This title was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch, but is also available on PC.
If you read my last review you’ll recall that I don’t like old and outdated game mechanics. Even if it was just a product of the times and doesn’t necessarily detract from the objective value and polish of a game, it doesn’t sit right with me. However, games that are merely pretending to be old and take these outdated mechanics and make them less of a hassle are another story. The Adventures of Elena Temple is the latter of these two, and it’s one of the best examples of it.
When you boot up the game you’ll notice one of the most unique things about the game immediately. The Adventures of Elena Temple presents itself as if it is a remaster collection of a forgotten series that saw as little as 5 sales at the time of release. Of course this isn’t the reality. The reality of this “collection” is that each different game is the same game emulating a different system’s style. For example, you could play the “GameBoy” version of The Adventures of Elena Temple, but in reality you’re playing the same game as every other one in the lineup, just with a different visual and musical aesthetic. This was a perfect example of something I never knew I wanted. Why pretend to be just an old game, which has been a trend in the indie scene as of late, when you can pretend to be like 7 old games? Each of the different versions of the game is accompanied by humorous flavor text as well, which adds a little bit of “lore” to each edition of the game. It’s little things like this that let Adventures of Elena Temple shine.
It being the same game doesn’t just carry over in the design, but in the save system as well. If I save my progress in one version of the game and then boot up another, I’ll pick up exactly where I left off in the other version. I don’t know if I can understate how brilliant of an idea I think this is. The game doesn’t artificially extend itself by making the same game over and over. Instead I can pick up and play whenever I want, however I want. This carry over made the game much more enjoyable to explore not only from a review standpoint, but from a player standpoint as well. I didn’t feel like I was being forced to waste my time to see everything, and that’s something I can truly appreciate.
The old school style of The Adventures of Elena Temple shines through not only in its art styles, but in its gameplay as well. The game is essentially like an old dungeon crawler. They throw you in and don’t tell you what to do or where to go so all you can really do is walk and see what happens. While normally something like this is tedious and/or boring to me, Elena Temple has something other games like this don’t, that makes me want to keep playing. You get right back up where you were when you die. Don’t have to worry about losing all your lives and having to do a puzzle, or god forbid the entire game, from the start again. If I made it through half the puzzle then I made it through half the puzzle. Getting back up right where I left off is a great way to get people like me, who don’t like old things that force you to start over. Unfortunately, this also means people who aren’t like me and like that kind of thing may be put off, and there’s not really an option to turn this feature off. So if you’re looking for a challenge, you may be barking up the wrong tree.
If you’re like me and want old mechanics to be improved on and unique ideas to have a prominence in the indie scene, then The Adventures of Elena Temple is the game for you. While attempting to mimic the concept of a game from the 80s, it puts a funny spin on the idea of a remaster collection and indie games as a whole while not slipping up on delivering in the gameplay department. While maybe not the best choice for those looking for a serious challenge, The Adventures of Elena Temple is a solid title with a unique spin and I highly recommend you check out.