Afterimage is a beautiful hand-drawn Metroidvania-style game with satisfying melee combat and a gratifying array of options with which to overcome its many tough boss encounters. Fans of Hollow Knight and Blasphemous will likely find much to love here as it has in common a similarly excellent visual aesthetic, tense platforming sections, a challenging brand of 2D combat, and a vast, interconnected world.

Developed by Aurogon Shanghai, Afterimage tells the tale of the amnesiac girl, Renee, as she journeys across the vibrant world of Engardin, tracking down and defeating the goliaths that plague this world. She is ably assisted in this, unfortunately, by her annoying sidekick, Ifree, who almost immediately wears out his welcome with his grating voiceover.

The RPG mechanics at play are quite engaging, even if the massive skill tree offers less freedom than we initially thought, with certain abilities being gated by level requirements. Still, you can create builds around the varied weapons you come across, with each type having its own unique move set. Two weapons can be equipped at once, and skill tree investment can unlock additional abilities for each weapon, allowing for yet further customization.

Afterimage is a challenging game, and quite long too, featuring more than 30 boss encounters across its 20+ hour runtime. Grinding will be necessary at times, too, both for XP and upgrade materials in order to power up your armaments. Thankfully combat is fast and fluid, with controls feeling finely tuned, and lucrative runs can be chained together later on, making this aspect much less of a chore.

There is a veritable smorgasbord of enemies to overcome, more than 150 all told, each lovingly designed and presenting a particular challenge to the player. Mixups can become quite devious later on, and boss encounters will feature multiple phases, requiring repetition and mastery to overcome.

Afterimage does enough to stand out in a genre that is quickly becoming overcrowded, with its surprisingly deep combat and excellent visual design. It doesn't reinvent the wheel but will likely find a loving home in the hands of Metroidvania enthusiasts.