Etherborn is a weird sort of puzzle game which has elements such as the soothing music from Iris.Fall, feeling rather like that you’d hear on Classic FM, along with some occasional blues thrown in, along with similar from Gris, and the PS2 classic Ico, as you play a small, lone figure traversing a fairly vast landscape at times.
In short, you’re walking about, collecting light orbs to place in certain locations, but sometimes you’ll need to reuse them more than once. In addition, it’s an absolute mind-bender in terms of gravity and how things appear, because – as you’ll see from my gameplay videos, you can be walking at 90 degrees to the vertical, or even completely upside down, and that does take a bit of time to get used to, but only a short bit.
Once you’ve finished the game, it’ll open up a “Game +” mode, where the items to collect are in more hard-to-reach locations, but quite frankly, once was enough for me (well, twice if you count the time I ran through the game again in order to get some decent gameplay). Still, for the completist, it’ll open up an additional challenge.
On the plus side, there’s an ethereal, hypnotic soundtrack, a voiceover by Natalie Winter, who has a soothing voice to go with the soothing music, and there’s also very brilliantly designed levels; but on the downside, in the penultimate level (and maybe this was to eek things out a bit), there’s an awful lot of ‘going round the houses’ and doubling back on yourself. Plus, the game also has a bit of a nonsense storyline which didn’t grab me.
Also, it took four years to make Etherborn, but it’s still pretty short with just four main levels and it can be completed within a couple of hours, unless you go back through it under ‘Game +’
Note that when I play games, I like to have the Y-axis inverted, hence my action early on in the first section, as you’ll see from the gameplay video. I had already set it that way after my first run through, and you can see that the setting IS still set that way, BUT the effect has gone back to it not being inverted, so I had to toggle it off and on again.
Etherborn has DLC available in the form of the soundtrack, as well as a Digital Art and Design Book, showing how those intricate levels were designed.
Etherborn is out now on PC.
- Developer: Altered Matter
- Publisher: Altered Matter
- Players: single player
- Languages: English
- Subtitles: English
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.