Heart Forth, Alicia is a gorgeous RPG seven years in the making

Videogames are hardly wanting for another Metroidvania – that exploration-heavy, upgrade-focused branch of the RPG tree.

But Heart Forth, Alicia is a particularly tempting fruit. The game lays its cards on the table with a $60 tier that delivers a boxed copy of the game and manual designed “in the style of the PS1 games that inspired Heart Forth, Alicia.”

This is no lazy imitation, no cash-grab nostalgia play: from its ornate pixel art – ripe with complex Metal Slug-style animation and floating damage text – to the pitch-perfect soundtrack, which you can hear in the video below, it looks to pay pretty righteous dues to its forebears. If you played its recent, under-sung spiritual sister Valdis Story: Abyssal City, welcome another entry in the field.

Of course, seven years’ development time didn’t hurt either. Creator Alonso Martin estimates four cumulative years poured into the game, giving him time to weave an elaborate backstory – which he promises to keep out of your way – and an intriguing mystery that the trailer drops in its final seconds.

Yes, it appears Heart Forth, Alicia contains FMV sequences, which certainly makes good on its promise to deliver a “90s-inspired” experience, but also hints at something fascinating behind the sprites: is this a metafictional wrinkle, a Bastion-esque narrator, or what?

Martin’s had seven years to come up with the answers. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.