The stark and striking black and white visuals of Ben Ruiz and Matthew Wegner's Aztez are what initially drew me to this combination side-scrolling beat-em / turn-based strategy game. That odd marriage of game genres captured my imagination. Then the sleek and sexy combat sealed the deal.
I've seen it described as a 2D God of War, but then I've seen many things described as a 2D God of War. Hell, I think I was once described as a 2D God of War.
Having only experienced the game through a playable build from April of last year, I can't speak for the strategy side of the game. The fighting, however, is so very fluid. Playable with a gamepad or keyboard, it's simple combination of slam, strike and two dash buttons makes for a very enjoyable minute of gameplay. Or twelve minutes, if you keep going back as often as I have.
The game's come a long way since last year, as you can see in Ben's developer playthrough from back in February, during which he expounds on fighting mechanics and the smell of blood.
Aztez is due out in early 2013 for Mac and PC. From my tiny taste of the game I feel that is far too long to wait. Luckily Ben and Matthew maintain an incredible entertaining and thoughtful developer blog to keep us abreast of the game's progress. I'll be watching with great interest. Watching and waiting.
Aztez [Official Website]