Stela is a cinematic, atmospheric platformer about a young woman witnessing the final days of a mysterious ancient world.
Overcome daunting challenges, treacherous terrain, and gargantuan beasts while traversing a decaying land. Manipulate the environment to solve elaborate puzzles and creep past dangerous creatures under cover of muted landscapes, all set to an original soundtrack. Survive sweeping environments including mysterious towns, haunting forests, and massive subterranean ruins brought to life in an atmospheric experience.
One of the first things you notice when your nondescript main character awakens in a cave bathed with light, is just how beautiful the backgrounds in STELA are. There is a sense of wonder and immersion as your eye tries to take in everything. The perspective between the character and the backgrounds gives the player a wider view of the environments. The use of shadow is both functional to the gameplay and necessary to convey the ambiance and terror of the creatures stalking you throughout the game.
It’s been a long time since a game with such simple controls and concepts has made my adrenaline spike, but STELA has from the start. The simplicity of the controls doesn’t mean the game is easy. Between the creatures stalking you throughout the game and the puzzles you will need to figure out to both progress and stay alive, timing with the controls is crucial. The puzzles are satisfying in their complexity and the game knows how to frame and exploit tension as you’re playing. There is a definite learning curve as you play and the game will not reward you with hints or even a tutorial so be prepared to fail at times.
I have been playing STELA on and off for about a month now and it definitely tells a lot of story for a game with no dialogue. The story is immersive and interesting and once you begin to play, you will be engaged in the beauty of the surroundings, the tension the creatures elicit, the moody, sweeping music and much more. Definitely one I want to play til completion.