Ever since the release of Super Meat Boy, precision platforming has become one of the core sub-genres for indie developers to try and cut their teeth on. It takes a great deal of fine-tuning to make such a game work properly and be entertaining. The fact that Super Meat Boy was made by two people is impressive in itself, but then one day a man named David Muller decided to top that. The one man army that makes up Red Splat Games put his talent and experience from working on his first release, Defender of Light, into making his own precision platformer. With that in mind, we arrive at Eron.
The story of Eron is simple fare. You play as a nameless native tribesman of a planet code-named Eron. Alien invaders have come to try and obtain a mysterious power located deep at the core of Eron, destroying the tribesman’s village in the process. The tribesman must destroy the invaders to avenge his people and save his world. To accomplish this, he must use his natural agility in combination with his ability to shift between parallel realms.
Gameplay is relatively simple. The objective of each level is to make it to the end goal, traversing through various obstacles by making use of the realm shifting mechanic in combination with running and jumping. For the most part, your path is obstructed by an energy gate that deals out death upon contact. To disable it, you need to destroy large mechanical orbs by shifting into them and performing a telefrag. The concept is simple enough, but the implementation becomes quite insane. A typical level involves holding down the run button, moving past floating mines, making your way to teleport gates, and rapidly shifting between realms while doing all of that at the same time. It starts out simple, but quickly proves to be very frantic.
The positives of the game are few and far between. The art style is somewhat simplistic, but still manages to be complex enough to give some nice sprite details especially when moving from one set of levels to another. The energetic music combined with this art style gives off a rushing feel akin to that of the classic NES Ninja Gaiden. The gameplay, while extremely hard to get the hang of as precision platformers usually tend to be, is extremely satisfying when you get it to work. This starts showing up more often when you first figure out how to boost your jump.
Unfortunately, this game is most definitely not without flaws. The gameplay doesn’t offer enough of an explanation for things such as losing aerial momentum upon changing direction, falling damage being implemented in conjunction with the game’s bottomless pits, or your jump boost height being entirely dependent on telefragging orbs at the exact necessary moment. The result is that you are likely to feel screwed over by being forcefully put through trial and error.
Additionally, Eron is yet another game designed for computers with controller usage primarily in mind, and as such the keyboard control scheme feels like an extremely inconvenient afterthought. Having to hold down the X or Left Ctrl key while alternating between pressing the Spacebar and Left Shift keys is pretty much guaranteed to make your left hand ache after a short while. Also, holding down the run button using the keyboard controls doesn’t work when you die, meaning you have to remember to let go of the button and then hold it down again, which is already needlessly complicated with the aforementioned controls. Finally, the mere existence of a run button for this kind of game feels like a method of tacking on artificial difficulty, and having to make your game artificially more difficult is never a good sign.
The bottom line on Eron is that, while it is a fairly competent precision platformer, more often than not it plainly shows that it needs improvement. Unless you are a fan of Super Meat Boy (or just an extreme gaming masochist in general), you may not get your money’s worth.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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