Review – Beholgar

I was wondering when would the incessant wave of indie metroidvanias reach a point in which I’d legitimately struggle to talk about one of them out of sheer exhaustion and lack of anything interesting to point out. Less polished or memorable metroidvanias like Dandara or Gato Roboto still had some novelty behind their premises, stuff I can still commend them for. Beholgar, on the other hand, is not an example of such. Despite not being particularly bad, it might just be one of the most “sure, whatever” metroidvanias I’ve ever played.

Beholgar Plot

Tolkien-esque world building, this is not.

At first, things seem promising. This is, in essence, the closest to a Conan metroidvania we’ll ever get. We play as a barbarian set to rid a land of demons summoned by an evil sorcerer. After a brief intro where you’re bombarded with text, you expect for Beholgar to be plot-heavy or epic… that ain’t the case. It then reverts back to being a functional but very basic 2D platformer/metroidvania, where the lack of a proper direction to follow and the annoying difficulty spikes bring the experience down several notches.

It boils down to somewhat stiff controls, poor platforming, but most importantly, the fact that your supposedly almighty barbarian is, at the beginning of the game, made out of pre-broken glass. You die a lot out of the fact you’re way too frail, resulting in a constant loss of resources which could, in theory, help you out with your progression. There is a huge emphasis on dealing with respawning enemies that love to throw ranged attacks at you, while you’re limited to a paltry amount of shockingly weak projectiles in response. You’re told to figure out a way to approach these foes without taking too much damage (easier said than done) before being able to wipe them out.

Beholgar Visuals

Decent visuals. Not so decent platforming.

It never falls into the irritating valley of “too impossible to deal with”, but it never reaches that point where it’s challenging and motivating at the same time. Couple this with the average-at-best presentation (the retro visuals are good, but the Comic Sans-like font plaguing the interface is atrocious), and you get a game that’s just, you know, there. Some boss designs are cool, but getting to them is a bit tiresome. The music is your typical “it goes into one ear and leaves through the other” stuff, being largely unmemorable. I wasn’t able to remember a single note from the soundtrack a few minutes after turning the game off, for instance.

Beholgar Gameplay

For a barbarian, you’re as frail as a twig once the game starts.

Beholgar is just… there. It’s not a terrible metroidvania, but it’s severely lacking in notable elements that make it positively stand out among a sea of other indie metroidvanias in the market. Not even the fact this is the closest to a Conan metroidvania we’ll probably ever get seemed to pique my interest at the end of the day. All in all, it’s not an offensively bad game, far from it, but it’s very unmemorable. And sometimes, being forgettable and bland is even more disappointing than being outright bad. At least I have (less than fond) memories of the bad games I play.


Graphics: 6.5

The 16-bit visuals are easily the game’s highlight, until they’re hampered by the atrocious usage of a font that reminded me way too much of Comic Sans. Ew.

Gameplay: 6.5

Simple and intuitive controls clash against poor platforming and an annoying difficulty curve, especially at the beginning of the game.

Sound: 5.0

Upon turning the game off, I’d immediately forget about its soundtrack. Need I say more?

Fun Factor: 5.0

Not exactly a bad metroidvania, but an aggressively forgettable one. It doesn’t take advantage of its character designs, its progression is generic at best, its presentation is just average, and its initial difficulty spikes are annoying, not motivating.

Final Verdict: 6.0

Beholgar is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Beholgar was provided by the publisher.