage of homing rockets.
  • Mook Maker: The first "boss", Fuel Crystal Chamber, does absolutely nothing at all. However, as soon as you find out you need to destroy it to get the crystal inside, enemies begin to constantly teleport inside until you deal with the battle.
  • Nintendo Hard: Make no mistake, this is a very difficult game. You will die. A lot.
  • One-Winged Angel: The final battle with Lord Kyvok eventually ends with him giving in to corruption and turning into Hydravok, a three-headed, flame-breathing hydra. Once you defeat this form too, though, he regains sanity and demands a finishing blow to end the madness.
  • Platform Battle: Multiple boss battles include a set of platforms, and either most of the normal floor is harmful to Therion, or it is regularly swept by boss' attacks and/or the boss is at times out of reach unless you climb the platforms.
  • The Power of Rock: Therion actually headbangs while a guitar riff plays when collecting a new weapon. Considering the Heavy Metal aesthetic of the game, it's hardly surprising.
  • Puzzle Boss: Gazer Guard is invulnerable in its first phase, but it doesn't directly attack you either. Instead, its "spirit" is placed inside one of the cores surrounding it, and then all of them are reshuffled several times, and you need to correctly track the reshuffling process and hit the right orb regardless.
  • Rise to the Challenge: The battle with Hell Cobra forces Therion to contend with the slowly rising acid pool. The same thing happens when you fight another Hell Cobra near the end.
  • Sequel Hook: The game ends with Therion realizing Vroll left Valfaris long ago as it's destroyed in flamed by Kyvok, but he then learns that there nine more traces of Vroll in the galaxy to investigate.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Furrok can smash his hammer into the ground to create a fiery shockwave along the ground.
  • Shout-Out: Defeating the penultimate boss, Furrok, awards Therion with a flaming sword that's just like the one used by the protagonist of Slain.
  • Sword and Gun: Your starting weapons are an energy sword and a plasma gun, which Therion wields one in each hand. You will find a plethora of other sidearms and melee weapons.
  • Taking You with Me: This is Kyvok's intention when you reach the final battle with him. He knew that he's corrupted too, and always intended to die alongside Valfaris after setting its course into the star, but now that Therion is here, he considers a final battle to the death before the star destroys them to be a perfect finish.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: It eventually turns out that Therion's father, Emperor Vroll, had left Valfaris long before he arrived. After Therion defeats Kyvok and flies off as Valfaris is consumed in the fires of , he requests a primary trace scan from Hecate, who eventually picks up nine traces of Vroll, meaning that Therion's hunt could go on for a few more games to say the least.

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