So, your dog's dead. That's a real bummer, right? It was an ordinary afternoon when blam-o, lightning strikes and sends the little pupper to another world. Things start looking a little bleak until you realize you can possess and control your four legged friend. Surely that'll be useful in a world-spanning adventure where you fight sword wielding lizardmen while chasing down a sarcastic wizard?
Trials of Azra is a co-op puzzle platformer that focuses on inhabiting and manipulating the deceased corpses of your fallen enemies. It sounds pretty gruesome, but actually it's kinda cute. The whole game is drenched in this pixel cartoon simplicity that makes it wildly entertaining, even when you're dying over and over again because that stupid mushroom keeps puffing blasts of poison whenever you try to jump on that one platform.
The star of the body-swapping show is Sam, an unassuming kid with spindly little arms and a killer coiffe. Sam has a basic energy shot used to dispatch enemies along with an expandable array of magic powers that deal more damage in more creative ways. Ever wanted to shoot a laser out of your hand or zap baddies with a charge shot? Yeah, Sam can do that. It'll cost some mana, but he can do it. He can also jump and roll forward, but let's face it, you're here to possess gargoyles, not do the Mario.
Stand near a fallen enemy and Sam will take control of its body. While manipulating the beast you'll have access to all of its special powers. Those yellow eye-guys have a bouncy jump, for example, while slimes climb walls, rats slide through tiny passageways, little devils shoot fireballs, and gargoyles carry enemies (or Sam) through the air. There's a great variety of baddies to defeat and inhabit, enough to make you giddy each time you see something new to conquer and control. Rounding out the main features are an in-game abilities shop and occasional boss fights that strip out the possession mechanic in favor of pure platforming.
Puzzles in Trials of Azra take place in a series of self-contained rooms where the goal is to get Sam to the exit in one piece. The door is usually shut tight, and to open it you might need to flip a lever or plop an enemy on a button to hold it down. Standing between you and said door are spikes, magic barriers, moving platforms, angry dogs on leashes (for real), and good old fashioned pits. It's a pretty basic setup, but the construction makes each stage interesting, especially when you start possessing enemies and flying/crawling/rocket-shark-dashing around the place.