Published on May 24th, 2023 | by James Wright

After Us PS5 Review @Piccolo_Studio #AfterUs @PrivateDivision

After Us PS5 Review @Piccolo_Studio #AfterUs @PrivateDivision James Wright

Summary: After Us a mesmerizing narrative on the PlayStation 5 of hopes, dreams and clever gameplay that also serves as a challenge



Private Division’s latest game After Us has arrived across multiple platforms (with some anticipation mind you) and we had the chance of checking this out on the PlayStation 5 in this surreal platformer. The story of After Us revolves around Gaia, the spirit of life who is part of a strange surrealistic post-human Earth that was decimated by us and now the planet is almost dead as many of the last animals have died. However Mother “Earth” has sacrificed herself to save their souls by putting them into vessels and it is up to Gaia to bring their souls back to Mother’s Ark in order to create a new Earth.

Unfortunately this new planet is fraught with dangers and their name is the Devourers that Gaia must face as she cleanses the world from their black taint and bring back the life that once flourished. Without spoiling the story, the developers (Piccolo Studio) have done a wonderful job at the narrative behind After Us, including its protagonist Gaia that as a result makes her quite relatable to the player as she shines her life giving light on this dark planet.


The story is quite a poignant one as you bring back these animals from extinction and learn of their final fate such as the last harpooned whale or caged eagle. With that said, if you enjoyed the story behind Arise: A Simple Story, you will definitely enjoy After Us as it’s from the same creators. Sure the story is different as is the gameplay but it’s the narrative and gaming elements that makes it a unique experience.

The gameplay of After Us could be considered a modern platformer as Gaia glides, jumps and dashes through the world as she faces off against the Devourers, avoiding deadly traps, freeing souls and cleansing the planet from the nefarious taint. Just be warned that some of the jumping stages can be frustratingly challenging at times that often had me dying and become a tad frustrated. So timing those perfect jumps in this sometimes Escher like world can be tough. Fortunately the developer don’t throw all the gaming mechanics at you straight away, so there is a slow learning curve that does allow you to master the controls, such as air dashes.

There are also puzzles intertwined into this mix and more often than not, the solution is staring you in the face. In terms of level design, After Us, Piccolo Studio should be commended on how they merge the story with the backgrounds and various areas that you explore that creates both a sense of despair and wonder. It’s basically Alice in Wonderland meets a dark post-apocalyptic Escher puzzle.

Graphically, After Us is quite distinct with its artwork and outshines itself from what is currently available. The surrealistic graphics and clever use of lighting and colours creates this imaginative take of our humble planet that when merged with the platforming mechanics makes it quite fun to explore, especially unleashing its wonders courtesy of Gaia’s light. One special effect has Gaia creating plant life around her which looks fantastic.

Final Thoughts?

Even with the controller rage at times, I still enjoyed After Us and it’s easily one of the most original games of 2023. It’s emotional, engaging and more importantly plays well on the PlayStation 5 with the DualSense controller. Sure it’s a platformer, however with the strong narrative behind it, After Us is not just a game but also an experience… just be warned it comes with a healthy dose of gaming frustration.

After Us Key Features & Summary

  • Gaia’s journey: the last animals have died, and Mother has used all of her Life Force to save their souls, now trapped in their vessels. Gaia’s quest is to rescue each of their souls and bring them back to Mother’s Ark. Gaia’s traversal abilities will allow you to glide, jump, and dash to explore new areas and evade deadly traps, while her special gifts will grant you the power to clear the oil that consumes the world, face hungry Devourers, and break souls free.
  • A vast, surrealistic world: see through Gaia’s eyes the desolated landscapes that depict the destructive relationships between humans and nature in a beautiful demonstration of abstract artistry. From dying forests to the heart of crumbling cities, through the dry seabed and polluted skies, each environment will offer new challenges for Gaia to face and will present her different versions of the Devourers’ wake of destruction as she spreads life and beauty on her path.
  • A story of contrasts: After Us offers a somber look at a world decimated by human impact. As you guide Gaia’s light through it and discover the causes behind the destruction, you will learn the fate of the Devourers as agents of extinction, but also agents of progress, love, and hope.

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