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500-Word Indies

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Enyo Arcade - Windows (2015)

by Sam Derboo - December 24, 2015

Enyo Arcade is officially described as a "Parkour Shooter", but it doesn't display the high technicality and immersiveness of Mirror's Edge, nor the vigorous flow of Dustforce. Behind the buzzword hides a game with very traditional sensibilities, more in line with the 8- and 16-bit platformers of old. Its techno aesthetics almost make it appear like a lost Amiga game.

Even though it doesn't quite apply to the video game version of the "Parkour" image, the label wasn't chosen arbitrarily. The game is very much about reading space and making your way through it. The pace is quite fast, but the impeccable controls make for a really great retro feel where your skill is all that matters. The nameless heroine boasts impressive mobility - she can slide down walls like Mega Man X and turn into a ball like Samus Aran, although this doesn't come with bombs, but is a much faster way of movement and allows for longer jumps.

But just running and jumping alone won't get you safely to the end - soon enemies start attacking you relentlessly, from zombie-like (but the Dawn of the Dead remake kind, in terms of running speed) humanoids to drones chasing you from the sky and turrets. Escaping them is no small feat, but luckily you get a variety of firearms, which you can choose freely at generously placed weapon stations. There are a lot of weapons, but they all force you to make a call between fast and weak or strong with very low shot frequency. There are also a few unique trick weapons, like the sawblade gun whose projectiles bounce off walls, perfect for reaching enemies around corners, but you always have to take their weight into account when aiming. Hitting things isn't always easy, as aiming is done with the mouse - so you better choose a keyboard mapping you can use with one hand - and has a very indirect feel.

While the game does use scrolling, it is structured around mostly self-contained challenge rooms. When you die, you start right at the entrance of the current room - which will happen very often. But it's not quite as rapid a try-fail-repeat cycle as Super Meat Boy, and mastering the mechanics is much more important than learning the levels. No situation is ever so cheap that it cannot be beaten by a very skilled player on the first try.

You can zoom out at any point to show most of the room at once so you can analyze each part before you get to it, but it can be a bit difficult to make out small and inconspicuously colored enemies. The close view, on the other hand, leaves you open for some bad surprises, as often enemies will react to your presence before you can see them.

While you can approach a room slowly most of the time, speedrunning is heavily emphasized. After the game opens with a very straightforward first stage, things get a bit more open and maze-like, but it's never on a level of Metroid and rarely even Sonic the Hedgehog. A first playthrough will hardly take more than two hours, probably much less if you're used to hard platformers. It doesn't even get particularly mean until the very last room, which is a bit too long for its own good. While Enyo Arcade's platforming engine supports many cool features (rocket jumping!), it's potential for challenges isn't reached by a long shot. Some extra hard optional levels to tackle after the main game would be very welcome. If you're not into optimizing your path for each level to achieve the best times, there's just not a lot of meat to the game.

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Designer:

  • James Mearman

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Type:

  • Commercial

Enyo Arcade (Windows)

Enyo Arcade (Windows)

Enyo Arcade (Windows)




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500-Word Indies Index

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