Monday, October 21, 2013

PC Spotlight #32: Ethan: Meteor Hunter

Title: Ethan: Meteor Hunter
Developer: Seaven Studios
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PS3
Price: $9.90
Braid, SuperHOT, Prince of Persia....time manipulation remains a fascinating and stylish game mechanic that adds another dimension to any genre. Ethan: Meteor Hunter takes the precision platforming of games like Electronic Super Joy and Super Meat Boy and uses the ability to stop time to provide gamers with a mix of challenging gameplay and puzzles.

The story is simple: our hero, a mouse named Ethan, embarks on a treacherous quest to retrieve meteorite pieces. The story isn't the focus here; the gameplay is and in that aspect, Ethan is a resounding success. Even without the ability to control time, the game would be a brutal platformer, where progress is more easily measured in deaths than victory. A varied and expansive gauntlet of traps and obstacles stand between Ethan and the level exit: crushers, incinerating jets, acid, grinders, explosives, collapsing platforms, electricity, dozens of saw blades, and more. Quick reflexes and precise timing is a must to navigate these hazard-ridden worlds and collect the meteorite chunks that litter each level.
The game is brutal enough without the time-based puzzles, but the Pause ability allows for even more inventive and varied challenges. By collecting tokens, you gain the power to stop time and manipulate objects in the world. From simply moving blocks to make a staircase to moving platforms mid-jump while avoiding other hazards, this ability opens the door for scenarios and challenges just not possible in other platformers and Seaven Studios crafts a wonderfully varied range of devious and inventive time-based platforming puzzles. It's one thing to avoid saw blades; it's another to avoid saw blades while strategically pausing time to block flame jets and create a safe platform to land on.
For all its fantastic puzzle platforming, Ethan Meteor Hunter is not without its flaws. For the most part, the controls worked fine but there were times where the jumping and movement feel clunky and imprecise; luckily these moments seemed pretty rare. Furthermore, I could have done without the levels that abandoned the time-controlling platforming to mix up the gameplay, such a Doodle Jump-esque level where you hopped up platforms and over hazards on a pogo stick. Any times these levels came around, I just wanted to get back to the time controlling and white-knuckle platforming. Lastly, I felt the environments grew repetitive over time but thankfully the gameplay itself made up for the lack of variety.
Flaws aside, Ethan Meteor Hunter will challenge you throughout its entire campaign, thanks to its brutal precision platforming and inventive time-stopping puzzles. Prepare to be sliced, crushed, melted, fried, and just die a lot and you'll enjoy your time with Ethan Meteor Hunter. You can purchase the game from the developer's site and vote for it on Steam Greenlight.

1 comment:

  1. Does this art remind anyone of the world of Moffee? Kind of that creamy, cartoony, yet still serious and somewhat dark art? I like the graphics...For anyone who knows what I'm talking about you can see more of the pictures in Logicweb's new game Colossus Escape...They did an interview recently for 8BitGamer here:

    Colossus Escape Interview