It’s really refreshing when you get to see a different type of gameplay mechanic in a platforming game. It doesn’t happen very often, but recent platformers have offered a different way to play. Naturally, you still need to go from point A to point B by jumping and solving puzzles. Yet Embers of Mirrim does something a little different. It utilizes both analog sticks to create a challenging and very enjoyable platforming experience.
Right off the bat, Embers of Mirrim does things a little differently. Through the use of music and cutscenes, it tells the tale of two races literally joining together to save their planet from the Corruption, which threatens their planet and all who live in it. This story is played out in beautiful scenes and absolutely no dialogue. I actually found this very refreshing. The music and graphics were enough to let me follow along with what was going on. I could see the hatred between the two races. I could see their respect for the Elder that rules over everyone. And I didn’t need dialogue to understand how necessary it is for the two races to join together to save their planet.
At the start of the game, you are introduced to each race and their abilities. The Light (or Mir) has the ability to glide for a short period, which comes very handy when crossing large chasms. The Dark (or Rim) can perform devastating body slams to take out enemies and dislodge rocks to open new paths. Through a serious of events, they combine into Mirrim, which gives you all of their unique abilities. While these abilities are necessary to make your way through the game, they are not entirely the key to solving the many puzzles. In order to make progress, you need to rely on your Embers.
Now Embers are glowing orbs that represent the Light and the Dark. When Mirrim splits, you control the Embers using the left and right analog stick. The orbs do not last forever, so there are a couple things that are necessary when you navigate as Embers. First, you will need to touch certain waypoints that match the color of your Ember (Light is green and Dark is purple). When you hit a colored station, it gives you a little more time in Ember form. Second, you can navigate for a great deal of time in colored grids. Again, your Ember can only go into the grid with the matching color.
As I mentioned above, you have a specific time limit to navigate areas and solve puzzles. You also can’t stray too far away from each other. Doing so will cause you to combine at the location where you first split apart. This make navigating with both analog sticks very challenging. There are only a few instances where you push the analog sticks in the same direction. Most of the time, you will be required to push them in opposite directions and navigate obstacles. I absolutely loved the challenge of navigating as the Embers! There were plenty of times where I died and had to rethink my path. Luckily, there is a very generous save system in Embers of Mirrim that saves very frequently. I never had to make up a lot of ground to reach an area where I died. I always respawned right at the puzzle.
The Embers are a very nice game mechanic, but you also have some classic platforming. You will sprint, glide, pound, and move your way across many different areas. There are items that help you on your journey, like armor to protect you against the Corruption. There are also giant mushrooms the will create a temporary platform or launch you in the air. The mushroom will work in a specific way depending on which Ember touches it. Embers of Mirrim also includes some very challenging boss fights, each one needing a different strategy in order to win. The best part is each mechanic works extraordinarily well. All of the controls are very responsive and easy to master.
I mentioned the graphics and music earlier, but let me emphasis once again that they are top notch. There is a very high quality to the details of the world. This is very important because the world is alive and full of vibrant colors, so graphics need to look amazing. The music is quite lovely and matches the tone of the game very well. For a game with no dialogue, the graphics and music are up to the task of telling a story without words.
Embers of Mirrim is a fantastic platformer. It’s beautifully made with nice, crisp controls. The Ember system is a huge highlight that offers challenge and a ton of fun. The puzzles and bosses can be a little challenging towards the later part of the game, but taking a break to rethink a puzzle can be very helpful. Embers of Mirrim offers a ton of content in the form of platforming, puzzles, boss battles, and secrets to find (just so you know, there is another ending if you find all of Mirrim’s followers, so keep an eye out). I think you get your money’s worth in Embers of Mirrim.
Embers of Mirrim is available now for $19.99 on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Note: GameOctane Editor Ryan Welch received a code for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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Great boss battles
Fantastic Ember game mechanic
Story told without dialogue
May be too challenging for younger gamers