Chronicles of 2 Heroes: Amaterasu’s Wrath review

by on May 31, 2023

After over thirty years of playing video games, it’s rare for me to admit that a game is too difficult for me. I’ve spent an unfathomable amount of hours honing my vaguely acceptable gaming skills, and haven’t quite hit the age yet where my reaction speed starts to dwindle. I’d never go as far as to say that I’m some sort of amazing gaming prodigy, but when it comes to 2D platforming especially it’s rare I struggle a whole lot to see the credits of a video game. Struggle is the word I’d use to describe my time with Chronicles of 2 Heroes: Amaterasu’s Wrath, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

In Japan of old, two siblings have been raised in a secret village to become the mightiest warriors since birth. This is because the Empress Himiko has plunged Japan into an age of chaos and misery, mainly because she’s possessed by a god who’s a real piece of work. After one last bit of training Ayame and Kensei are sent off on a quest to take back the country from evil and make all the civilians happy again, which might not be the most original of stories but it certainly gets the job done.

A screenshot of Chronicles of 2 Heroes: Amaterasu's Wrath

As you may have guessed from the name, you actually play as two characters in Chronicles of 2 Heroes, and this doesn’t just mean switching between characters when you fancy it. This is because they both have abilities that you absolutely must use to make it through even a single screen of the game. Ayame can jump and throw kunai, whereas Kensei can attack with his sword and do a horizontal dash across long distances. You read that right, one of the characters in this platformer can’t jump, so it’s a good job you can swap between the two with a cheeky press of the X button.

It’s a really fun mechanic, and means you’ll constantly be switching siblings to make it past tricky platforming puzzles. Maybe there’s a big line of flames that only Kensei can dash through, but on the other side there’s a punk with a bow whose arrows you’ll need to jump over. Swapping characters is instantaneous, so once you get used to how often you need to tag in your other hero it becomes second nature and feels amazing.

The basic abilities of the duo are fine, but it won’t take you long to start unlocking a shed load of other moves to play around with. Ayame gets a double jump pretty quickly which changes the game, whereas Kensei soon unlocks the ability to slice through enemies in his path when he dashes. The medallions that unlock these skills come thick and fast, and always lead to a new selection of tricky platforming challenges.

A screenshot of Chronicles of 2 Heroes: Amaterasu's Wrath

Honestly, tricky might be an understatement. Within the first hour of playing Chronicles of 2 Heroes I found an optional route leading to a health upgrade that was probably the toughest section of a game I’ve played this year. With constantly spawning flying enemies and vanishing platforms over a pit of flames I died over and over again until I finally made it to my reward, and it felt a little excessive for the opening area of a game. I suppose I could’ve skipped this area and proceeded down the main path, but I don’t really want to imagine how hard the rest of the game would’ve been with one less heart. The difficulty only gets worse later in the game too, especially when the checkpoints start to drift further and further apart.

Perhaps the mechanic that got me killed the most in Chronicles of 2 Heroes though was the parry. Both Ayame and Kensei can parry attacks, but in totally different ways. When Ayame uses a parry successfully she teleports behind the source of the attack, which means you can reach otherwise inaccessible places with ease. Kensei’s parry reflects projectiles, which although less flashy is very helpful against some tricky enemies. The idea of these different damage negating abilities is great, but in practice it’s another story. The window for parrying attacks is actually pretty long, but is way way before anything actually makes contact with your character. Trying to wrap your head around this timing is an absolute nightmare, and because of this the sections where you have to parry feel awful.

Chronicles of 2 Heroes describes itself as having MetroidVania elements, and that’s a very accurate description. Every so often you’ll see a path you can’t access with your current setup, and will need to come back later (using a handy teleporter) if you want the upgrade or hidden collectable cat that’s hiding at the other end of it. There’s not full on backtracking through areas, but it’s definitely worth remembering any suspicious bits of a level you go past.

A screenshot of Chronicles of 2 Heroes: Amaterasu's Wrath

It’d probably be easier to keep track of the places you want to return to if the map was a little more useful though. The whole thing is just a purple mess of squares, and has no points of interest marked on it whatsoever. You also can’t zoom it out far enough to see more than a small area, scrolling around on it is sluggish, and it takes a few seconds longer to load than is ideal. It might sound like a small aspect of the game to nitpick, but it’s really bloody annoying.

It might sound like I have a lot of complaints about Chronicles of 2 Heroes, but I actually really enjoyed playing it. It definitely helps that the 16-bit aesthetic is lovely to look at, and that the soundtrack is chiptune joy. It’s so close to being an absolutely great title for fans of tough as nails platformers, but a handful of issues hold it back from that.

Chronicles of 2 Heroes: Amaterasu’s Wrath is full of fantastic platforming and clever ideas, but has a few dodgy elements that prevent it from being truly great. The map and parry are just plain bad, and the difficulty is a little excessive especially at the very start of the game. The two character system and amount of upgrades you get for each of them is really impressive, but it probably won’t be enough for most people to forgive its issues.


The platforming is precise and satisfying
Switching between the characters is a wonderful mechanic
A whole lot of upgrades to grab throughout
Looks and sounds great


Is too hard too quick
The map is awful
Parrying feels bad
Checkpoints are often too far apart

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Chronicles of 2 Heroes: Amaterasu's Wrath has some great ideas and tasty platforming, but the difficulty will put some people off.