Sundered, developer Thunder Lotus' wonderful (and gorgeously animated) Lovecraft-inspired Metroidvania, is currently free to download on the Epic Store.
Sundered - the follow-up to Thunder Lotus' Viking-themed boss-rush adventure Jotun - first emerged from the depths back in 2017, and sees players, cast in the role of Eshe, exploring the labyrinthine underground passageways of a long-forgotten desert ruin, at the behest of a mysterious entity known as the Shining Trapezohedron.
Although Sundered follows a familiar Metroidvania template, gradually opening out as players uncover handy new items and upgrades on their antediluvian adventures, its sprawling subterranean corridors are far from immutable, and the world is subtly rearranged upon death.
It gives the experience a thematically appropriate, subtly disorientating air, even if the world, split across a number of visually distinct areas, isn't especially memorable as a result.
Environmental shortcomings tend to fade into the background during play, however, as Sundered ramps up the tension through the ever-present threat of overwhelming enemy hordes. Intermittently, a sudden gong fills the air, ushering in another white knuckle encounter against a tidal wave of opponents, showcasing the game's wonderfully fluid combat and traversal, and giving players a chance to deploy their steadily expanding move set - handy practice for when Sundered's massive, screen-spanning bosses step in.
Sundered's free Epic Games Store version takes the form of the Eldritch Edition, which adds four-player co-op, a new quest chain through previously unseen areas, and a new boss battle to the critically acclaimed original. The offer ends next Thursday, 16th January, whereupon lovely platformer Horace gets the freebie treatment.