Never has a videogame caused such laughter in my household (well the trailer for Octodad did but that was only a trailer) but this game had a trick up it’s sleeve as one of my own children shares his name with this particular videogame and its star character. Where the laughter comes in though is when my children watch me, accidently I must add, kill the main character over and over again! So for sheer humour value this game should be guaranteed a big fat 10!
But before I start banding around review scores allow me to introduce you. Ethan: Meteor Hunter is a puzzle/platform game from Seaven Studios that is available for the PS Vita. This is a downloadable title that can be found on the PSN store and it is already available for the PS3.
The game has you take control of Ethan (a mouse) who has been imbued with the power to bend time and space from a fallen meteor. Ethan then embarks on a quest to gather more meteor fragments in order to have his revenge on his neighbour, who has destroyed Ethan’s house (surely this should have been sorted long before getting to this point). This quest for revenge takes you through three main areas of a campaign mode that is further broken up into smaller levels that contain puzzles, platforms and an interesting combination of the two. Ethan’s extraordinary new found powers allow you to pause time and re-arrange the local environment so that you can progress through the level. Pausing the game allows you to see the puzzles and the boundaries that you can move the environment within.
There are no set solutions for the puzzles you encounter and there can be many solutions that offer the same escape, allowing for a fair degree of creativity on your part. You can only pause the game when you have collected a pause token and these are strategically scattered throughout the levels, usually, just before you need them. Solving the puzzles is an easy and smooth task with the Vita’s touch controls and remind me of editing levels in LittleBigPlanet for the PS Vita. Levels seem large and cavernous but in actuality are short and sweet. Once you have the main points of a level down you can get through them rather quickly and this lends itself to portable gaming extremely well. It also means that replaying levels is a joy rather than a chore!
Controlling Ethan is extremely easy using the D-pad, analogue sticks and face buttons to move, jump, slide, return to checkpoint and pause the game. Interacting with the environment around you can be done either by the magic of touchscreen or using the more traditional D-pad and shoulder buttons, having this choice of styles will ensure no one is left out of the fun and you are able to experiment between the two styles to find what fits. However I have to say that using the touchscreen is smooth and responsive when interacting with the environment and as this is a key feature it really needed to be perfect.
The graphics are of a good standard and Ethan himself looks solid against the environment and the game does a good job of reminding you how small Ethan is to his surroundings. The soundtrack is unimposing and flows nicely enough in the background. It never feels too much or distracting and there are good sound effects that enhance the game.
The real replay value comes from reaching or exceeding a number of goals set for each level, these goals include a set time, amount of shards collected and number of pauses used. The goals can be extremely tricky to complete even at lower levels. There are also online leaderboards for those that fancy a real challenge against the world and did I mention there are trophies to be earnt?
Oh and before I forget the other plus to the title is that I said before this game is available on the PS3 and if you already own the PS3 version then crossbuy is supported and you will receive this version for no extra cost.
I have played a fair way through the game and the way that the puzzle elements and platforming are intertwined is truly excellent and shows great level design throughout. It isn’t just a case of encountering a puzzle then some platforming then a puzzle and so on, the two elements work together throughout to create a game that feels unique and pleasantly surprising.
Overall then Ethan : Meteor Hunter is a fiendish fusion of puzzles and platforms that will test your reflexes as well as your brain. Either of the games’ elements are good enough on their own but mixed together you definitely have something truly unique here that should be part of any Vita owners library and you don’t even need a son named Ethan!
At A Glance
- Title: Ethan: Meteor Hunter
- Publisher: Seaven Studios
- System: PS Vita
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 368Mb