Reviewed on Sony PlayStation 4
3D platformers have been having a bit of a revival in recent years. With games like Yooka-Laylee, A Hat in Time and even Crash Bandicoot returning, we are seeing a welcomed return of this classic genre. I used to love playing 3D Mario games and Spyro and really do enjoy this style of game. On to Effie then, which I did not know much about but its a 3D platformer with some combat and puzzle elements, I was excited to get stuck in.
You play as Galand, who has been cursed by an evil witch and has unfortunately been aged prematurely. You constant companion on this quest is your trusty shield, which is used for most of the gameplay mechanics and we will cover that later. You have to complete puzzles, platforming challenges and fight off evil adversaries to fight back this ever growing evil foe.
Effie plays just how you would expect a game of this ilk to play, the platforming, combat and puzzles all have an old-school feeling to them and hark back to the days of old. The world is split into multiple zones surrounding the main hub and there are a lot of areas to explore. These zones can be completed in any order to progress and all have unlockable skills and extra tasks to get involved in. The tasks range from combat challenges to races and there was a lot more variety to the game than I had expected.
You have relics to find, encampments to clear out and secrets to find. I really did enjoy scouring the games various areas to find hidden chests and extra challenges. You level up via an experience meter, this can be filled from finding experience chests, combat and finding the numerous rock tomes littering the landscapes. Each time you level up you get more health and become more powerful, its all standard fare with games these days.
Your shield, which is your weapon, vehicle and general multi-tool is constantly by your side. You throw it, bash with it and use it to get more distance on jumps. It is also used to surf around the hub and compete in the race challenges located there. It gains upgrades as you progress as do your abilities, allowing more areas to be accessed and more manoeuvres to be performed. The progression is smooth and everything feels rewarding enough to move you on through the game.
The combat, while being very basic, feels weighty enough and satisfying. The only thing that bothered me is that the combat kind of locks onto enemies and there was the odd occasion this caused issues for me. Overall though it's a serviceable battle system that evolves over the course of the game and does its job well enough. I would have liked a few more battle moves and for it to be a tad smoother but I do not think the combat is the games focus at all.
The main draw in this game, in my opinion, is the exploration and platforming. Each area has hidden things to discover and I liked finding all of them. I enjoyed seeing chests in out of reach locations and working out how to access them. I relished stumbling on an encampment and having to defeat all the enemies before being rewarded with some sort of virtual reward. This part of the game was fun and very rewarding.
While I liked the art style of Effie, it did have a few issues. The draw distance was quite bad and motion blur was also a bit extreme in places. Other than that I loved the chunky cartoon style graphics and the colourful environments. It really went well with the game's style and aesthetics, apart for the few aforementioned issues I really enjoyed what I saw while playing through this lovely little game.
Sound-wise, Effie was very good. The cheerful melodic music accompanied the style of the game perfectly. The sound effects were also good and kept me immersed in the game to the end. The whole visual and sound design work hand in hand to create a happy, fun experience and I liked this aspect of the game a lot. It's cheerful, not too serious and a nice change of pace from games I have played recently.
Effie performed well enough most of the time, I did have a few frame rate issues and hitches here and there but nothing experience breaking. Other than that I had no bugs or issues to report. It performed well and never distracted me from enjoying my short time playing through the game's campaign.