While I cannot blame Effie for this, and it is no more than a coincidence, there is something that nevertheless remains true whenever I accept a review copy of Effie; My life turns to shit. That is a very direct and an even more crass way to put it, but it is true. I’ve reviewed Effie on PS4 before, and I’m re-reviewing it on Steam, and both times, like clockwork as if life itself didn’t want me to review the game, major hurdles or setbacks happened. I bring this up not to justify my delay in providing this review, or to insinuate the game to be haunted, that would be ridiculous, but to shine light on one single fact. Even with my life going poorly, deaths and bad marks did little to diminish my enjoyment of Effie. It’s just that good of a game.
When I accepted re-reviewing the game, I wondered to myself how I would approach the second review. Would I link people to my first one and go light on the details? Would I use this as an opportunity to see if the game holds up to my rather positive impressions of it? The truth is though, I came in with that doubt, though a couple hours with the game, and that doubt quickly faded. Not much has changed when it comes to Effie, certainly not enough to warrant a brand new description of the game, and yet it remains a good thing that the game hasn’t changed, because the same core fun and enjoyment I had the first time around is still here.
So that’s essentially what this is, a second look. How many times have there been games that I enjoy beating the first time, that I spent afternoons beating, but then never started for a second time? How many amazing first experiences are spoiled a second time through? I can think of many. Even some of my favorite gaming experiences of all time, with games I would rank as classic, are faced with that problem. The opening to Uncharted 2, climbing a derailed train that’s about to fall down a mountain, blew my mind. It had me holding my breath and it’s still remembered fondly. It was probably the most exciting and shocking opening to a video game I could think of, but replaying it for the second, and even more so the third and fourth time, wonder gave away to boredom. I knew what to expect.
Effie is not like that. In my earlier review I compared it to 3D platformers from the 90’s I adore such as Rayman 2, I don’t think there’s a better point of comparison due to the sheer joy I get traversing its stages. The visuals, bright, imaginative in the earlier parts, and gloomy and oozing with atmosphere in the latter ones, still maintain their beauty. The art style still reminds me of an animated family movie and yet it’s the gameplay that manages to engage me even as I replayed it for a second, and even after a third time.
Jumping, running, gliding, they’re all actions that have been in Platformers, 2D or 3D, for decades now. Hundreds have incorporated it and yet Effie’s controls make achieving those actions to be precise, solid, and above all, reliable. There is something to be said about Effie keeping it safe, about not reinventing the wheel or making something new out of the 3D platformer genre, but that is such a ridiculous complaint that it borders on nitpicky. Very few games are innovative. Even less games define a genre or bring something new to the table to be followed by all to come, but Effie manages to do something with the familiar steps it threads. It manages to be fun.
There isn’t much more I can add to that. Effie is fun. I had vague memories of Effie being a bright light in a period of darkness and crap in my life and as grief and illness threaten to mark this period in similar drab colors, Effie is once more something I enjoy. It’s probably not going to change the world, or even be the best 3D platformer you’ve ever played, but it’s fun. The game brought me back to an age of innocence with similar platformers on the original PlayStation, and later the PlayStation 2, as it was a joy to complete. More than that, it was marvelous to replay, It holds up, not only from my earlier recollections of it (again read my previous review as it goes into more detail), with the fun story and cartoony graphics and solid gameplay, but also against the hundreds of 3D platformers I’ve played. It’s not the best thing ever, but what it is, is good. Whether bashing enemies with your shield (long story), jumping in the air, or exploring the autumny hub world, I can’t recommend Effie enough.
Effie was developed and published by Inverge Studios
It is available on Steam and PS4 for $19.99
A review copy was provided by the developer
Mcportugalem has awarded Effie the Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval