18 people found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 1.0 hrs on record
Posted: Jan 31, 2019 @ 11:37am
Updated: Feb 1, 2019 @ 2:18pm
Product received for free

Early Access Review
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Ectolibrium is a game that has some interesting ideas, looks and plays like an arcade-style platformer with some unexpected movement mechanics, but current content is way too early early access and needs significant improvements before it is worth the current asking price of $12.99 USD.

To put things into perspective, it took me about one hour to get through all of the currently available content. There is one "episode" that consists of 10 smallish levels. There are a total of 3 currently planned episodes with the final finished product available in January 2021--2 years from now. The price will hike with each episode, hopefully not by much, because even three times the current content will be hard pressed to justify the current price.

Platforming uniqueness is something that many gamers of my generation look forward to. Growing up on this genre along with shmups, fighters, and brawlers, we have seen so many games trying to match the way that those older games captivated the audience with their charm. Ectolibrium has definitely its share of interesting mechanics that will take the player a few to ten minutes to get used to, with a couple of newer things introduced later on. It handles well, which is important for any platformer, it's simple controls yet complexity in movement based on situation forms a solid basis for a good puzzle-platforming game.

It has vibrant and strange, yet expressive graphics as well. The introductory video really draws the player in with its oddities. The gameplay is nothing like the video though, as it's a purely 2D game with some 3D objects.

I just think it needs a lot of improvement and work, and I would seriously consider lowering the price because of the huge selection of games available on Steam that players get to choose from, many of whom look for the best quality time to price ratio.

Pricing
Just too high to justify the current content.

Positives
+Interesting and fairly unique mechanics in terms of movement
+Oddities in graphics and vibrant environment that changes based on player actions
+Controls strangely but well (works well with controller or mouse)
+Good use of checkpoints within each level along with infinite number of lives to be more inclusive and friendly to to a wider audience
+Launches with native 4K support (though needs text-size scaling appropriately still)
+Challenges present within each level for the player to go and collect all of the interactive/environmental items plus trying to finish within the shortest time frame

Negatives
-Too short, without too many barriers to progressing past each level in terms of just moving through.
-Background environment interfering with end-of-level score card in one level, obstructing view of the actual information within.
-Some background objects that look like alien goo or plastic toys, depending on how you interpret them, like Rorschach-inkblot colored-balloons and blown up. A bit detracting from the rest of the cosmetics of the game.
-The story is quite bland and uninformative, and does not tie the levels together. Perhaps future episodes will furnish the player with more and constructive glue to make the story worthwhile.
-Some environmental embellishments may cause problems with visibility, with outjutting 3D objects in front, causing a jarring effect. It does not interfere much with the gameplay, just that these attached objects do not give a good sense of proper parallax in order to allow the player to expect them.
-Contrasting background, foreground, environmental objects, and player sprite sometimes is problematic--various locations exist where shade looks like empty space that the player should be able to get into, causing additional confusion and perhaps frustration.
-The game has speedrunning in mind as it tells you how many deaths and how much time was spent going through each level, but it is single-player without leaderboards, even locally, so the timing is just a statistic that is relatively useless so far.
-Of course, as I already mentioned, the price is way too high.


Conclusion
Ectolibrium is in early access and needs a lot of work. It has a good gameplay environment and is fun for a short amount of time. The content load is rather small and it is priced too high. There are some in-game bugs/issues that will need to be addressed. If you want to help the developer with the creation of this game and you have the spare change, then by all means get yourself involved. The developer responds positively to critique as long as it is constructive in nature. The full version of the game is slated to be released in January 2021, and so you know clearly that this is currently not the finished product. I cannot recommend this game at this time, though with future updates, I will plan to revisit and to reevaluate it.

I received the product for free. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.
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