Eekeemoo – Splinters of the Dark Shard Review

I often scoff at the usage of the term, “garbage” when referring to games. Usually, when someone says a game is “garbage”, it most certainly is not. With Eekeemoo, however, it takes a lot to not describe it as such. I don’t think I’ve played a game more broken and more unfinished, leaving me feeling like the developers are nothing more than amateurs. Being an amateur is totally fine, you have to start somewhere; but how this even made it onto the eShop is beyond me. There is a serious QA problem with the Nintendo Switch online store, but that’s another article for another time. Let’s get into why Eekeemoo is one of the worst games I’ve played, in as long as I can remember.

In this 3D action-platformer, you play as Eekeemoo, a ninja Eskimo, whose goal is to get through levels by jumping and slashing enemies. The description doesn’t sound too awful, but just wait till you actually start moving around and engaging in combat. For starters, there is no real way to avoid getting hit by enemies here. You can block, sure, but you can’t block and attack simultaneously, so it’s common to continuously take damage. Even more off-putting is that it doesn’t matter if you take damage, because there is an over-abundance of health scattered throughout the levels. Seriously, every moment my health went down, an enemy would drop more health. It was weird.

It’s as if the developers knew the combat didn’t work well and instead of fixing it, they just gave the player an excess amount of health to “resolve” the issue. Now, I’m not a developer and I’m sure programming AI and combat is tough but releasing a game as unfinished as this doesn’t seem like the best move. On top of that, there is a delay in button inputs, making it challenging to even get from point A to B. Everything from attacking, to changing characters, and jumping has a noticeable delay.

Eekeemoo does give you the ability to swap between other characters on the fly, which is a step in the right direction. Some bosses or areas require the usage of various characters to proceed. The issue is that some characters literally cannot get through certain areas. For instance, the heavy blob-like character is so slow he cannot get through some of the platforming sections. In other words, if the right character dies, you’re completely stuck in the area and must reset the checkpoint. To me, that demonstrates how broken this game is.

I almost started to like the aesthetics, but after seeing some of the untextured assets and how much pop-in there is, that was out the window, too. It’s odd because despite the low poly-assets, Eekeemoo still runs horribly, with low inconsistent framerates and long loading screens. It seems like I was playing something in early access.

What about the level design? Well, unfortunately, that left a lot to be desired, as well. There are lots of platforming sections and interacting with objects to open the next area, but it’s never clear where to go. It doesn’t help that there’s this constant fog in the background, making it tough to tell areas apart. Eventually, if you do manage to make it to the next area, Eekeemoo just throws more of the same unrewarding and repetitive gameplay at you.

Repetitive is the perfect way to describe this game. Everything from the art assets, to the combat, to the level design, and even the music is repetitive. All signs point to this being made by a small independent studio, which isn’t inherently bad. There are tons of lower budget games out there from Hollow Knight to Celeste, and even older ones like Braid. When you consider those aforementioned games are independent and compare them to Eekeemoo, the difference is noticeable.

All that said, Eekeemoo has to have some redeeming qualities, right? After a while of scratching my head, trying to answer this question, it did occur to me that Eekeemoo is unintentionally humorous. The oddly-placed checkpoints had me laughing because of how arbitrary they seemed, but the real stars are the stiff animations combined with the goofy character models. Some of the monsters are supposed to come off as scary, but they all have this blank, dead look on their faces that make them hard to take seriously. Once they start chasing after you they move like old action figures with only a few points of articulation. When you mix that with the comically simple and repetitive music, it makes for some unintentionally humorous moments.

It’s never good to see a game turn out so poorly. I’m just baffled as to how this project even came together, especially knowing how much time, effort, and money goes into game development. Perhaps the studio is using the funds earned from this game to spend on their true passion project next. Who knows? The point is you should stay far away from Eekeemoo. Don’t let the low $5.00 price-tag fool you; There are way better games to play for $5 or less.  

REVIEW CODE: A Switch code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@brashgames.co.uk.

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