Emberwind Review: Give a Gnome a Chance to be a Hero

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Emberwind Review: A beautiful, challenging game, but perhaps not for the uninitiated. Your mission as Kindle the gnome is to save the world from the evil gremlins. You have the help of your trusty snow owl to assist you. Armed with just a staff, you set out to take on all that cross your path. Through difficult terrain including hills, caves, villages, forests, and snow fields, you battle on to defeat the enemy.

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This is an amazingly alluring, Mario-style game, but I had a bugger of a time controlling the character, Kindle. The small control area on the screen just wasn’t responsive enough to keep the poor guy moving properly. And when I wanted to go right, I would find myself going left. I can’t imagine the troubles folks with “fat fingers” would have. There were places I would get stuck and it took a frustratingly long time to get myself out. (If I weren’t writing a review, I would have given up on the game at that point.) It did get better (or I got better) as I played on, but it was a rough start for too long. And it never got to the point where it was completely subconscious. (There is an iPad version of the game available – Emberwind HD for $1.99 – and I wonder if the difficulties with the controls in the game are more manageable in that version.)

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The adventure required Kindle to traverse some pretty difficult terrain right from the start. The initial instructions/help screens were perplexing. They showed what action needed to be done, but I couldn’t decipher how to do it. After much trial and error, the controls became a bit easier and moving through the stages became enjoyable. Taking on the enemies, opening treasures, and collecting acorns became routine, if still challenging.

The story itself is rather fun. Move through the stage to rescue the villagers from the invasion of gremlins. Frequent encounters keep you jumping, often literally. Plus the difficult and varied terrain makes for it’s own trials.

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The images are amazingly detailed, but can be a bit difficult to discern, as many items are quite small. The music is fun and adds to the fantasy of the game. It pleasantly stays in the background and doesn’t overwhelm the sound effects that provide useful feedback on your successes.

Emberwind is a game that seasoned gamers may enjoy. However, it could prove too frustrating for those new to the genre. If you’re a veteran Mario-type game player, this could be a fun, fantasy-based challenge for you.
Emberwind™ - Chillingo Ltd
Pros:

  • Beautiful, highly detailed graphic style
  • Challenging play that will tax your skills
  • Fun characters and story line

Cons:

  • Maneuvering button is not intuitive and often difficult to control
  • Help is not helpful
  • Might be better played on an iPad

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