STAFF REVIEW of Ethan: Meteor Hunter (Xbox One)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016.
by Brent Roberts

Ethan: Meteor Hunter Box art Here at XboxAddict I take my role as a reviewer seriously. I think of myself as a guide, if you will, that honestly tells you if a game is worth your hard earned money. Seaven Studio has recently released their latest puzzle game titled Ethan: Meteor Hunter. Priced at $9.99, the 'official' PR spin is that it is a result of Super Meat Boy meeting Braid. They also claim that you may die repeatedly and enjoy it. Oh boy. Stating something like this is pretty risky, and while the $9.99 price point is nice for a quality puzzle game, the main question still remains: Does Ethan: Meteor Hunter warrant a purchase?

On the outside everything seems promising from the beginning. Ethan: Meteor Hunter boils down to a simple story where players learn that sometimes a war between neighbors can produce catastrophic results. You play as a rat named Ethan, and apparently your neighbor has just demolished your house. If that wasn't bad enough, cascading down from the sky are many meteors, one of which hits your recently destroyed home (I guess when it rains it pours). You emerge from the pile of rubble with the ability to manipulate objects and pause time (this would be the Braid influence). Fearing for his life, your neighbor takes off and now you are forced to jump, climb, and manipulate time in an attempt to venture through more than 50 puzzle levels to go after him. It's not a bad story by any means, but nothing that makes you sit back and take a deep breath as you absorb the plot. Of course none of this matters if you can't manage to control your character.

Using your sticks to move, and the A button to jump, overall the control is fairly responsive, which makes it a bit easier for you to get through the game as a whole. It's your job to guide Ethan through the puzzles in the levels, but the real innovation comes in the form of your ability to pause time. Here you can grab a hold of various items and objects within a predetermined space and manipulate them however you want, the catch is that you can't just pause time whenever you want.

You first have to find blue coins that grant you the ability to pause time, and only then can you use the power as many times as you have coins. There is a huge problem with this aspect, and that is when you grab your items within the puzzle space the controls are overly sensitive and you find yourself manipulating puzzles like you just had 6 shots of espresso and you haven't slept in a week. I do appreciate the ability to find numerous solutions for the various puzzles, and having that variety has saved me more times than I can recount, but this over exaggerated control scheme, while time is paused, is one of the game's flaws.

Another issue is that many times during my gameplay experience when I dropped out of the time pause mode I realized that I could not go back into it to solve the puzzles forcing me to restart, which is where the whole Super Meat Boy reference comes into play. You're going to die a lot. And I'm not just saying this to try and dissuade you from purchasing or playing it, you will die over and over and over again which is why you are given the whole Super Meat Boy reference that they provide.

Ethan: Meteor Hunter tries to keep you entertained by providng you numerous checkpoints that act as your 'instant respawn center'. The good thing about this is that you don't have to replay entire levels all over again if you die towards the end. The bad thing, however, is that to get to the end you will die many, many times from many, many things. Heck, the dev-team claims that you're actually going to enjoy killing Ethan over and over again, and I can tell you that I am a prime example of a contrasting opinion to that very statement. Is the misery over? I wish.

You should also know that the game was released as a PS3 title back in October 2013, so the game is technically a few months shy of 3 years in age. With this in mind, you might just be able to see where this is going in terms of the visuals. Braid actually looked amazing when it released, it won awards for its 2D retro gaming style graphics whereas Ethan: Meteor Hunter looks confused as a game. It's as though it wants to deliver some stunning artwork, yet it wants to be comical and lighthearted in it's over the top delivery, but it doesn't do that good of a job combining the two. This is all accompanied by a soundtrack that provides a bit of relief, but sadly it can't pull the game out from the shambles.

Ethan: Meteor Hunter was released almost 3 years ago and back then it was hailed by some to be innovative, creative, and beautiful. Take this, along with the developer's claims about one's gameplay experience, and this game has a lot to live up to, but sadly it doesn't. I was hoping for a Braid quality experience and I didn't get that. I was hoping for a Super Meat Boy experience, and I didn't get that either. That being said, I was looking for puzzles and I did get those and the all the freedom to solve them that I wanted, unfortunately that can't save this game. I was hopeful that Ethan: Meteor Hunter would deliver an experience that would have me captivated and challenged, but instead I got disappointment and regret.

Overall: 4.0 / 10
Gameplay: 4.0 / 10
Visuals: 4.0 / 10
Sound: 4.0 / 10


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