Greak: Memories of Azur review (PS4)

Greak: Memories of Azur from developer Navegante Entertainment and Team 17 is a gorgeous new take on the metroidvania genre, and it’s out now for all major platforms. Our test was done on a PlayStation 5.

With its hand-drawn animations, Greak: Memories of Azur is certainly an eye-catcher – reminding us of recent games like PQube’s Evergate and, more recently, Ender Lilies. All are examples of how beautiful 2D indie platformers can be, and a reminder that not every game needs next gen 3D visuals to succeed.

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The story in Greak revolves around three siblings that want to be reunited, with Greak being the youngest of the three Courines – a magical race of human-like beings. Your home has been invaded by the Urlags, and now you want to find your siblings Adara and Raydel – but a whole range of puzzles and enemies stand in your way. Each character has unique abilities that come into play for different scenarios, so eventually you’ll learn that cooperation is going to be crucial as well.

The early story beats are all about Greak though, who on top of pursuing his main goal can also interact with villagers and help them out with small side objectives – which let you get comfortable with Greak’s double jumping ability and the game’s other controls. These also include combat, which comes in the shape of sword-based and bow-based for melee and ranged options.

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The game takes a turn towards The Lost Vikings when you meet your siblings though, as this is when you’ll need to start alternating between them in order to make use of the unique abilities to bring to a particular (puzzle) scenario. Adara can briefly float in the air and prefers ranged combat, for example. This works great for the well designed puzzles, but can be tricky in combat – where two characters are almost always vulnerable and you can’t help but think “why aren’t they fighting together?!?”. In all honesty there IS a way to control all three together by holding down a button, but when a mistimed jump breaks the group up you can’t help but think you’d rather play with some AI buddies, at least in certain scenes.

Luckily, these issues don’t detract much from the wonderful story-driven experience of Greak: Memories of Azur, which features a lovely personal core about Greak and his siblings that has a lot of heart, as well as a larger story that features the Urlags. Between the well-written narrative, nicely designed puzzles and gameplay that slowly branches out with new abilities, this is a great indie that would have been worth playing even without its beautiful visual style, with hand drawn animations and charming cutscenes.

Score: 7.9/10

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