Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Sometimes all you need in this crazy and oftentimes stressful world is the time to sit back and relax to something that makes you think of better days. Taking me back to what felt like simpler days, Effie by Inverge Studios felt like an adventure throwback to the days of the original PlayStation and Nintendo 64 where everything just fell into place without having to wrack your brain on where to go next.
Staring an old man named Galand, you’ll be sitting down in front of the hearth to the story that he’s telling to the titular Effie. Going back in time to a tale of bravery and danger, Galand was apparently neither and rather lazy in the beginning which caused the reason for this epic tale. Having denied helping out a woman looking for help, it turns out that she was a powerful witch and curses this young and strong strapping lad to become an old man as he had been wasting his youth anyways. Making things even tougher is that after being cursed, the Witch spreads dark magic throughout the land and if Galand wants his youth back, he’ll have to free the cities now under the blanket of this dark magic.
Rather simplistic in its approach, Effie is a classically designed action adventure that never tries to overcomplicate itself which was nice as it only takes a few hours to complete. Armed with a basic, heavy and a couple of special attacks, Galand is ready to tackle the various enemy types that will get in his way as he sets out to free the land of the Witch’s magic. With how short of an adventure that Effie is, I appreciated that the combat was never overly complicated and that while there are a few different enemy types, it’s never “too much” that unbalances the ratio of adventure to combat.
The adventure itself is pretty straight forward. As Galand you can either speed around the “overworld” or you can head straight from “dungeon” to “dungeon” if hunting for collectives isn’t your thing. In either case, defeating enemies and opening treasure chests will reward you with experience points to level Galand up and make him more powerful for the battles to come. More hit points and a bit more attack power are always nice but as the move sets are already predefined, there’s not much else to it
What I found interesting were the boss fights. They are all, and I mean all, against the Witch but the format switches up each time with a new set of challenges. This I enjoyed as it was a mix of platforming and combat but unfortunately what didn’t work is that it all revolved, like the adventure itself, around the law of three. Do things three times, one hit to the Witch. Rinse. Repeat. The core concept was neat but I felt the pacing could have been spiced up a bit even if this is an old schooled tribute.
If there’s one aspect that really didn’t really work on the Nintendo Switch it would be in the graphics and the performance. Having watched the trailers everything was clean and crisp looking yet the first thing that I noticed getting into the start screen was that the graphics were jagged and almost missing a texture layer. It’s not enough to break anything from a gameplay perspective but from a visual one, it made it hard to play for long sessions as it caused a fair amount of eye strain as it wasn’t smooth to look at. Following that, at times everything would simply stall on screen if you moved too fast from one location to the other or almost crash in boss fights when too many elements were being loaded up. This later one caused a death or two as there was no way to avoid falling into lava or getting squished as you literally couldn’t see it coming.