Scars Above Test |

Scars Above Test |


The shooter takes you to an alien planet. Exploring the linear sections is rewarding, but to get there you’ll need to defeat all sorts of aliens with elemental shots.

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All screenshots and video scenes are from GamersGlobal. short test is our new format to give you compact information about games that might otherwise be overlooked. Since we only play for several hours for short tests, there is a “thumb rating”.

Scars Above by Mad Head Games fits very well into the catalog of interesting niche titles from the Plaion label Prime Matter. I had a hard time sorting Scars Above in advance. It was reminiscent of something returnal, as you shoot at aliens as a stranded astronaut on a gloomy planet. The importance of dodge rolls in combat and the save point system left associations with Dark Souls come up. Now that I’ve played it I can say: The gameplay reminds neither of the Roguelite nor of Soulslikes.

Before we explain how Scars Above plays, what is Scars Above all about? In the shooter you play the researcher Dr. Kate Ward, who is part of the SCAR team. The acronym used stands for “Sentient Assessment and Response”. In other words, the organization was founded for first contact with aliens. As the team of four investigates a strange pyramid that has appeared not far from Earth, the artifact draws the ship and its crew. Then Kate wakes up on a strange planet and has to fight against dangerous creatures.

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In this quick review, I’ll focus on three aspects: the gunfights, exploration, and balancing.

A short prologue roughly draws the characters of Kate and the other members of the team you’re looking for upon arrival. But they are too flat to build a relationship with them – even the wooden puppet facial expressions in the cutscenes don’t help.

Lord of the Elements

What makes the fights interesting is that you don’t just shoot around with bullets or lasers. You start with electric bolts and soon after you get fire and ice ammo. Acid is added later. There is also melee combat, but it’s only worth it for weak spiders. On the one hand, it is important to hit vulnerable spots on the opponents, some of whom might feel at home in Lovecraft stories. On the other hand, it is essential to take full advantage of the element effects. When enemies are standing in water or it’s raining, it’s hard to torch them, but electro-munitions slam in even harder.

Combinations are also important: I hung longer on the first boss because I was fully prepared to set his fire-sensitive weak point on fire. But that took too long and he regenerated energy in between. However, if I shoot lightning at creatures that I previously frozen, they also take more damage. It wasn’t until I used this combo effect that the boss went haywire. Aiming is good, but the heroine’s movement and dodge rolls are a bit choppy.

Atmospheric game world

Although Scars Above is quite linear, you’ll regularly face junctions or end up in very well-defined, more open areas. It’s worth digging through because you’ll find data cubes that give you experience, which you use to collect skill points. In addition, the researcher nature of your astronaut was beautifully captured. Especially at the beginning you scan everything that is not at three on the tree. Not only will you learn enemy weaknesses and the usefulness of environmental objects, but you’ll also gain experience.

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Short sections in which you, for example, examine the anatomy of a giant beetle to invent new equipment or examine an alien console in order to correctly place three artifacts on it, provide some relaxation. This puzzle design fits well with the atmosphere on the alien planet. Graphically, Scars Above doesn’t tear up any trees, especially the facial expressions in the cutscens are negative. But the design of the surroundings is still atmospheric and after the initial swamp, there is more visual variety.

To the left of the crosshairs is a scorpion head, one of the most common enemy types in Scars Above. The creatures like to emerge from the water, but they also hatch from eggs – if you don’t torch them first.

No Soulslike

As you progress through the adventure, you will receive more and more tools. Some of it uses collected fibers to heal you or charge your battery. Battery charges go on tech gadgets like a temporary shield or flammable liquid. The shield is only available after the first boss, which is quite an outlier in terms of difficulty – you have three levels of difficulty to choose from, which can also be changed during the game. In addition, the skills that can be unlocked offer great advantages, such as a weapon with an empty magazine being given some ammunition again after a short time. Even though the story has horror elements, Scars Above is action rather than survival horror.

I find it unnecessary that Scars Above relies on a hard checkpoint save system. The adventure only saves at revival pillars. If you use one to recover and replenish your severely limited healing shots, all enemies will be back. Therefore, you always unlock a shortcut in the areas to skip sections. However, you don’t lose anything on death that you need to salvage, and killing enemies doesn’t give you any experience. So unlike Metroidvanias or Souls games, replaying stages doesn’t do me any good.

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Author: Hagen Gehritz (GamersGlobal)


Conclusion: Hagen Gehritz

scars Above has exciting sides, but my verdict is still: thumbs across. Look remembered by the trailer scars Above an returnal with a pinch of Dark Souls – but the result is more independent. Less successful is the Dark Souls-like reset system, which lasts about 6 to 7 hours scars Above stretches out and also underlines that the variety of enemy types is not too big. Story-wise, it’s interesting to learn more about the planet, but the characters are too flat and the animations too lifeless for me to care about the fate of Kate’s crew.

in din best moments however remembered me the atmosphere at the to scan the alien World at Metroid Prime. The strong focus on the elements, including small interactions in the shootouts, is a nice trick and it’s also fun in the boss fights that a touch of tactics is required.

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