Death is a common part to any platformer and every jump could result in the death of another clone of the main character. In Embers of Mirrim, Creative Bytes action platformer, I died a lot…and I mean a lot, but even though the game was difficult to master—and I don’t feel like I have after my play throughs—it never fell into the realm of spike the controller frustration. This is always a difficult balancing act, but Embers of Mirrim pulls it off.
The game opens with a cinematic that sets the stage for the non-verbal narrative of the story as well as introducing the player to a light and dark Mirrim (leopard creatures). A “blight” has taken over their world and they must combine to make one creature, save their friends, and save their world.
There isn’t much to the story, but most platformers have a minimal narrative so this isn’t out of the ordinary. Additionally, the cinematics do a good job of conveying the plot that is there and it is easy to understand what is going on and why the player is completing levels.
Along with the cinematics, the environments throughout the game offer up one of the most appealing aspects to the game, beauty. The beauty in the environments is shown through the backgrounds as the player’s combined Mirrim sprints through areas. However, for all the beauty and detail in the backgrounds and environments, there are two problems.
The first problem is a major one. This is a world of fantasy and it illicits that kind of response in the opening cinematic, but then the player is treated to standard “forest” level, “wasteland” level, “underground” level, etc. The levels are beautifully drawn, but are run of the mill standards found in many other games. It is unfortunate that more time wasn’t spent on making each environment more unique.
The second problem is a minor one, but still worth mentioning. After playing the game for a while, I couldn’t help but notice that the levels started to become “samey”. There are two parts to the environment, one is the background—discussed above—and the other is the foreground in which the Mirrim runs upon. The foreground, started to feel like the same terrain with just a new coat of paint as I moved from one level to the next. Not a deal breaker, because many platformers do the same thing, but it stands out more when the environment is so beautifully depicted.
Outside of the level design and art, the gameplay as well as the character controls are unique. The Mirrim gallop from the left side of the screen to the right and jump over openings; which is standard for this type of game, but then there is the “ember” ability. The “ember” ability is the ability to split the two Mirrim apart and turn them into a green and purple orb that can only exist for a short time before the “embers” must recombine. Each orb is controlled by one bumper and one movement stick and the majority of the puzzles are built around this unique idea. It’s like a twin stick shooter if each stick controlled a different character and they needed to move at the same time.
The puzzles aren’t difficult to figure out, but controlling two joysticks and paying attention to two orbs in different parts of the screen can be very difficult to execute. This is more challenging than one would think and is developed throughout the game to both enhance the mechanic and challenge the player at the same time. It feels similar to playing a guitar; multiple fingers must perform different actions at the same time.
This is where the bulk of my deaths came, which could be frustrating in other games, but Embers of Mirrim employs an auto save function that is suitably forgiving. Also, the level design is broken down well and there are singular shields that work in the same way as a mushroom does within a Mario game. The game goes to great lengths to make sure the player doesn’t get frustrated and rage quit in any of the long, multi layered levels.
On a final positive note, for the trophy hunters reading this review, the game offers 51 trophies including a platinum trophy. The reason I bring this up is that the game offers trophy rewards fairly consistently throughout the game and it emphasized the fact that I was doing the right thing or completing the task properly. This feature sums up my whole experience with the game; it encourages you to play, but doesn’t frustrate you too much while playing.
Embers of Mirrim PS4 Review
If you're in the mood for a platformer set in a fantasy world that will challenge your thumb control, offer unique twin stick gameplay, and satisfy the trophy hunter in us all, then Embers of Mirrim is for you. However, the environments will feel run of the mill and “samey” and the puzzles won’t take much thought to solve.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital code provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
*Reviewed using a base PS4.