It's rare to see an indie developer make a 3D platformer as solid as Effie so grab your shield and get ready to go on one epic adventure.
While preparing for my Effie review, I found myself absolutely hooked while playing it all the way until the end credits rolled. Usually, I get distracted with other games but Effie is the real deal. For starters, you play as a warrior named Galand who gets turned into an old man by a wicked witch named Melira. Even though he now has grey hair, he's still impressively buff and quite the silver fox so I don't know what the big deal is. Anyway, he sets out to rid the land of evil and hopefully reclaim his youth. The visuals are very colourful and vibrant which makes the world come to life. Plus, hearing Galand narrating the story helps to further immerse you into its world. Overall, I was impressed right off the bat and the adventure that followed did not disappoint. Well, except for a few minor quibbles.
Effie's core gameplay merely involves running and jumping around large stages but there are plenty of cool mechanics involved, too. For starters, you get a magic shield (the Runestone) early in your quest that you can use to hover around the overworld. Zipping through speed boosts and going off jumps feels awesome but I do wish there was a racing mini-game to take full advantage of this mechanic. Combat primarily consists of heavy and light attacks as well as dodging out of harm's way. You also gain access to a couple of special moves in the form of a boomerang and earthquake which make you even more badass. As you play, you'll earn experience that allows you to level up and become more powerful and you can also uncover relics which act as Effie's collectibles. However, there is a point of no return so be careful to collect everything before heading to the final stage if you want to achieve 100% completion.
One aspect of Effie that blew me away is its carefully crafted stages. Each one is massive and features interconnected rooms complete with plenty of puzzles and battle arenas. The developers did an amazing job of keeping the gameplay engaging and exciting by constantly mixing things up so it never becomes tedious. For example, you'll never fight so many enemies in a row that it gets boring and there are no tedious puzzles to solve. As a result, you're left with a streamlined and entertaining game that manages to stay enjoyable from start to finish. That being said, I can't help but wish that the campaign was a little longer as I wanted to experience much more of the world by the time the credits showed. On the plus side, there are a handful of optional areas that provide some replay value.
On a less positive note, I did experience some annoying moments throughout the journey. Between getting stuck in a few walls and falling into a pit because I attacked an enemy which made Galand lunge off a cliff, it's clear that the developers could still tighten Effie up a bit to prevent such issues from happening. Another frustrating moment occurred when I was waiting for 2 hazards to clear up before moving ahead yet they weren't in sync thus making timing much more difficult than it should have been. There were a few more irritating aspects and I feel that these should have been ironed out before release. Finally, the boss fights aren't as satisfying as I hoped because they basically involve beating up enemies and avoiding hazards which is too similar to the stages themselves. I would have much rather beat up a selection of actual bosses instead of merely surviving intricate death traps and enemy filled battle arenas.
If you're a fan of 3D platformers then you'll absolutely love Effie. It's one of the most satisfying games that I've played this year so far.
- + Tight 3D platforming and combat with some cool abilities that help mix things up
- + Top-notch elaborate stage designs
- + Lovely visuals and great voice acting
- - Occasional annoying moments
- - Boss fights are kind of disappointing
- - Fairly short campaign