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Embers of Mirrim Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Embers of Mirrim is a perfect example of a developer taking a simple concept and making the most of it. The idea of controlling two separate characters at the same time may not be completely original, but the world they've built and the puzzles spread throughout keep this adventure fresh. It can be difficult to the point of maddening at times, but is also rewarding and full of beautiful backgrounds. This is a charming and riveting debut from Creative Bytes. Rating: 71%
Embers of Mirrim
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  • Review Score:

  • B
There should be a name for games that have you using the two analog sticks to control two completely different characters. We first saw this mechanic pop up in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and more recently in the puzzle game Semispheres, but now it has invaded the 2D platformer market in the curiously titled Embers of Mirrim. I'm not sure this is going to be the game that makes the trend mainstream, but this is a charming adventure set in a gorgeous world full of magic and danger.

You take control of not one, but two griffin-like creatures that are forced to work together to save their world from an alien threat. It's clear from the start that the white and black creatures don't get a long, but have no other choice but to literally come together as a team to defeat a power corrupting the once-peaceful land. This sends them on a wordless adventure through forests, down the river and into the dark caves.


With a name like Embers of Mirrim, I'll confess that I had no idea what I was getting myself into. This could very easily have been anything from a puzzle game to a role-playing game, or about a dozen other genres in between. As it turns out, this is very much a 2D platformer built around the idea that you are controlling two different characters at the same time. We run and jump as one creature, but then transform into floating embers by holding the trigger buttons and moving them around independently with the two analog sticks.

The trick is that you can only float around as an ember for a limited time before the two characters come back together to form a single creature. You can increase your time as an ember by picking up color-specific items in the air or staying in specifically designated netting where time essentially stands still. This is pretty easy to navigate at the start, but boy does it ramp up the difficulty in a hurry. A lot of the challenge comes from doing everything you can to stay afloat long enough to not fall into a bottomless pit.

While this may sound somewhat limiting, I was genuinely surprised by how many clever puzzles the developers managed to come up with. The game is split into five lengthy sections, each upping the ante with harder obstacles and new enemies. This can be as simple as trying to make it through moving energy orbs to trying to keep up with logs going over a massive waterfall. There are alien creatures that will suck in little bugs and blow them out to destroy vines and other roadblocks. Oh, and don't forget about the multiple bosses, some of which will literally fly through the stage with you on their back. Every time I thought they had run out of ideas, the developer proved me wrong with something bigger and crazier.

Embers of Mirrim (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The real star here is the fantasy world they've constructed. The backgrounds are gorgeous, often to the point where I wanted to slow down and take in the scenery. There are a few rough spots here and there, but that never gets in the way of the attention to detail and it always feels like this is a real lived-in world we're traveling through. This is from a first-time developer named Creative Bytes, and I often had a hard time believing that Embers of Mirrim came from such a small team. It's ambitious, but never so much that it bites off more than it can chew. If this is what they can do with their debut game, then I'm excited to see what's next.

When it comes right down to it, your level of interest will depend entirely on the dual-stick gameplay. If you have a hard time controlling two characters at the same time, then this game definitely won't be for you. I struggled through some of the sections because my brain isn't good at processing the mechanics, but I stuck with some of the more frustrating bits and persevered. The result was a challenging, but satisfying platformer with a lot of clever puzzles to work through. It ultimately forces you to think about two things at the same time, which can be both a good and bad thing.

Embers of Mirrim is a perfect example of a developer taking a simple concept and making the most of it. The idea of controlling two separate characters at the same time may not be completely original, but the world they've built and the puzzles spread throughout keep this adventure fresh. It can be difficult to the point of maddening at times, but is also rewarding and full of beautiful backgrounds. This is a charming and riveting debut from Creative Bytes.
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