Every so often I get inspired to give an unknown indie game a go. After skimming through Steam’s new releases list looking for something to play, I came across Effie. The ambition of a small indie studio and eye-catching screenshots reminded me of the time I got to review Crosscode. What should have been just another indie game ended up being my 2018 game of the year. Reminiscing on this got me excited and so I found myself playing through Inverge Studios’ first-ever game. Let’s jump into Effie Review.
What is Effie?
Effie is a 3D action-adventure platforming game that takes inspiration from classics such as Spyro and Crash Bandicoot. The core of the gameplay will see you navigating simple platforming segments, defeating waves of enemies, and exploring the land of Oblena.
Oblena has been cursed by an evil witch called Melira. She’s also responsible for cursing our protagonist, the heroic Galand. Melira has stolen away Galand’s youth and left him as an old man before his time. It’s up to Galand to seek out Melira, save Oblena, and get back his youthhood.
Effie’s gameplay is simple enough and won’t take you very long to understand. Basically, you travel to three different cities in order to remove Melira’s curse. This is done by repowering each of the cities, a job that took me roughly 3 hours.
Inside of each city, there’s a mix of simplistic puzzles and straightforward platforming segments. Hardly any of Effie’s gameplay is designed to be difficult or mentally straining, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It makes Effie very accessible and a great choice for those looking to relax. Because of this, Effie could be a good purchase for children or parents looking to play with their kids.
I do have some concerns about Effie’s length. A complete playthrough where I collected every relic only took me just over 5 hours. I have no doubt a more skilled player could cut this down even further. Given its $20 retail price, this is a real hurdle.
Not all of the puzzles seem overly logical. Many of them are memory puzzles that require you to guess until you either get lucky or figure out the order. I’m not overly keen on puzzle design that prevents you from being able to complete it on your first go.
Perhaps the strangest design choice was to opt for an open-world environment. The world itself is relatively empty outside of a handful of designated areas where experience and relics can be found. The sad thing about this is that not only is it empty, but it’s tiny too. Attempting to explore beyond a mile or so out of the map has the game force teleport you back in. Effie may very well have been better off just opting for a generic level selection screen or a central hub world as many of its listed inspirations implement.
Many critics have complained about clunky camera controls and imprecise platforming, but I have to disagree. Certainly, neither are outstanding or particularly impressive but I do feel they are very serviceable. Perhaps is Effie was a precision platformer like Super Mario Odyssey I’d care more, but most of the jumping segments are easy enough. The tools Effie offers are more than adequate to avoid getting in the way.
A pretty serious balance concern regarding the combat can be encountered early on. Once you arrive at Woodborn City, you are given the ability to throw your shield like a boomerang. For some reason, this one-shots the majority of enemies in the game. Only those that are protected from light attacks can survive a hit. For me, this ended up replacing attack combos entirely since it was just too strong not to use. Given how easy the game is already, this isn’t ideal.
I remember fondly when I first stepped foot into Oblena. Those striking bright red flowers and forestry are truly beautiful. They provide the kind of sights people worldwide would travel to see. It’s rare I just take a moment to stop and take in the world around me. That takes something truly special.
Effie’s visuals aren’t just for show either. Thanks to its simplistic, low-poly design, it’s very easy to understand what you can and can’t do. There’s no need for obnoxious tutorials or on-screen messages flashing, “Go this Way!” Anyone with even a basic level of platformers will instantly know where to go and what they can jump on.
Unsurprisingly, Effie is not the hardest game to run. The majority of modern systems will easily reach a stable 60 FPS on medium settings. On my mid-tier gaming PC, I managed a very consistent 90 FPS on high settings. Even during intense combat segments, my game never dropped below 75 FPS.
For those that do need to drop settings, doing so makes a huge difference. On Very Low my FPS varied between 200 and 240 whilst Low saw this number drop to 125. Medium and High ran similarly well whilst Ultra hovered between 60 and 80. Simply put, Effie is extremely well optimised.
As for the settings, there’s a pleasantly surprising amount of choice. Many indie games tend to skip this stage of development, but Effie does no such thing. There are options for draw distance, resolution scale, texture quality, shadows, anti-aliasing and just about anything else you’ll need. This is a well thought out PC port.
Final Verdict on Effie Review
Although it fails to evolve many mechanics typical of its genre, Effie offers a very competent 3D platforming experience. I fell in love with the visuals and the story is charming enough whilst it lasts, Unfortunately, at just 5 hours long, Effie is slightly overpriced at $20. Perhaps down the line if it gets a better sale or some new content, then I’d be more inclined to recommend it.
I hope you leaned something from this Effie Review. If you have something to add, please use the comments box below.