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If you’re new to my review site, you might not know how much I like all the questions and theories about reality, conscious, soul… Movies, books and games that put these subjects under magnifying glass are my kinda thing. Etherborn was actually on my radar for a while now and then I took the game under my magnifying glass. I wanted experience the things it promises; gravity shifting structures, dreamlike world, levels inspired by Danish graphical artist M.C. Escher.
A voice is talking to me—who am I? Telling me something about humans, about the past. Then I is born—the voiceless body, and I have to start my journey. Find my own voice.
The story is kinda hard to explain, because it basically was just that previous paragraph. The voice tells me more of the story what happened before in very mysterious way, using carefully selected words in very careful order. I like the story and the ending, too. It might be little bit ‘over there’ for someone, but every other way I think this game is very peaceful and relaxing, with little twist on haunting.
Gameplay & Controls
Player controls the voiceless body that can walk, run, jump and interact. That’s all player needs. The key element is the shifting gravity, that is pretty tricky in the beginning. Thankfully the game doesn’t throw player the most difficult puzzle in the beginning, but rather introduces player in. I liked the controls, they were simple and all worked like a charm. The shifting gravity is done well.
What I must say about the camera is that I understand completely the reason why it was fixed to one position and followed the player automatically. The camera could be moved to look around little bit and moved far back to see the area more clearly. If the camera would’ve been free to move, it would’ve be hard for player know where to go and find the perfect angle in this ever shifting world. I got used to the camera quickly and actually the game was much easier to play with the way it is.
Everything in Etherborn looks nice, sleek and high poly—meaning there’s no extreme details and that was fine. The details would’ve ruined the looks and feeling completely, but all being clear and easy to see, helped a lot the gameplay. What I liked was the blur effect the camera made if an objective was too close or too near. It gave a great feeling of depth.
The soundtrack in every level was nice and peaceful, usually one or two instument played at once. Voice acting was OK, too. No extreme sound effects or anything like that.
I admit right now, right here, I had to see some playthrough helps that I was provided if I’d get stuck. Sometimes I got flustered after running around and changing the gravity. I wasn’t sure anymore where I was in the gameplay area. The game doesn’t offer any ‘reset’ option to reset the player to the beginning. When I honestly tried everything and still couldn’t solve a puzzle, I had to give up look some help. The answer usually was simple, overlooked little detail. For those, I would’ve liked some little nip-and-tuck to show the player the way.
Is Etherborn difficult game? Well, the game itself is very short, but trying to solve puzzles takes some time. I was little frustrated with few puzzles since I wanted to solve them without any help. My last word to this is that it’s challenging, because the gravity can be shifted only at to certain places, it might throw player off the tracks if not understand how the game and gravity works.
I like Etherborn and after finishing the game, it offers New Game+ with more difficulty. This all was nice experience with everything looking so simple, but containing so much. Gravity might be hard to understand in this game, because in real world it works only certain way. Etherborn was something different and nicely executed, but in the end I would’ve want something else included, because few times it felt a bit boring. With this all said and done I strongly recommend Etherborn to all puzzle lovers and basic players.
Review copy provided nicely by the publisher
RELEASE DATE: Jul 18, 2019
GENRE: Gravity shifting / Exploration puzzle platformer
DEVELOPER: Altered Matter
PUBLISHER: Altered Matter
PLATFORMS: PlayStation 4
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