Sanabi Preview

Sanabi by developer Wonder Potion and publisher Neowiz GamesPC (Steam) preview written by Robert with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes. 

The term, “Metroidvania” tends to be tossed around a lot in gaming. Though there are parallels between the Metroid/Castlevania titles of old, with Sanabi, I found myself thinking it more along the lines of Mega-Man, Strider, and Bionic Commando as the gameplay elements are just different enough to put them in a class of their own.

Strange as it may sound but I would even posit that Sanabi has quite a bit more in common with industry juggernauts like the Dark Souls franchise out of From Software, Guerilla Games’ Horizon franchise, CD Projekt Red’s Witcher franchise, and Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima. Sure, those games are all supermassive franchises with giant game studios and publishers behind them, but they all share some basic elements in common, and one of those elements? They weave the tutorial section into and as a part of the world-building.

Sanabi does something special with its tutorial section in that few other modern games seem to do- it builds an emotional connection between you and the main character. I have to commend the folks at Wonder Potion as their brilliant use of color was something I excitedly picked up on right from the get go and that’s significant because I’m colorblind… badly, so the use of two contrasting color palettes themselves help with the narrative at play.  The abrupt but not unexpected launch from pastel-forests to moist concrete-and-neon jungles might be a bit predictable, but it’s tasteful, and more importantly, feels natural.

After the obligatory tutorial, you’re launched into the sequence that finally opens the game up to you, and it immediately puts your slinging skills to the test. Everything you learned will be eked out of you but not in a punishing manner- instead it helps highlight just how freaking satisfying movement in Sanabi is.

Before you know it, you’ll be using your prosthetic arm to sling yourself through levels that though modern, brought me right back to the late-80’s/early-90’s. For a game so dark, it also feels wholesome. That’s a special feeling, one I hope others from the era will remember and appreciate. Most games these days push you through a tutorial section as fast as they can so you can get to the real meat-and-potatoes of the game.

While the introduction / tutorial section is narratively strong and functionally appropriate it, and the rest of Sanabi isn’t flawless. In speaking with colleagues here at Chalgyr’s Game Room, I reiterated a few times just how bad I was at Sanabi and how I was excited to be able to use a gamepad and how confident I was that I’d be a wicked good super star at the game.

I was wrong.

While there is gamepad support in Sanabi, it’s rudimentary at best and didn’t feel natural. When a primary gameplay mechanic hinges on precision, having unnatural keybindings and plenty of input lag is an antithesis to the game itself. After a bit of gameplay my bruised ego felt a bit better, I gave it another go with mouse and keyboard. In about a billion in-game kursplats and the like, I started to get the hang of it and when I finally clicked with the controls … that is when I felt the most engaged.

The good news is that Wonder Potion’s feedback channels are very active, with their dev team regularly checking in so they can make changes influenced by the player. There’s one in particular that definitely makes me want to go watch paint dry. For no reason at all … the mouse movement gets stuck in a random direction. Frustrating to be sure, but I also have faith in Wonder Potion- they are genuinely excited to get the game into your hands and in a way, allow us (the gamer) to be a part of the development process. While that’s always been the spirit of “Early Access” titles, Wonder Potion feels genuine. That’s important in this day and age.

There are some weird chugs every now and then, and though this is weird and likely only unique to me, but there are sounds within sounds and tunes within the music that sound distractingly close to other sounds from other games, though I couldn’t name or place those games. They simply sound familiar.


It's hard to talk about Sanabi without absolutely gushing on about how well it nudges the ol’ nostalgia button while also being a humbling title. Before Sanabi, I considered myself “good” at playing video games.

I enjoy the challenge, the world-building, the lore, everything … but boy-oh-boy am I bad at playing Sanabi but in a way that’s humbling, not demeaning. Not because it’s a functionally bad game (it’s not), not at all- in fact, it’s designed well enough that it’s in a state far more stable than typical Early Access games.

Score: N/A



Post a Comment

Random posts

Our Streamers

Susan "Jagtress" N.

S.M. Carrière

Louis aka Esefine



JenEricDesigns – Coffee that ships to the US and Canada

JenEricDesigns – Coffee that ships to the US and Canada
Light, Medium and Dark Roast Coffee available.

Blog Archive