Etherborn Xbox One Review

July 30, 2019 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher: Altered Matter  Developer: Altered Matter  Genre: Puzzle  Players: 1

Age Rating: 3+ Other console/handheld formats: PS4, Switch

Etherborn is an ethereal platform game which includes some mind-bending puzzles. Your goal is to collect glowing orbs in order to place them on electronic pads to activate other platforms, and reach the end. The premise seems simple enough, until you realise the puzzles take place within a gravity shifting environment, always twisting and turning, meaning you’ll literally be walking up the walls.

Similar to Captain Toad Treasure Tracker, which has you turning the level in order to find paths and hidden areas, here you’re not in control of how your environment shifts. Your character can walk along any path, as long as there is a curved section connecting them,  and you’ll need to do some thinking outside of the box in order to reach certain orbs and complete the level. The game eases you in gently, starting with a tutorial and gradually expanding your play area.

A standout point of the game is the camera angles, which adjust automatically as you move, all adding to the topsy-turvy mind-bending craziness of the world. With its mix of 3D and polygonal environments, you’ll experience some whimsical, other-worldly set pieces as your strange-looking character progresses, set to an equally other-worldly and graceful soundtrack.

The game is on the shorter side, at around 3 hours, though gameplay can be expanded upon completion with the unlocking of a harder mode. There are some tedious sections, which feel a bit like filler; between each level, you’ll be running around the ‘endless tree’, on a strip of path which leads towards your next destination which can take a minute or so to reach, all while a voice narrates the rather uninteresting story, which you’ll quickly become disconnected from if you’re not a philosophical thinker.

On my initial playthrough, only one level truly gave me any sort of a challenge; sometimes it can feel like some levels guide you, while others allow you to explore and work out in what order an orb needs to be placed. Avid puzzlers will surely find the game perhaps a tad too easy; only in hard mode is there any chance of being put through your paces, as orbs are moved to harder-to-find locations.

A few more levels would have been welcomed, as at its current £14.24 price tag on XBox One (£13.99 on PlayStation Store), it is a tad overpriced for what is on offer. Mostly it feels somewhat like a mobile game for a console – quick and accessible, and only there to help you while away a few hours.