Recompile - PC Review

by developer Phigames and publisher Dear VillagersPC review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Having originally grabbed my curiosity from an aesthetics standpoint, it wasn’t long until Recompile by Phigames had me wanting to know more about the space that I found myself within. Taking control of a nameless and semi-formless computer program, it’s up to you to go through a series of interconnected and broken networked machines in an attempt to restore the systems to find out what happened to cause all of this damage.

This for me was the biggest draw. Unlike a lot of other “what happened” like experiences, Recompile doesn’t exist in the outside world. You’re not walking through a broken hull, a long dead land where nothing grows and only monsters roam, or some other husk of a time long passed. Instead, you’re inside of what’s left of a computer system going through various sub-routines and patching whatever you can to get things back online all while uncovering fragments of what could have led to this amount of damage.

I know to some that it may sound like the same thing, and from a gameplay perspective, it is. From a “narrative” one however, there was just something so intriguing about knowing nothing of the outside world. I know that there was a staff, I know that there was a super AI and as digital information fragments kept being uncovered generally out of order, I knew that something else was happening on the outside of even those walls. But that, until things were roughly back up and running, didn’t matter as we had other things to uncover first.

To do so, your little guided computer program is going to have to learn some new skills if it’s going to survive the hell that it finds itself within. Fragmented, unpowered and in some cases missing entirely, the environment is a challenge which is where the Metroidvania aspects come into play. Only being able to move and look around at first, it doesn't take long for you to find code in order to jump, dash, and shoot a variety of different styles to combat the security protocols that are still active.

Gameplay for the most part is rather smooth with how your program can run and interact with the environment which is great as that’s about 85% of what you’re going to be doing. The next 10% will be reading through the various data fragments that you’ve uncovered as you explore each region getting things back online. Finally, the last 5% will be scratching your head as to what the hell you’re supposed to do at times until you finally make sense of the situation and then blaze through the trial set in front of you.

What I really appreciated with Recompile compared to others in the genre, encompassing both Metroidvania and 3D Action Adventure Platformers, is that there’s always more than one way to do something. On one hand, you can do things the way that they were intended, which is solving puzzles and platforming your way through each element. On the other hand, as you learn new abilities to be used, you could also hack your way through so if a switch puzzle is simply being a pain as you’re just not wrapping your head around it, you hack a new node or two and voila! You’re through.

Some little things that I didn’t find work so well on this adventure though are in some of the shooting mechanics that you are presented with. For some reason, regardless of the weapons that you unlock, you can only ever aim so high meaning that the worst contenders for you staying alive, the flyers, can often easily take you out as you simply can’t aim high enough in order to blast them out of the sky while they have a perfect shot at you unless you can find cover.


With plenty of gameplay elements and areas to keep things interesting it was also nice that the adventure was kept short enough as to not fall into the repetitive trap that many others fall into once the elements keep getting added in. So overall, if you’ve been looking for a quick and fun 3D platforming Metroidvania with a bit of mystery added in then I would suggest looking into Phigames’ Recompile either here on the PC or over on either the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 where it’s also launching if consoles are more your thing.

Score: 8 / 10



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