HIGH Tight platforming

LOW The combat isn’t as good as the platforming.

WTF Why can’t I skip these cutscenes?

There are many good small-scale 3D platformers in the genre, including ones we have just recently reviewed, and it seems that Effie has decided to cast its hand in.

The game is a combination of 3D action platforming and limited open-world exploration, with the title character, Galand, using his trusty magic shield to jump, smash and air-surf his way through the world of Oblena.

The premise appears to be Galand telling the story of this adventure to his daughter, explaining that at one time he was cursed for being selfish. The curse caused him to age prematurely, and Galand is seeking to reverse this, as well as to redeem himself by defeating an evil witch.

Effie starts off as a very basic experience, but is immediately accessible due to the very precise jump controls and good feedback for landing on platforms. Soon, a shield is unlocked and combat and exploration follows.

Unfortunately, the combat is in stark contrast to the platforming as the first set of light and heavy combos don’t always connect and the auto-lock that is supposed to line Galland up with foes feels unreliable, with several instances of him being launched off a platform to his death. There is a block, but it’s easier to ignore this in favor of buttonmashing since blocking uses up a meter that can also be used for unlocked special abilities like dashing or a boomerang. These help to lessen the combat frustration, but I found myself reliant on them over the basic attacks.

On the other hand, exploration in Effie is actually a joy since the compact open world has plenty of nooks and crannies to dig around in, as well as bigger levels that give flavor to the world – places like a giant lumbermill that builds weapons and a vineyard that towers over the terrain. Everything has a pastel hue that is reminiscent of ‘90s European cartoon’ aesthetics – solid colors that allow for expressive art, but muted tones in a way that US cartoons favored brightness.

Effie‘s running time is quite brief. There are four chapters, and none of them outstay their welcome. Some might find this a turn-off, but being able to finish a game over the course of a week felt refreshing.

Effie is a short, enjoyable 3D platformer that needs more polish on the combat. That said, it’s a kid-friendly alternative to pick up and enjoy for those who’ve already been through the others in the genre.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by Inverge Studios and published by Klabater.  It is currently available on XBO, XBX/S, PS4, Switch, and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the XBX. Approximately 6 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed.  There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T and contains Violence. This T rating feels utterly unearned as the violence in question is incredibly mild and all of the targets are ghosts or monsters. The tone is very light and even the vineyard in the game makes ‘grape juice’ and not wine.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game offers subtitles. The subtitles cannot be altered and/or resized. The game is fully playable without sound. This game is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: Certain functions are remappable. The Y and X Axis can be inverted.

AJ Small
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