|DEVELOPER||PUBLISHER||RELEASE DATE||GENRE||PLATFORM TESTED|
|Inverge Studios||Inverge Studios
Factoria Cultural Gestio
Since the beginning of 2019, there have been hundreds of indie games released, and a large chunk of them fit into the RPG genre. But, there have been very few that seemed to justify their price tag the way Effie does.
Anyone that knows me will vouch for just how cheap I can be when it comes to buying games. Never one to shy away from the discounted titles on Steam, PlayStation store, or Nintendo eShop, yet I seem to run into the same issue all the time, do I want to pay for an indie game that’s a few months old to save a few bucks? Or, do I pay the extra dollars and grab a new release?
In many cases, I choose to play the cheapest of the selection and quickly figure out why it was discounted so much.
But, every now and then the new release gets my attention enough to warrant taking a chance on it, and that was indeed the case with Effie.
Found in the PlayStation store for $24.95 (Aussie Dollar) Effie looks intriguing immediately. The trailer is what sold me though, as it shows off some of the greater features of the RPG. A less than brain-breaking combat system, well-designed monsters, and a shield you can ride like the hoverboard in Back To The Future, essential to speed up your trips through the blood red plains of Oblena.
First impressions are certainly high for Effie, with a likable protagonist, simplistic yet satisfying plot, and appealing art style.
What is Effie all about?
The story takes place in a faraway land, Oblena. Three cities have been plagued by dark magic conjured by Melira, a
bitch witch with a thirst for power and a bit of a grudge against you.
Having turned her away when she was in need, our hero Galand was cursed, aging him far beyond his years.
Seeking a way to recover your youth, Galand approaches the mystic elders who promise to help in return for ridding the region of Melira and the Dark Gems used to summon a scourge of monsters and choking thorny vines.
Cinematics within the game show Galand sitting in front of a fireplace with his Granddaughter, Effie, telling her of the legendary adventure in a way that makes it seem as if the story wasn’t about himself.
In-game narration is also done by the story-telling Galand, who has a few comical lines when you inevitably slip up and have to restart a chapter, of which there are only 5.
Effie is a great example that a game’s difficulty doesn’t always derive from the style of combat, or strength of the enemy. The main hurdle to overcome in Effie is your movement, specifically your agility and accuracy when jumping all over the screen. You see, in order to traverse the labyrinth of traps and puzzles on your way to each boss fight, you will need to dodge giant saw blades, hop from barrel to barrel in a lake of wine, or strategically navigate across falling platforms and rising lava.
The enemies you encounter vary from small, goblin-like creatures that are fast, and move in a swarm, to large monsters with the ability to create a jagged rock formation that bursts up from the earth.
Also in the naughty party, we have some medium sized grunts that move around in a rather stupid fashion, swinging at you from time to time, but more an annoyance than a true threat. And my least favorite enemy variation, the bomb-throwing, red goblin nasties. These little f@#ks have one hell of an arm on them, and while the damage they inflict isn’t anything too concerning, the force of the impact knocks you around.
This becomes a problem when there is a threat of falling into the abyss, lake of wine, or lava pool. You could easily find yourself standing too close to the edge while attacking another monster, only to have these buggers bump you to your doom.
As you progress through Effie, Galand will learn several new skills/attacks, all of which are performed with your trusty Runestone shield.
Out of the box, you have a standard attack and heavy attack, later unlocking a boomerang type attack, and earthquake skill which sees Galand launch into the air, bringing his shield crashing down and dealing heavy damage to everything in front of him.
Double jump and dash abilities are also learned as they become needed, with the first chapters being a little less acrobatic.
Throughout the plains of Oblena and it’s various cities you’ll find a ton of runes, which not only recover your stamina and health but also fill an experience meter. This mechanic is more for show than anything else it seems.
Galand progresses through the chapters and unlocks new abilities regardless of whether or not you choose to collect the runes, however, some of the more enjoyable moments we encountered in Effie were when trying to reach runes, tucked away in hard to reach places. So this is a nice side quest for anyone looking to 100% the game. But be warned, these runes are everywhere, and it’s really easy to miss one here and there.
While offering a fairly large space to fly around on your shield, the story is still linear. You can travel to all of the cities in whichever order you choose, but there is just one way to complete the game.
Each city has a set of keys to find and puzzles to solve which are done so by either remembering a pattern or pressing buttons in the correct order. Once the puzzles are solved, you move into the next area, and so on, eventually ending up in a boss battle against that fucking bish Melira.
I really should point out that at first glance, Effie was far too short, but that was before I looked at the available PlayStation Trophies.
While the straight-up gameplay may only take you several hours to see the story through, you are given a prompt before entering the final chapter. The prompt gives you the chance to press on with your journey, or take a little more time to explore. Being the eager beaver that I am, the former was my selection, and woe is me.
If you are looking for more content than the storyline itself has to offer, you’re in luck. There is a ton of side quest action, with lots of additional areas to explore around Oblena. You will find a whole bunch of monsters, runes, and hidden do-dads if you don’t want the fun to end.
What’s the verdict on Effie?
Ok, so I ramble on a fair bit, but, if you are looking for some solid fun, at least for a few hours, Effie is a great choice. Modestly priced, and not a taxing download, this bite-sized RPG won’t disappoint, as long as you aren’t looking to lose yourself in a fantasy realm for countless hours. If Inverge Studios added some DLC, perhaps additional stories or quests to complete, Effie could be so much more. The environment is pleasing on the old eyeballs, the movement is clean, it just lacks content.
Deserving of a good rating, and recommended more specifically to those huungry trophy hunters.
- Easy to learn and fun to play, free of game-breaking glitches.
- The story is fun, with great narration and a lovable character.
- The intense color like we see in the red plains of Oblena are beautiful.
- Running around can get tricky in a 3D space, with your view becoming obscured at times.
- The story is too short, with a lack of side missions to make up for it.
- Level design is lazy and repetitive, with buildings being nothing more than a backdrop.