Ethan: Meteor Hunter, is a game developed and published by Indie outfit Seaven Studios. The blurb on the Xbox marketplace, compares it to a mixture of Bastion and Super Meat Boy. I’ve never played Bastion, but I have played Super Meat Boy and the rather excellent Fenix Furia. So I am familiar with the rage that these games create as you constantly repeat a section, in a vain attempt not to die for what seems like the millionth time. Enter Ethan, a rat who becomes a meteor hunter after said meteor crashes to earth. But what sets Ethan off, is his dastardly neighbour destroying his house, and then taking off in typical bad guy fashion with an evil cackle.
But Ethan discovers a fragment of meteor, which imbues him with a special power. He has the ability to halt the passage of time, and manipulate the certain objects in the environment around him. This sounds like the recipe for a lot of fun. But you are restricted quite a bit with these powers. Another issue, is once you select a piece to manoeuvre, fine adjustment is very tricky, and can add a lot of seconds to your level time, due to the analog sticks not being ideal for this action. A mouse would allow fine tuning and therefore faster times. I just get the feeling that Seaven Studios missed a trick here, and could have done so much more with this idea. You cannot just activate the powers at will. Dotted around the levels, are Pause button icons, that you can collect, which gives you the ability to solve puzzles. This is where they succeeded with this idea. You can solve puzzles in more than one way. Some are simple, an only have one way. But being able to do it your way, or multiple ways gets the old grey matter working.
The rest of the game, is essentially a platforming affair, which is by no means dull. The environments are visually impressive, and that includes the backgrounds. There is always something to look at and distract you. Which is a blessing and a curse. More than once I wasn’t paying enough attention and naturally, I died. That is a recurring theme for me. And you if you buy this game. You will die a lot, and in many mildly amusing ways.
Graphically, Ethan: Meteor Hunter, is quite striking. From the opening title screen, to the levels themselves. It’s by no means the best visuals ever made, as it is an Indie game. But the artistic skill involved here, is certainly pleasing to the eyes, and will impress you. The varied colour palette and detail to the levels add depth and help improve the experience. Music and sound effects are nothing to write home about, although they do the job to a satisfactorily level Hearing Ethan being electrocuted, of being dismembered will raise a smile. Many ways to die, over and over again, with all the effects added. But that’s pretty much it. Subtle, and in a way I’m grateful. Too many distractions are not a good idea for a game that can induce rage so quickly and requires your attention to quite a high degree.
On paper, 50 levels over 3 chapters doesn’t sound all that much. In reality, you may be right. But there is replay value should you be a completionist, and set out to beat every level under par time, collect all fragments and finally the pause challenges. All of which have achievements tied to them. So good luck with that. Don’t for one minute think you will breeze through the 50 levels with ease however. Some levels I did, and some I did not. Although I do think more levels would certainly have made a better selling point for Indie game fans. But given the above mentioned challenges, you will be spending quite some time to perfect each run.
One subject I wish to broach is that at first I did not like this game. After 5 or 6 levels, I turned it off. But as I agreed to review, and keep an impartial opinion, I have agreed give the readers an honest opinion. So I had a break, and came back to it. Is it a bad game? No. Is it a good game? Well, it’s not amazing, but it is certainly above average. But to compare it to 2 games such as Super Meat Boy and Bastion, both of which are of cult status is a bold claim, and sadly not one it could live up to in any big way. That being said, the game is fun to play.
So, who would it appeal too? Masochistic gamers for sure. Those who love to be challenged with regards to what I have already mentioned. If you are in for the achievements, you will be in for a hard slog. This will not be an easy game to complete. But where is the fun in an easy game, am I right? It really is a niche within the gaming world, and will not be to the taste of everyone. It may garner a small cult following, time will tell.
At the end of the it all, Ethan: Meteor Hunter may be worth your attention, should you be interested in the genre of platform and puzzle action. But please don’t expect a game on par with Bastion or Super Meat Boy. I would say waiting for a sale as this would be a more enticing prospect. Not a stinker, and worth a look at the very least, just don’t expect to be blown away.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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