Indie game developer Alpha Six Productions describe themselves as the Platinum Games of independent developers. Their first major release The Joylancer: Legendary Motor Knight proves that they're worthy of this lofty title. Please keep in mind that my impressions of The Joylancer are based on the demo version.
Platinum Games Tropes
Despite being a 2D action platformer The Joylancer incorporates many of the tropes of Platinum Games' 3D action games. One of these tropes is the parry that can be performed by striking an enemy attack at the right time. Another trope is the clashes that occur when you attack at the same time as the enemy. To win these clashes the player must mash the attack button similar to the quicktime events in the Platinum Games title MadWorld.
Just like all Platinum Games beat 'em ups The Joylancer has a ranking system that grades the player based on their performance. The Joylancer also features a robust combo system that allows the player to chain standard attacks into more advanced techniques by move canceling. However, instead of a dodging system like most Platinum Games titles The Joylancer has a blocking system that allows the player to block weak attacks and even repel some enemies.
A Variety of Options
Another thing that really stood out to me about The Joylancer is the staggering amount of options that are available to the player. On top of the various difficulty settings that each change the game in a meaningful way the player also has the option of replacing the game's soundtrack with their own music. The player can even change the color palette of The Joylancer to either a full-color palette or one of several two color palettes like Pokemon Red.
The abilities of the main protagonist Joy can also be augmented by equipping the many different weapons and armor that are found in each stage. You can customize your experience further by selecting one of the unlockable characters that each have their own unique play styles and abilities. Character variety is especially important in The Joylancer because of its multiplayer mode that allows up to four players to play either cooperatively or competitively.
At first, glance The Joylancer might seem like another retro 2D platformer but it actually is more than it appears. The Joylancer incorporates modern action game tropes and gives the player the freedom to play how they want. So if you're in the mood for some over the top action I recommend giving The Joylancer a shot.