Pronty – Review
Follow Genre: Metroidvania
Developer: 18Light
Publisher: Fun Zone, Joy Brick Inc.
Platform: Switch, PC
Tested on: Switch

Pronty – Review

Site Score
Good: Strong sense of art direction and worldbuilding
Bad: Relies too much on gimmicks
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There are countless Metroidvania games available nowadays and as a result, developers try to incorporate unique gameplay twists and variations to differentiate their titles from the rest. These attempts to innovate more often than not result in misses instead of hits, however, as it’s sometimes better to stick with what’s proven to work. Nonetheless, 18Light, a Taiwanese game developer, is attempting to give the Metroidvania genre a fresh twist by setting their latest game, Pronty, underwater. Will this approach be enough to distinguish it from other games in the genre and make it an enjoyable and must-play game? Let’s take a deep dive into Pronty‘s gameplay and see what it has to offer.


A short cutscene sets up the basic premise of the game. It’s the day after the eponymous Pronty’s birthday, and the little aquatic critter is now old enough to be enrolled in a military organization known as the Protectors. These brave soldiers are tasked with defending the underwater city of Royla but before our hero is able to join their ranks he’ll need to undergo six months of rigorous training. At least, that’s what is supposed to happen but while our little friend is tackling some basic training exercises under the guidance of his mentor, the robotic swordfish Bront, disaster strikes. The evil giant fish Raksha attacks the city and all Protectors, whether they are still in training or not, are summoned to defend it. Our hero is stationed at one of the furthest outposts, so he has to go on a lengthy journey to answer the call. Along the way, he’ll face many dangers and see the damage caused by Raksha first-hand. Will Pronty be able to deal with the piscine threat before the city is lost?

Although Pronty’s basic premise is on the simple side, there is plenty of additional lore present for those that seek to pursue it. Of note here is the fact that the Pronty we control, who plays the lead role in the story, isn’t the only Pronty. His full name, Pronty ZX-291, already indicates that he is part of a race, and there are additional characters of his species which can be unlocked by clearing games, including Pronty SW-417, the female counterpart to our protagonist. The history of Royla and the Pronty race is fleshed out in logbooks, which are collected as you explore the subaquatic world the story is set in. We do like this approach as it allows those curious to learn more about the setting, while those who prefer to focus on the gameplay can do so uninterrupted.


It’s hard not to be reminded of Bioshock as you explore the steampunk-esque underwater ruins which make up the world. The game is lovingly rendered in a hand-drawn art style that looks absolutely fantastic. Character movement doesn’t fare as well, however, owing to the fact that animations feel rather flat. The game suffers from the ‘paper doll’ effect which comes with keyframe animations, where body parts are animated separately by simple rotations rather than feeling like they are connected to the body. This animation style is something that we’ve seen before in games like Fallen Legion: Revenants and unfortunately it never really makes a good impression, as it makes the game look like a cheap Flash game, despite the fantastic art direction. On the upside, Pronty’s lighting and underwater effects are top-notch, even if it does mean that the visuals aren’t always as clear as they could be. In fact, there is quite a bit of artefacting going on, though whether this is something that is part of Pronty itself or simply due to limited hardware capabilities compared to the PC version isn’t something we can say for certain.


Things fare much better for the game’s soundscape. The quiet, understated soundtrack adds a sense of mystery to the underwater setting. Sound effects create an additional layer of immersion as the flow of rushing water and the sounds of bubbles allow you to submerge yourself in this world. There’s no voice acting present but given the fairly limited amount of in-game dialogue, this didn’t really bother us.


Billed as an underwater Metroidvania, Pronty sticks close to the conventions of the genre, with one major twist. Because our protagonist moves by swimming, the game allows for 360° movement from the get-go. As everything takes place on a massive interconnected map, this means that 18Light had to get creative in how it limits Pronty’s capabilities to explore and achieve a sense of progress. As is the case with every other Metroidvania title, this is tied to collecting power-ups and new abilities. However, rather than things like a grappling hook or the ability to jump higher, Pronty’s upgrades are mainly combat focused and are managed from a special ‘memory board’ where abilities are swapped out. This allows you to tailor your fighting style to counter specific enemy types.

Interestingly enough, it’s not Pronty himself who does the actual fighting, but his companion Bront. Pronty simply takes aim and directs the mechanical swordfish to enemies. In this regard, Pronty feels more like a twin-stick shooter than it does like a Metroidvania where you actually take on enemies in combat directly. In addition to sending out Bront, Pronty can also use the swordfish as a short range shield by holding down the ZR button. Combined with the aforementioned ability board, this provides a unique approach to combat that we haven’t seen elsewhere before, though there are times when we feel things could have been handled more smoothly. Bront’s damage output feels limited, even when powered up, and sections where Pronty is being rushed by multiple enemies can feel unfair and frustrating as you’re trying to dodge, shield, and attack at the same time. The game offers several difficulty levels but given how challenging things are in the normal mode, we’d only recommend tackling the higher difficulties if you’re a true glutton for punishment. This also applies to the boss fights, as bosses have different abilities depending on difficulty level, but unlike some of the fights against groups of grunts, boss battles never feel unfair, even though they can still be overwhelming.

There is more focus on combat here than there is on exploration, although there are plenty of secrets to discover in the sunken world surrounding Royla. Most Metroidvanias require backtracking and Pronty is no different in this regard, though things are made more palatable thanks to a rather handy fast travel system. Among the secrets you can discover are the aforementioned logbooks which flesh out the story, but also optional challenge rooms and upgrades for the memory board. The game offers multiple endings and these are tied to what you discover along your journey, which provides plenty of incentive to replay Pronty once the credits roll. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t really make it clear that you should be exploring as much as you can, as the main story pushes players towards a much more linear approach than what you usually see in a Metroidvania.

Playing through Pronty once should take most players around ten hours or so, but tackling the game at various difficulty levels exponentially increases the playtime. In addition, there is also a boss rush mode, which unlocks an additional Pronty character variant upon completion. Players that want to 100% the game certainly have their work cut out for them, so in terms of sheer game time you’re certainly getting plenty of bang for your buck at €14.99. That being said, the two main selling points, being underwater movement and the way the game approaches combat, do feel like little more than just gimmicks. Looking at Pronty without keeping these two aspects in mind, the game feels like a run-of-the-mill and even somewhat underwhelming Metroidvania. Perhaps we’ve been spoiled by the plethora of excellent similar titles we’ve seen in recent times, like Grim Guardians or, of course, the benchmark-setting Metroid Dread, but we couldn’t shake the feeling that Pronty simply didn’t do enough to stand out from the crowd.


While we do feel there is a lot to like about Pronty, the game doesn’t do enough to set itself apart from its competitors, and as such it’s not a game we’d put at the top of our list of recommendations. The good definitely outweighs the bad, and if you’re in the market for a new Metroidvania challenge, you could do far, far worse than Pronty, but in the vast sea of video games vying for your attention, Pronty turns out to be swimming at a depth that’s only slightly above average.

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1 Comment

  1. | Nocturnal – Review
    June 27, 2023, 00:01

    […] ones are worth playing. We tend to gravitate towards games that seemingly break the mold, like Pronty or Curse of the Sea Rats, as we’d rather play something original than something we’ve seen done […]

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