This title was previewed on PC, but is also available on Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.
I might not be the biggest fan of the Puzzle genre in video games, but I enjoyed titles like Celeste and Hollow Knight. What can I say, I’m small, my brain can only handle so much ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Good thing Altered Matter didn’t make Etherborn too hard for my potato skills!
Story-wise, the least I can say about Etherborn is that it’s unique. You play as a voiceless being who follows the ethereal voice of a soul on a journey to find your own consciousness. During this journey, you learn about how the world can work against your ambitions and how humans are a mere nothing compared to the greatness of the universe. Don’t feel too down though, because despite the darkness that envelops your path, you will always find a way to rise through with hope. “Etherborn delves into a hopeful yet equally dark notion” is what the devs said, and I think that it’s an accurate description for a game about human existence.
Visuals & Sound
I have reviewed several games of this style before, my favourite being Mythic Ocean, and I can clearly see the similarities between the two titles. They both feature a beautiful, atmospheric 3D style that gives a calm vibe with the slow animations and the warm and bright colours. Moreover, the surreal art in Etherborn serves its core gameplay mechanics well, with the smooth camera movement, highlighted platforms and polygons, and especially the themed levels, which I greatly enjoyed. As for the sound, I do not recommend playing this game with headphones, because the OST is simply magical. Peaceful music; clean soundtrack; satisfying voice acting, what more could you ask for? This game is a delight to both eyes and ears.
As is the case for most puzzlers, Etherborn is gameplay-based (in spite of how great the story is). Its concept is fairly simple: you need to work your way through mind-bugging angle puzzles to assemble the platforms that you will cross to carry on your path to knowledge. This Beta only offered two levels, but that was more than enough content to have a long session and study the game’s mechanics.
In order to unlock the needed platforms, you need to collect polygons and put them in slots. Easy, right? Well, as I have previously mentioned, you need to work with angles; that means you have to walk on certain patterns to change the perspective, which gives puzzle solving a whole new layer of difficulty. The game is also quite punishing. A single wrong step and you’ll find yourself needing to redo a whole chunk of the level, so you need to be careful and think before you act. The level design is also very impressive in Etherborn, as every level is unique and has its own theme, and it’s noticeable despite the lack of more content in the Beta.
Etherborn is a great game that I’d definitely come back to in a calm, moody day. The mind-boggling puzzles, the deep story, and the warm visuals are definitely catchy, but I will be waiting for the final release because of the [very] few bugs and the fact that you can’t save your progress.