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Analysis of Etherborn, defying the laws of gravity

Etherborn
Written by Kamran Haider

Ether born is the last puzzle game in which, to find the exit of each level, you will have to break the laws of gravity. A very well executed idea that surprises at each level. We reach the end of this ethereal tree and tell you our feelings in the analysis of Ether born.

Says the press release that Etherborn is a mix of GRAY with Monument Valley. If you had to look for a comparison, perhaps it would be accurate, but the difficulty of finding a true reference for Etherborn is what best speaks of him because it is a very unique game. Even within the puzzles that make use of the mechanics of gravity, which are not few, the work of Altered Matter stands out. There are not many who dare to take this concept to a three-dimensional environment, where the opportunity to expand these gravitational puzzles is as great as the possibilities that a piece does not fit. That the player ‘breaks’ the game.

I do not even want to imagine the amount of testing that the team of Samuel Cohen and Carles Triviño must have had at the time of designing each of these rooms. Square all the blocks and paths so that the player is unable to find himself stuck, while in turn a certain logic is applied at each level. Just thinking about it gives a headache, and it is a good example of the planning work that has had to be done so that everything is closed and without loose ends.

But the truly brilliant thing about Etherborn is not just that. In many puzzle games, when you find the solution, the challenge ends. If you were to play it again, it would be practically a walk, since you already know the methodology. But here, with the game over, I still have problems to overcome some of the levels by repeating them, even having overcome each one of them. This shows the intricacy of your level design, prepared to force you to work with spatial vision and not muscle memory. Even more so if we take into account that, once completed, we can access a New Game + where a series of objects change location, altering the order and development of each puzzle and showing that the team has been able to further twist its formula.

Ether born … Upside down

Despite the far-fetched structure, the mechanics are easy to understand. We control this ethereal figure who can move around the stage and, at most, has the ability to jump. The difference is given in the contoured edges of the structures, which allow us to vary the point of gravity. If we try to overcome an edge by a rigid surface, we will fall. So we will always have to look for these curved areas to make the gravitational change. In the process, we will have to find orbs of light that lead to some key points, so that we open a path to continue.

There is no doubt, as I say, that the best of Etherborn is that intricate design of levels, which added to the work of art and music of Alexa Escudero and Gabriel Garridoprint that ethereal character that seeks. It is important because it invites you not to leave. To that, even if a puzzle is stuck, you find yourself in a comfortable environment that invites you to try again. Despite the hostility of the challenge, it is impossible not to be seduced by the colors and sounds that populate this ether. Even the rise and fall of a series of uncomfortable blocks, annoying, that prevent you from moving forward, that stand in your way, generate a certain harmony in the player in the ringing of each movement.Upside down

The best of Etherborn is that intricate level design

In one of the most difficult phases of the game, one in which all the elements and mechanics learned to converge and put you to the test, I was hooked for a while. You had to climb these black and white pieces that go up and down, but, almost at the end of the puzzle, you had to make a little obvious turn. I fell into the trap of the easy path that the designer had put before me. It took me a while to get over it, but when I did, I missed more of those situations in Etherborn, because of the rest of the trip, although challenging, did not give me so much trouble. Therefore, although Etherborn lasts about 4-5 hours, I do not think the game is short. However, he misses more levels, more challenges It is difficult not to see the full potential of this idea to create more worlds, with new mechanics that vary the process radically. That returns you to that ignorance of the first levels.

There is no doubt that this means that Etherborn leaves you wanting so much more. The ascent in this tree of life is divided into a tutorial and four levels, with several parts differentiated in each one of them and connected with a voice-over whose monologue is perhaps too abstract to be able to link the player or even what It is happening on screen. It is not the importance of the work, but the way to execute these pieces of ‘history’ seems unnecessary.

Having now revisited Etherborn in his New Game +, I find myself stuck again at some points. As if my mind refused to learn the impossible patterns and ways that make up each level of play. The new locations of the orbs of light, more elaborate, almost as collectibles, have allowed me to recreate even more in the environments and even let the imagination fly to the number of ideas that could continue to be implemented in its structure. play with time, speed, altered states of surfaces or activators on stage. But with its four levels, it already manages to leave its mark of quality. Subtle and well worked. Ethereal.

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Conclusion:

Etherborn is a puzzle game that manages to challenge the player based on a well-planned alteration of gravity. It’s level design is exemplary, and the artistic and sound design goes well. It may be a bit short, but for the very reason that it leaves you wanting more, even with its New Game + mode. Puzzles with gravity there are many, but few squeeze their possibilities so well in a three-dimensional environment.

  • Level design very well planned and executed
  • The mechanics of gravity. Does not age at any time
  • Leave with the desire of more levels that squeeze all the possibilities
  • The dialogues between missions, too abstract and not well defined

About the author

Kamran Haider

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