Altered Matter bring us the gravity bewildering adventure Etherborn. Will it’s simplistic artistic style prove to be a winner winner chicken dinner, or should it be fed to the dogs? Time to meditate and enter the weird and wonderful world before me.
A soft whispery voice guides me, I must follow the dulcet tones to discover the truth. There is a calming nature about this voice that makes me want to do as she is saying.
Etherborn is best played with a controller, but keyboard play is possible for the PC owners that don’t have a controller. You can jump, run, inspect and move. This game looks perfect, I love simplicity.
So what is it all about? Well if you ever have a stressful day at the office and you fancy not shooting zombies to get it out of your system, well this game is worth a shot. It’s chilled, relaxed, but not altogether a walk in the park, so bring your brain. In a nutshell it is very reminiscent of Monument Valley, but clearly a lot of thought and work has gone into providing different puzzles and an alternative perspective.
Use your controller to move around and interact with the world. Find the magical crystals and put them in the magical holes to make the magic happen. Walking isn’t as easy as you would like, the game’s camera moves independently to give you the best view of what you need to do. This sometimes requires immense concentration to simply not fall off the world. Walk left, drink a sip of tea, look back and the screen and you’re dead. The world rotated, but left was still left and now left was off the edge of the world and no longer along the walkway. Concentrate very hard, walking can sometimes be deceptively difficult. Maybe stop moving to take a sip of tea would be best.
Perform your actions in the right order to complete the level, whilst letting the pain of a stressful day ease from your fingertips.
Is it all good though?
Well unfortunately not. It’s rather like trying to be eco friendly by only building cardboard houses, eventually there will be a rain storm. Not every material is suitable for every job. Etherborn can get a little repetitive, and also a little dull, but sometimes I wonder what games don’t. Can you really complain about a walk that has dull moments? Should you ever really compare a game to a walk? Etherborn will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was served just how I like mine. Stress free (almost), relaxing and well paced.
Etherborn has gone for the minimalistic approach and totally nailed it. Too much detail would detract from the simplicity of the task at hand. If it looked like there was more to do, then players might think there is more to do. Isometric patterns are abundant in Etherborn so much that I think there should be a check sheet to cross off any that you see. This would add another element to the game for once you have finished it. Movement is sometime a little awkward with the rotating camera views, but you get used to it fairly quickly.
The music in Etherborn is fairly unobtrusive. It meanders along with the game with a lulling calmness that takes the edge of the more taxing puzzles. Each level has different music to keep you paying attention. The voice that guides you is definitely the type that any adolescent boy would follow, sultry and sexy all the way. Pretty sure that they were going for mystical and mysterious, and that works as well. My favourite audio has to be the dying sound when falling to your death and landing on solid ground. The time a died and chuckled at the same time. Well worth it.
Scroll down here
Etherborn does what it does, and what it does it does do well. Once you have solved the puzzle then it seems a little redundant. It’s not a game that I would go back to for a long time, but I would get my children to play it. There are plentiful games of a similar nature out there and Etherborn will possibly slip into obscurity, I’m not sure it exceeds in any given department, but that doesn’t make it a bad game. Fans of this style should definitely snap it up, and it’s a good starting point for people looking to get into it as well.
Disclaimer: we received a game code to carry out this preview.