Embers of Mirrim is a good looking platform by Creative Bytes Studios that’s getting its multiplatform release this week. Available for PS4, Xbox One and PC, we played the Xbox One version for this review.
In the past five to ten years, the 2D puzzle platformer genre has grown hand in hand with the rise of the indie gaming culture. Creative Bytes is a new name in that scene, and the studio worked on the game for the past two and a half years. What they’ve crafted is a diverse platformer with a lot of familiar elements, yet infused with a flavor of its own.
This unique flavor comes mainly from Mirrim, the (fantasy lynx/bird-like) creature you control in the game. Mirrim can move about and do some pretty standard stuff, like running and jumping. These controls come in handy when you’re being chased by an avalanche and it’s great to realize that everything feels very responsive in these scenarios. While these scenes are therefore fun, they’re also nothing special – that part comes from the “embers” part of the title.
The actual Embers of Mirrim describe the two versions of Mirrim you can control when Mirrim splits himself in two. These spirit versions are color-coded and this becomes relevant during the puzzles you’ll encounter. Switches can sometimes only be triggered by one of the Embers, which can make a seemingly easy puzzle especially tricky. Controlling both Embers is done simultaneously, using both thumbsticks – which is challenging at times but something we’ve recently also seen in games like Death Squared and Semispheres.
The game mixes up puzzles and classic platforming, and it’s usually fairly easy to tell when you need to use the Embers mechanic due to the color coding you’ll see in the levels. There are also boss fights you need to overcome, and you’ll encounter many different (and sometimes very creative) uses for the splitting skill that Mirrim has.
Visually, there is a distinct fantasy flavor to Embers of Mirrim. Its creators were inspired by movie classics from the eighties like Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal and Neverending Stories – all movies I’m quite familiar with from my childhood days, which made it easy for me to the see references. Creative Bytes have opted for a non-narrated/voiced approach to their storytelling though, which can leave matters open to interpretation and might not grab everyone’s attention the way it was intended to.
Luckily, the delightful fantasy visuals combined with the smooth, diverse and innovative gameplay of Embers of Mirrim should be enough to capture gamers’ attention. Between this and Little Nightmares, it’s been a good month for puzzle platformer fans.