Pronty Review (Switch eShop) | Nintendo Life

Pronty review - screenshot 1 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (handheld/undocked)

These days it seems like it takes a lot more to make Metroidvania stand out from the crowd, especially when there are so many excellent titles out there that have already shown an impressively creative take on the standards of the genre. Pronty from Taiwanese indie developer 18Light tries to grab your attention by placing players in a dark, deep-sea environment that can be freely explored in all directions. It has some issues here and there, but overall Pronty does a great job of presenting players with a sometimes challenging and always enticing adventure that feels like a welcome addition to a crowded genre.

Pronty puts you in the shoes of the titular aquatic creature who wakes up on his birthday to finally become the official protector of Royla’s underwater city. However, while doing some training drills with their robotic swordfish companion Bront, an evil giant fish named Raksha attacks and all the Defenders are immediately called upon to defend the city. Considering Pronty was stationed at an outpost on the very edge of the border, they have long journey ahead before they can join the counter-offensive, and there are various overt and subtle hints along the way that Royla’s damage is far greater than initially thought.

Pronty review - screenshot 2 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (handheld/undocked)

Overall, it’s a pretty decent storyline, though it clearly doesn’t take center stage here. Most of what you learn about Roylan society – and thus the broader context of what you should be fighting for – comes from the various data logs and those you collect while exploring, supplemented by Bront’s directive comments from time to time. Otherwise, most of your Pronty experience is spent quietly admiring magnificent sunken places and battling hostile fish.

Because of this, there seems to be a bit of a discrepancy between the narrative and the gameplay, as it often doesn’t feel like Pronty is really moving the plot forward or doing anything relevant to the larger conflict. Even so, the knowledge you slowly discover is still interesting and makes you want to explore more to discover more of the mystery of this underwater civilization. Other games like Blasphemous and Hollow Knight could have told the story better, which mostly takes place in the background, but Pronty still left us satisfied.

The gameplay follows the traditional Metroidvania design of exploring a large, interconnected map, getting richer with collectibles and new abilities, and slaying a bunch of villains and bosses along the way. Of course, the big trick is that everything is underwater, so the environments and combat encounters are designed for 360-degree movement. Although Pronty moves a little slower than we’d like, the movement still feels fluid and the variety of enemies is nice enough to keep you in check and force you to try different strategies.

Pronty review - screenshot 3 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (docked)

Combat takes place via a rather interesting system where Pronty doesn’t actually make any attacks. Instead, they direct their companion Bront to attack enemies in a manner reminiscent of the twin-stick shooter crossover with the combat seen in Ori and the Blind Forest. Bront attacks whenever you press the “ZR” button and select targets by rotating the right stick to lock onto them. Hold “ZR” and Bront will lunge at Pronty and spin around them, acting as both a shield and a close-range weapon that deals damage to anyone who tries to touch Pronty. It’s an interesting combat system that’s aided by skills you slowly pick up but never seem to pick up quite connects as well as it can.

It can be awkward and clunky, like when you’re being thrown by multiple enemies and you have to keep the right stick aimed at the one you want to hit, all while furiously tapping “ZR” AND using the left stick to try to maneuver Pronty around incoming attacks. Also, Bront just doesn’t seem to do enough damage for most of the game, especially during boss fights. Later abilities like charge attack or constant damage boost increase your offensive abilities, but we’d prefer enemies to be a little less spongy.

That said, we did appreciate the real challenge offered in most boss fights. While single enemy fights rarely prove too hard to beat, each boss features multiple phases of increasingly punishing attacks that are sure to bury you several times before you learn the timing and clues. None of the fights feel overwhelming, but we’ve also reminded ourselves of the more difficult bosses in Metroid Dread that require skillful and precise gameplay to be victorious. And while Pronty is clearly designed for this difficulty level, it gives options to players who want something different. Those who are put off by the difficulties can always play on the easiest “story” mode, while those who like a little more pain can choose to play on the harder difficulties, which not only make the numbers less fair but also add new attacks to each boss Arsenal.

Pronty review - screenshot 4 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (docked)

When you’re not busy fighting for your life, you’ll spend your time exploring all sorts of spooky and peaceful underwater locations full of collectibles and secrets to discover. Going back to previous areas to unlock old paths with new abilities is common here (and more convenient thanks to the helpful fast travel system), although we’d characterize the overall experience as fairly linear. Those of you who prefer a Metroidvania that takes off the leash and lets you find things for yourself may be a bit disappointed here, as it seems like you’re usually railroaded to the next section with little choice but to deviate. That’s not entirely a bad thing, and it tends to open up more after the first few hours or so, though it feels like it could have made better use of the unique undersea setting. After all, being able to move in all directions is a little less appealing when you’re often not allowed to go very far in most directions.

When you stray off the beaten path, we appreciated that Pronty adequately rewards your efforts. Whether it’s a new challenge room you can try to endure, a new piece of lore that adds more to the story, or a new memory board upgrade (more on that in a bit), there’s always something worth finding. Add all of these collectibles along with the ability to have multiple endings and you’ve got it plot to do in Pronty if you want to go 100%. Best of all, searching the maps doesn’t feel tiresome as you’ll often find something more interesting than a basic stat boost.

For example, one of the most common finds is a new upgrade for your Memory Board, which is a shameless copy of the enchantment system from Hollow Knight. Each board upgrade will give you a unique buff, such as speeding up stamina regeneration, giving certain attacks new secondary effects, or increasing your mobility. However, you only have limited (albeit expandable) storage on your memory card for slot upgrades, so you have to be picky about your setup and often have to switch things on and off to meet new challenges. It might make more sense to go for a specific build to defeat a boss, for example, and then switch to something that does a better job of crowd control. We liked the extra dimension this added to both combat and exploration, as finding new upgrades and testing them in new builds is always exciting.

Pronty review - screenshot 5 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (handheld/undocked)

Visually, Pronty uses a gorgeous hand-drawn art style that perfectly captures the spooky yet peaceful atmosphere of this underwater world. The Art Deco-inspired architecture is naturally reminiscent of BioShock, and there is a pervasive sense of quiet awe as you sail past old water-soaked posters and broken stained glass windows. Exploring these environments is very solitary, even when accompanied by Bront, and this atmosphere pervades Pronty for ten (approximately) hours of work.

This is complemented by a light soundtrack that punctuates the underwater sounds with soft melodies that add mystery to each location. Much of the soundscape is defined by various sounds such as the rush of water and bubbles, while slow violins and strings pop in here and there to highlight new discoveries. We liked this cool approach to the soundtrack and felt it worked well with the overall tone that Pronty is clearly aiming for.


Pronty may have some minor flaws, but overall it’s a very solid Metroidvania that does a lot to differentiate itself from the pack. Things like the impressive atmosphere, challenging boss fights, and plenty of valuable collectibles keep you hooked, and the promise of multiple endings will keep you coming back for more. And while it feels like the combat could have been a bit more spiced up, it’s certainly a unique system that fits well into the underwater setting. If you’re a fan of Metroidvanias at all, we encourage you to pick this one up; it’s not an absolute necessity, but yes Is attractive, challenging and very enjoyable underwater play.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *