When it comes to action-adventure platformers, there are some that bombard you with immersive backstories, colorful characters and a long overarching plot with many twists and turns to keep you invested. Effie isn’t that kind of game. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this plucky 3D action game by Inverge Studios. In a world of old-school throwbacks and spiritual successors, Effie hopes to eke out an existence among them with a look and feel of some of the greatest games to ever embrace the genre. Our Effie Review is here to see if it has what it takes to be great.
For starters, Effie isn’t the main character. Effie is a young girl, who is being told the story of Galand and his, seemingly evil nemesis Melira by none other than the hero himself. The way the story presents itself is a little strange and mildly hokey. Galand begins his journey after being cursed by Melira simply because he didn’t help her fix her cart when it broke. His slothfulness was ultimately his downfall, and the curse aged him with little to no hope of a cure. Eventually he finds a group of protectors that assure him that they can aid him, but only if his heart is true.
What follows is kind of a strange tale that, if you think on it for too long, makes less sense as you go. You are endowed with a magic shield that you end up using as a surfboard, a bludgeon, and a disenchanter, but the only thing that it doesn’t seem to do is block any attacks. The towns you visit have no real backstory, aside from a short narrative about what the town used to be like, but there are never any townspeople or workers, even after you clear the level. Without any fundamental knowledge that the goblins and creatures you’re attacking are “bad”, you as the gallant adventurer essentially bound from area to area, killing the residents and absorbing “evil” from gems that are housed within the labyrinths of each level.Meanwhile, Melira is hellbent on stopping you from cleansing the town. For what reason, we aren’t entirely sure, but she must have really been angry about not getting her cart fixed. In many ways, this is a simple fairy tale blown largely out of proportion.
The story and premise aside, graphically, Effie grows on you. No, it isn’t going to outdo such high-profile adventure titles like The Legend of Zelda, but the colorful, cartoony aspects became quite endearing as I traveled Oblena. Some of the settings, such as the spooky clocktower town brought back that old-school nostalgia that I used to get when I entered a particularly unique area in a game like Banjo-Kazooie.The controls are generally good, although I have to dock Inverge a bit for not giving me the option to invert the view controls. Combat in general is simplistic. You have a strong and heavy attack, and minor variations of special moves that don’t require memorizing combinations or waiting for confusing prerequisites. Effie’s simplicity is one of its strengths, as it requires very little investment time in learning how to play, so new players to the action-platformer genre will be able to pick this up in no time.
Within each level lies a host of minor puzzles that will certainly touch on many of the common tropes strewn about any number of adventure titles. Finding keys, hopping on the correct stones, and finding the right clues to bypass a dangerous area are all here. There wasn’t a single time that I was stumped over one of the puzzles, which only reinforces the simplicity aspect of Effie. Despite Oblena being a fairly large, open world, the missions are very straight forward. Even though you obtain runes and experience to level up, your power and character traits are left unchanged until you find a statue to gain an upgrade. Effie, in its entirety does one thing exceptionally well. They really have created the perfect beginner’s game for new Action-Platformer gamers.