Etherborn immediately creates an otherworldly feeling with it’s bleak atmosphere and visual presentation. This feeling of a world not of our own translates into the game’s platforming gameplay to make for a satisfying, yet short experience.
In Etherborn you’ll explore and use the curvature of landscapes to find new pathways. Each new twist and turn will shift your orientation. Walls can become floors and then those walls could become the ceilings right after that. It all depends on your perspective once you find the right path.
There are five levels in total, all are accessed in a hub that expands with new routes as each level is completed. Every level uses this signature gravity mechanic. On top of this, each level has unique challenges you’ll have to overcome. One has you maneuvering around dangerous liquids either by making platforms or finding the right path. While another has you traversing around a cube with barriers that can either impede your progress, or become platforms depending on where your oriented.
The visuals are gorgeous and paints a bleak and dreamlike picture, but even in the darker areas, the game’s bold colors make it feel calm and welcoming. It’s a weird mixture of serenity and anxiety from being alone, but when accompanied by a diverse and fantastic soundtrack, it sets the tone perfectly for the whole experience. From orchestral sweeps to light acoustic guitar strums, there’s a little bit for everyone. It all compliments the minimalist look and bright color palette of the game. But unfortunately not for very long, as you could easily beat all of Etherborn in a single, two-hour sitting. There is a new game plus which changes locations of some of the orbs you need to collect, but the stage layouts are still the same. So if you’re looking for a longer experience this isn’t it.
Even in its limited scope, Etherborn is still a fun puzzle platformer worth seeking out. It’s finely tuned to make the most of each distinct level and pushes the perspective-shifting gameplay without being overly complicated or disorienting. It uses all its creative tools like art and music to stand out and make the whole experience shine brighter.
This game was reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro system with a retail copy of the title purchased by the reviewer.