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Ethan: Meteor Hunter is a new puzzle game and the first title from French indie game developer Seaven Studio. It hit the Playstation Store on October 22nd, and is also available for download from the game’s website here. Either can be yours for just $9.99. I was given a copy of the game to review, and decided to keep track of my first few hours in this spoiler-free (mostly…) virtual diary:
11:30 AM: My editor has asked me to review Ethan: Meteor Hunter. It appears to be about a mouse that has special powers or something. I am not an avid puzzle gamer, but I will give it a shot.
12:15 PM: The game is finished downloading. The opening cutscene is a little weird, and I am not sure exactly where Ethan is and why. However, I must soldier on for posterity’s sake.
12:27 PM: The first few levels are done. I have not died or missed a meteorite shard yet. Hopefully this game gets more difficult.
12:31 PM: I have never liked Pogo Sticks. If you had asked 5-year-old Rory if he wanted a Pogo Stick for his birthday, he would have punched you in the mouth. It’s fine. Whatever. I got it done.
12:55 PM: HOW CAN THERE BE THIS MANY THINGS IN A SAWMILL THAT CAN KILL YOU?! I mean what could they possibly make here?! And where are all the employees?! Dead… They must all be dead…
1:25 PM: The game’s “tekenesia” power is becoming more clear to me now. Ethan can freeze time and move objects in addition to running and jumping to dodge obstacles. This is pretty neat. It basically feels like Super Meat Boy and Braid got together and had a silent and disfigured mouse-baby. Took 17 minutes to stack things properly and escape this level. I am starting to get worried…
1:47 PM: I had better close the windows in case any children or people with ears can hear what I am yelling…
1:49 PM: BLOCKS! WHY DON’T YOU LISTEN TO ME BLOCKS?! I AM YOUR MASTER! JUST STACK!
2:13 PM: It has been 2 hours now without any food, water or sleep. My hands won’t stop sweating and I can’t stop yelling nonsensical phrases like “I WILL MAKE YOU SUFFER YOU STUPID RED SAW.” I have a splitting headache. I am taking a break to eat, shower and take some aspirin. I think I may be losing my mind.
3:05 PM: Time to get back on the horse, Rory. Remember: people are counting on you.
3:20 PM: The missions are now at a record difficulty. I must routinely dodge death 5 or 6 times in the span of 10 seconds. All of my cunning and dexterity is required to navigate this freaking mill. I have no idea how the world record holders are doing these missions in 2 minutes. It takes me at least 15.
3:48 PM: I have finally made it the last level. It appears that there is in fact someone else in this awful place…
4:01 PM: HOW DO I MAKE THE PAIN STOP!? The fire just moves so fast. Do I jump?!
4:14 PM: I have found the boss. He will pay…
4:20 PM: YOU THINK YOU ARE SAFE UP THERE?! I WILL HAVE MY VENGEANCE!
4:45 PM: Look Mr. Boss, I apologize for that outburst earlier. It is clear to me that you are, in fact, safe up there. I want to congratulate you on this fine death mill you have constructed. How did you get so many hazards into such a tiny place? I am sorry for moving your blocks… Have I told you what nice blocks they are? What are they, aged Cedar? What kind of treatment do you have to put on them to get them to float on acid like that?
4:53 PM: You can dump trash on my property and use my land for construction of more massive death buildings. Anything. Anything you want. JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT!
5:10 PM: It is going to be fine. I know how to beat the last boss… I just can’t do it. The game is a really difficult puzzle game with minimal story and art achievement but fabulous gameplay. I don’t have to be good at the game to review it. I can just tell people how it is and let them try it out for themselves.
5:11 PM: Okay just one more try. You are already going to hear his laugh in your dreams, so just take care of business.
5:13 PM: One more.
(Many, many more tries later…)
6:03 PM: HAHAHAHA! NOT SO SMUG NOW ARE YA?! I AM THE MASTER! ALL WILL KNEEL AT MY FEET! Took the better part of 2 hours, but that is normal right? Let’s just check out what the world record is. It can’t be too much shorter than my time… Oh. It is two minutes.
The diary just deteriorates into a lot of swearing and crying after that. The final verdict? Ethan: Meteor Hunter is a great blend of puzzle game staples and a few new features. Any fans of indie puzzle games will absolutely love this game. While your character will certainly die over and over in about a thousand different ways, the actual deaths are pretty tame and suitable for children. However, I would not recommend playing it near your children, as you are bound to scream violently at the game. The levels can be solved in multiple ways due to the incredibly imaginative “telekinesia” feature, and the physics engine behind this ability to maneuver objects is remarkably realistic.
While the game does boast 50 playable levels, the art and overall look of the game left a little to be desired. Other games in the genre tend to create a magical world for you, the player, to get lost in. This is not the case with Ethan. There is basically no story as to why you must navigate this frightening place. You are a mouse, but you could just as easily a lobster or a magical toothbrush. Combine these factors with virtually no in-game sound beyond the noises the killing machines make, and you are left with thoughts of what might have been. However, the game is a solid first effort and I am looking forward to Seaven’s follow-up.
Original post found on Corrupted Cartridge here.