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The Adventures of Elena Temple: Definitive Edition

The Adventures of Elena Temple: Definitive Edition From GrimTalin

A monochromatic 8-bit retro platformer.

In typical platformer fashion, your objective is to explore and move around the level by jumping from platform to platform, collecting coins, gems, and chests, placing crystals on pedestals, and shooting jars for a chance to find hidden coins. You will also need to evade the traps (spikes, saws, and arrows that come from everywhere) and of course there are enemies to evade or kill (scorpions, snakes, and bats). There are a couple of special enemy types that cannot be killed and must simply be avoided; spiders and ghosts. The spiders have an interesting mechanic associated with them that makes them more of an obstacle than an enemy.

You can jump, shoot, and move left and right. As you might have gathered, the controls are pretty simple and they work pretty well. Your character will generally turn and jump the way you would expect her to. Your gun can only hold two bullets at a time and shoots straight ahead in whichever direction you’re facing. You’ll want to bear this in mind when planning your ammo pickups. You’ll also need to be careful not to waste too many shots. If you find yourself out of ammo and out of pickups, fear not, you can leave the room and come back to respawn the ammo pickups. Besides enemies, you can also shoot the many vases scattered around the levels as well as a few destructible walls.

There are platforms that will move left to right or up and down once you are standing on them as well as ones that will dissolve after a second of standing on it. We ran into a few issues with the moving platforms getting in the way and stopping us from being able to access the area we wanted to access. Traveling to a different room and back again reset them and we were able to complete the objective by trying a different method or order of steps. You’ll find that you often have to travel between rooms to complete puzzles because you’ll need an object from one room to trigger something in the next. This is especially true for accessing blocked off areas found further in on each of the levels.

In the first 2 temples you have unlimited lives, which is a good thing because everything in the game will insta-kill you. Picking up an item and traveling to a new screen both function as a checkpoint so when you die you will respawn at the beginning of that screen or wherever the last item pickup was located. This allows for some strategy to come into play which becomes important and useful in some of the later rooms. 

The 3rd temple is different. There are fire pits around the map that serve as checkpoints when you reach them. You also have semi-limited lives. When you die, initially you will respawn the same way you did in the earlier temples. But when you run out of hearts, you’ll be sent back to the last fire pit you reached. These fire pits that serve as checkpoints also fully refill your lives. There are also items you can pick up to increase your total number of lives. Some of these can refill your lives when picked up. 

The map can be accessed by pressing the “+” on your Nintendo Switch. It is your friend and can be accessed at any time. You’ll find it very helpful for tracking where you are in relation to your objective. It is a very simplified map that really only shows the outlines of the rooms and where the doors are. 

The chiptunes soundtrack and sound effects fit the retro feel perfectly and go nicely with the artstyle. They chose to do something interesting here with the visuals for the game as you’re playing the game on a system within your system. In game you can use the bumpers at any time to cycle through playing the game on a TV, a Computer Monitor, or an OG Gameboy  among other options. Each game system has its own color scheme and backdrop of a different room. You can choose one based on which you prefer. You can use the triggers to zoom in or out depending on how much of the backdrop you want to see or how much of the in game screen you want filling your screen. So you’re playing on your real world gaming system and then on the virtual world gaming system inside it. It’s truly emulating the time period the retro graphics came from. 


There are 3 different temples to play from and each one has its own gimmick. The first Temple “Chalice of the Gods” is relatively simple and a good beginners introduction to the game. 

The second temple “The Golden Spider” builds on what you learned in the first temple. It is more challenging and becomes frustrating at times as you have to first locate orbs that need to be placed on a pedestal. If you die before placing the orb on the pedestal you’ll lose the orb and have to go back, sometimes several rooms away, to pick it up again. It also has platforms that move when you jump making you think before you jump to ensure you land on the platforms.

The third level “The Orb of Life” has an interesting twist with checkpoints discussed above and portals that allow you to teleport to other locations or rooms. We liked the additional puzzle elements introduced with the portals and checkpoints. 

You are able to get different unlockables/modifiers like Double Jumps, Infinite Ammo, Rhino Armor, Campfires, and Limited Lives that can be toggled on or off at the beginning of the level and change the gameplay by making it easier or harder depending on which you have toggled on. Most of these will unlock by completing the temples. However, the Rhino Armor (which is SUPER handy and makes you unkillable) can only be obtained by taking a path that is outside the normal map. 

A fun, classic platformer with a variety of obstacles and mechanics. A retro classic worth playing for a well done slice of nostalgia.

The Adventures of Elena Temple: Definitive Edition is available on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Steam and Itch.io. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.

Super Jumpy Ball

Super Jumpy Ball from CasualGames.nu

A Simple 2D Platform Game

You play as a Ball and have to make it from one end of the level to a flag at the other end. The entire level fits on your screen at one time making it pretty easy to plan your routes. Each level has a single star that you can opt to collect on your way to the flag. In the early levels collecting them doesn’t present much of a challenge. This changes as you progress through the game and getting the star becomes the primary source of difficulty as simply getting to the flag without taking damage isn’t that hard on most of the levels.

There are a few different types of obstacles used on the levels; spikes, spike balls that get shot at you, and saw blades. The saw blades are either on a track that move up and down, left and right, or are on arms that rotate around a platform you need to use. They’re very reminiscent of a certain old platformer with a plumber, except the graphics here aren’t as good. You’ll need to avoid these obstacles as you make your way around the screen to collect the star and then get to the flag. A single hit from one of the obstacles will kill you.

There are 40 Levels and 5 Game modes to pick from. 
Basketball – Where you jump off walls to rebound into the hoop.
Endless Survivor – You need to climb the platforms to escape the rising spike floor.
Spike Battle – A local Multiplayer game where you have to jump on top of the other players and pop their ball with the spike attached to your bottom. 
Endless Running – A standard endless running mode where you avoid obstacles and can collect flags to extend your time.
And the normal “campaign” levels 

The graphics are very Flash circa 1995 and the audio is repetitive as there are only a total of 2 songs in the game; one for the menu and another one for the levels. 

The game describes itself as a puzzle platformer but sadly we couldn’t find any puzzles in it. We would say it’s more of a platformer/obstacle course. 

It is rather short as you could playthru all 40 levels in about 15-20 minutes. It has local multiplayer modes only but does have global leaderboards which is nice. However, for some reason, only a few of the game types have leaderboards. 

A puzzle-less puzzle platformer. Good for young gamers or when you want to just play something a little mindless.

Super Jumpy Ball is available on Xbox,Nintendo Switch and Windows. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.

Restless Hero

Restless Hero from Restless Corp

A 2d pixel art Dungeon Adventure

It has a retro 16 bit art style reminiscent of Super Nintendo and a simple soundtrack. Sadly the soundtrack is the same for all of the levels which starts to become repetitive.

The movement in the game is simple but effective. You move around the level jumping over enemies and obstacles, and scaling walls to get to higher areas. Water is also an obstacle since your character can’t swim and you will be insta-dead if you land in any.

The controls are very basic. One button for jumping and another one to use your super power. Combat is almost non-existent given that your only options are to jump over them and run away or use a super power to blow them up. 

The super powers are pretty straight forward. The first one restores your health, the second one lets you destroy enemies and traps when you come into contact with them, and the third gives you a shield that lasts for a few seconds and lets you come into contact with the enemies without taking damage. This gives you three strategies for getting through the levels.

While moving around the levels you will find a variety of pickups to assist you. There are green potions which are the in-game currency, hearts to refill your health, lightning bolts to refill your super powers, and two chests per level that give you a gold bar when opened. The gold bars are almost equivalent to player levels. When making purchases there is a minimum gold bar requirement along with a price in potions but the gold bars are not spent; you retain them. They’re just there to make it harder to grind out a bunch of stuff early on since you have to play further and find more chests to collect more gold bars.

There is a shop located on most every level. They are where you can purchase items or change which super power you have equipped and make a one time purchase of an additional gold bar. Shops are the only way you can swap out your powers after your initial selection.

Every few levels you’ll meet up with a witch. She’ll ask you a question and you’ll have two options to choose from for response. The final choice is the only one that makes a difference in which ending you see.

The 22nd level (out of 30) was different as it was a kind of a race level. You are being chased by the smoke monster that you see on the title screen when loading the game. The smoke monster will one hit kill you and you are unable to kill it. 

The later levels become harder by adding more enemy types as well as removing mid-level checkpoints. Choosing the correct super power becomes much more important at this point.

While playing on Xbox we noticed an interesting twist for the achievements. They do not auto pop like most other games. They need to be “claimed” from the main menu in the store before they will unlock.

The game is fun and enjoyable for a pick up and play game if you have 15-20 minutes here or there to play through a few levels. Completing a level and collecting both of the gold bars hidden on it will award you with a medal for the level. After earning medals for every level the game loses replayability. The only reason to keep playing it after that would be to collect more potions to spend in the shop and finish upgrading your super powers. 

TLDR:

Fun retro platformer. Basic controls and repetitive soundtrack.

Restless Hero is available on Xbox Play Anywhere, IOS and Android. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.

OVIVO

OVIVO From IzHard

A simple momentum and gravity based platformer that mixes art and gameplay. 

You play as OVO, a color changing ball with an antenna. Your objective is to reach a spot in the middle of the map. To do this you make your way around the level by moving between colors, using momentum, sliding down slopes, altering gravity, avoiding spikes, or falling off a cliff. After reaching the objective the screen zooms out to display the full map revealing the piece of art that it is.
The gameplay and controls are very simple as the game only has 2 colors in it (Black and White) and uses 1 thumb stick and a single button to switch colors and move between the Black and White areas.
The music is simple, clean, and relaxing which keeps you calm during the later more challenging stages. 
Most of the levels are pretty simple and have more than one route to get to the end. It makes traveling around the levels easy and fun during the earlier levels. The levels start becoming more complicated and challenging when new mechanics and obstacles are introduced. Some of the new additions are moving platforms, floating flowers, and color changing spheres. There’s a small learning curve at the start and it returns with a significant difficulty spike on the later stages. It is not always clear what to do or where you need to go and there are many chances to die by falling off objects into spikes or sharp edges. The check point system is pretty good which only has you backtracking for a few seconds which helps to offset the difficulty spike by minimizing the penalty for sudden deaths.
Sadly the game has no story; no spoken or written words at all. It is more of a short experience as it can be completed in about 3 hours.  

A simple black and white momentum and gravity based platformer that mixes art and gameplay with a relaxing soundtrack.

OVIVO is available on Xbox, PlayStation 4, Steam and Nintendo Switch. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.

Ascendance

Ascendance from ONEVISION GAMES

A colorful First Person 3D Platformer. 
The art style is a minimalistic, low poly with very colorful platforms and backgrounds. The audio is calming, relaxing, and adds to the atmosphere.
The gameplay is simple. You traverse the three levels by running and jumping from a stationary platform to collect orbs around the level. Once an orb is collected it reveals more of the level. While moving around the levels you will be using jump pads to access higher areas or platforms. Some will drop when you touch them which keeps you on your toes. Once you collect all of the orbs you are granted access to the next level. All three of the levels have collectible presents that can be found in hidden places around the maps (around corners or behind objects).
Each of the three levels is unique; not only visually but with new mechanics added to the mix which add a nice bit of variety.
The controls are simple as you use the thumbsticks to move and look around, and just two buttons are used for the rest; one for running and one for jumping.
What little bit of story the game has is told by finding Crystals around the levels. When you approach them, text will appear on the screen with the next installment of the narrative.
I encountered an issue with parts of the map not loading/rendering after hitting an orb/checkpoint and exiting the game then reloading the level at a later time. This was game breaking as it was not possible to complete the level and progress further in the game without the map rendered correctly and it was ultimately necessary to delete all saves both local and in the cloud and start the game over from the beginning.
I reached out to the developers to let them know about the issue. They responded that a patch is in development to address it but is not ready for release at the time of this writing.
Overall the game is fun, simple, relaxing and enjoyable but just a little short. More levels, mechanics, and a timed mode is planned with future updates.
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