It is quite clear where Effie draws inspiration from but I cannot help but see Marty McFly’s hoverboard and Bart Simpson beating up aliens with his skateboard when first starting up Effie.
Developed by Inverge Studios and brought to us by Square Collective, Effie tells the story of a young man…
…tells the story of a young man, Galad, cursed with old age for failing to come to the aid of an old lady. Sidenote: only his appearance seems to be affected by this curse as his physical prowess, as you will see, is not limited in the least. To remove the curse, our protagonist must defeat the witch Melira before she completely corrupts the kingdom of Oblena. With the help of a magic shield, Galad can travel the land (Marty McFly) and defeat Melira’s army (Bart Simpson).
Effie is a platformer, beat ’em up, puzzler – a plat-em-ler…forget I wrote that. All three aspects feature throughout the game but the platforming seems to be the main draw. Galad has a very basic fighting moveset. Basic as in, light attack or heavy attack. Depending on what button you press, Galad swings that shield of his horizontally or vertically (read: overhead smash). Your shield can also be used like, well, a shield. Under your health bar is an energy bar which serves as a resource (think mana) for the shield’s shield ability and the special attacks you learn as you progress the story. When using the shield’s shield ability (yeah, that is the third double shield sentence – what of it?), a protective bubble surrounds Galad as long as he holds the button (and has the energy to do so). Most combat situations reminded me of Devil May Cry in that you get locked in the room until all the enemies are cleared. A combo meter ala DMC would have been a cool and much-needed feature to spruce up the combat. Effie will not be remembered for the combat which is probably a good thing as, over time, it became quite repetitive and almost button-mashing-esque. The combat almost feels archaic and an update to more modern games like a lock-on feature would have been much welcomed.
Hands down, the focal point of Effie is the platforming. All progress is tied directly to your ability to navigate the platforms thrown at Galad (not literally although thrown platforms would be pretty cool). Even puzzle-solving relies heavily on moving between platforms and ladders to gain access to new areas. Between double jumps and dashing, Galad has no real trouble clearing areas. The actual obstacles like rotating saw blades prove less troublesome than a rather irritating camera which will change the viewpoint without warning. Super Mario 64 may be 23 years ago but clearly still has a strong influence. Throw in some Rayman or Ratchet & Clank, and you get an idea of how Effie plays. The presence of coins will generally point you towards forward progress or a secret area (very Rayman-esque).
Effie’s campaign is split into several areas which require some open-world traversal to access. This is mainly where riding your runestone happens. Fun at first, the handling was not as tight as I would prefer as I overshot my intended turn many times. Scattered throughout the land are speed boosts and small jumps that serve no purpose other than fun joyriding which makes one believe content was cut that would have further expanded upon the runestone riding. The different areas of the campaign can be done in any order but, as I soon learned, there is a preferred (read: easier) order. The different sections also unlock a new ability for Galad to use as he takes on the forces of evil. The areas all contain varying amounts of puzzles, platforms, and combats that will have you explore and retrace your steps several times until you reach a mini-boss fight against Melira.
Effie is a fun indie platformer that invokes plenty of nostalgia. While nothing outright is bad about the game (other than the camera), the game leaves something to be desired. My time in Oblena was quite enjoyable and if this framework is any indication, I have high hopes from future projects from Inverge Studios.
I tell Dad jokes much to my wife’s chagrin. Sometimes, I write movie reviews. I love all video games. I am really bad at fighting games. I co-host Nerds Gone Platinum every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on www.youtube.com/nerdsgoneplatinum. You can e-mail the show at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet us at NG_Platinum or call into the show at (929) 333-5762. I can be found on PSN, Twitter, and Instagram at Gimpyjayy and emailed at email@example.com.