The spire was the home of the elder, and after a great cataclysm rained down from the sky Mir of the light clan, and Rin of the dark clan made their way through the chaos to take shelter there. Trapped inside, they confronted one another as creatures of warring natures.
The Spire itself worked some kind of magic to combine them into a single creature tasked with bringing peace back to their world. By combining their skills and abilities, Mirrin will be able to save their world, provided you can help them to do it.
It feels like a platformer
When you first start playing Embers of Mirrim, the side scrolling graphics give it an old school platformer feel. The graphics are a throw back to the genre, delivering gorgeous backgrounds that pull you into the game. A lot of time was spent one ensuring that you get a real feel for each environment, down to splashes of water on the rocks at points.
The gameplay is based around a combination of puzzles that require you to use both thumb sticks simultaneously to navigate passages, and platforming that will have you running from avalanches and jumping to avoid environmental hazards. The two disparate types of gameplay work really well together, blending gameplay and making even simple challengers slightly more difficult.
You can only ever have one armor point at a time.
The two characters you control each have their own abilities that lend themselves to the platformer feel. Mir can sprint, and glide after jumping, allowing you to bridge distances or flee when an avalanche starts barreling down on you. Rin can stomp, allowing you to drop loose chunks of rock to make it possible to jump to higher areas.
As you move through the world, you'll occasionally run into blocks of black and orange rock formations. These can be stomped in order to give yourself an armor point. You can only ever have one armor point at a time and it's particularly handy for protecting you during chase scenes or boss battles.
Puzzles start out easy, but don't stay that way
While leaping from area to area, avoiding the purple protrusions that will kill you can be difficult enough all on it's own, the puzzles you'll need to use your Ember abilities to traverse are where things get tricky. They start out easy enough, having you move through nets, or tag specific targets to open doors.
Things soon get far more complicated, when the two initial characters — Mir of the light clan and Rin of the dark clan — are combined into a single creature known as Mirrim. Mirrim has all of the abilities of both characters and can split into two embers, one purple and one blue.
Things start by just having you split and move vertically.
This is where those tricky puzzles come in. You'll regularly need to split into embers to move through color coded netting. However, if your embers get too far away from one another, or you run into an obstacle you'll be zapped back to the last checkpoint.
Things start out by just having you split and move vertically. Before you realize it though, you'll be moving your embers through mazes, or having to split into embers mid-jump. While some of these puzzles can be particularly troublesome, Embers of Mirrim respawns you quickly and near where you died.
This means that even if it takes you 15 lives to complete a puzzle, you won't have to replay wide swathes of a level just to regain your progress. By the same measure, the game doesn't stick you with long loading screens. Instead letting you fall into the story that is being told.
Two sticks make things twice as tricky
A good portion of the game takes place during the ember puzzles you'll need to create. If you're ambidextrous, or particularly quick with your hands, then you're not going to have problems. For clumsier folks like me though, the game can quickly become particularly frustrating.
This is because you'll need to move both embers in specific ways to complete puzzles. The embers can't get too far apart, and if you're in ember form for too long you'll automatically be zapped back to your starting location. As you get to more difficult puzzles, this becomes particularly aggravating if you don't have the best fine motor skills to properly navigate everything.
Each puzzle is a bit different.
Thankfully each puzzle is a bit different, and builds off of the skills you've built in previous puzzles. This means that in many cases if you just take your time and concentrate you should be able to tackle everything that Embers of Mirrin throws at you.
You'll also come across glyphs hidden in each level. These are small easter eggs which can be triggered by lighting up the elements of them using your ember powers. Each glyph is a bit more difficult to fill in than the one before it, but they are a fun easter egg for those gamers who like to complete everything a game has to offer.
Wrapping it up
Embers of Mirrin delivers the best of platforming games and puzzle games in a single fun package. With brain teasing puzzles, platform jumping action, and gorgeous graphics, this game is great for anyone who wants a platformer built for current consoles. At $19.99 it's a little bit pricier for a shorter game, but for fans of the genre it's an experience worth revisiting more than once.
- Fun platforming feel.
- Numerous checkpoints mean you don't have to replay large chunks of levels.
- Easy to pick up gameplay.
- Game can get frustrating when replaying a puzzle.
- Puzzles can become quite difficult for those who lack fine motor skills.
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