Effie Indie Game Review – First Sip

Effie by Inverge Studios is a 3D action adventure game, with elements of platforming, puzzle solving and combat, set in a stylised fantasy world.

Pretty Grass in Effie
Uncredited Tim Burton vibes

Story

In Effie, you control Galand a young man that has been cursed with premature ageing by an evil witch, Galand travels the world defeating the evil minions of the witch and liberating towns, as he grows in power to eventually confront the witch herself.

Much like the Legend of Zelda series, the titular character does appear in the game however she is unplayable, with the old man Galand recounting his adventure to the young Effie, presumably he has aged naturally after his adventure ended, which is somewhat confirmed by his statement that the story took place so long ago that the can barely remember.

As the game is technically just a story being told there are multiple times in which you will hear the older Galand narrate the events occurring in your playthrough, much like the game Bastion.

Ghosts in Effie
Beating up ghosts with a shield, because why not?

Graphics

Graphically Effie is a bright and colorful game with deep red fields, crystal clear water and skies, and the bright green of Galand’s clothes, the character models look somewhat like action figures with minimal articulation however I found this to add to the charm of the game.

The runes you collect and chests you can find are both made quite obvious so they are easy to spot, and the enemies are well designed, with small goblin like creatures, floating spirit like enemies and larger troll like foes among others.

Design wise, Galand himself looks quite good, other than his bright clothes he has a muscular build, white hair and a white beard, thanks to his premature ageing, and looks the epitome of the courageous old knight.

Trees in Effie
Like a playable painting

Sound

The only real stumbling point I experienced with my time in the game, the music in Effie is quite nice, a mix of adventurous orchestral and more ambient sounds, however there are multiple points in which there was no music at all, which wouldn’t be too much of an issue except for the fact that the area was filled with the goblin enemies who all make the same noise quite frequently, this got fairly annoying fairly quickly, the collection of runes and opening of chests have a more pleasant noise to counter this, and the voice acting in the game is quite strong, with the timbre of Galand’s voice being particularly pleasing to hear, peculiarly though the words said are most of the time different from the subtitles on screen, like when you watch anime dubbed into English with the Japanese subtitles on, they convey the same information but use different words, for instance the subtitles may say “Galand felt himself surge with power” but the voice over will say “Galand felt a surge of power deep within his body”.

Magic in Effie
Those runes look like delicious cookies

Gameplay

Inverge studios cite multiple game series as inspirations

Effie is inspired by games like:

  • Ratchet and Clank
  • A Hat in Time
  • The Legend of Zelda – Saga
  • RiME
  • Abzu
  • Yooka-Laylee
  • Rayman – Saga
  • Spyro
  • Crash Bandicoot

As you may imagine from this list, there is an emphasis on exploration and platforming, while Ratchet may have Clank and Yooka may have Laylee, Galand has Runestone a glowing shield, that unfortunately doesn’t talk (unlike the shield from the upcoming The Untold Legacy) but is used for all manner of combat and movement.

To begin with Runestone allows the ability to attack enemies with a combination of two short combos, a standard one which is quick and deals a decent amount of damage and a slower combo that involves throwing runestone, allowing a slightly longer range in exchange for a slightly slower initial attack speed, you can string both of these together though allowing for a fast initial attack followed by the shield throw if you get the timing right, and as a shield Runestone also allows the use of blocking, however unlike most shield Runestone is magic and so blocking creates a full bubble shield around you.

Shortly after the game begins, both in and just outside of the first temple you gain new moves for Galand, including a double jump where Runestone allows further upward momentum and the ability to shield surf which is both fun and a great way to traverse large distances, although this ability can only be used outside of temples/towns.

The temples/towns are where you will strengthen Galand with new abilities which much like the Legend of Zelda series will open access to new levels until the eventual end boss.

Monsters in Effie
He’s right behind me isn’t he?

Overall

Effie is an assured debut from Inverge Studios, a love letter to the action adventure games they love, but a solid entry in its own right, although the influences are in no way hidden, the sheer charm and tight mechanics should appeal to both fans of their listed inspirations and people new to the genre alike.

Effie isn’t really a challenging game, maybe some jumps will be difficult or the later stages might get tricky here and there, but like the other namechecked games it’s not about being a super hard soulslike experience, it’s about the thrill of exploration, the feeling of freedom and adventure, and Effie captures that spirit of adventure with the best of them.

Polished to the point that at times it’s hard to imagine that it’s an indie game, Effie is a game that I found myself easily getting lost in, where I tell myself ok just get to the next area and then go do something else but the next area becomes the next one after that, and then again after that, their list of inspirations include some of my favourite series of all time, so the fact that Effie can sit comfortably among them is a glowing endorsement of its quality.

In Coffee Terms

Rather than a coffee, I would say Effie is more like a hot chocolate on a cold day, it’s nostalgic like a treat from your youth but still tastes just as good as an adult, it might be cold and bitter outside but it’s warm and sweet here, what more can I say? It’s delicious and fun and that’s all you need.

Developer Links:

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/975950/Effie/
Website: https://www.effiegame.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/effiegame

91/100
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