Ethan Meteor Hunter | Review Troy Hallin December 18, 2013 Platform: PC Developer: Seaven Studio Publisher: Seaven Studio Rating: E Review code provided by Seaven Studio Are you looking for another puzzle game to wet your appetite as we approach this holiday season? How about a game where you hunt meteors? About a month ago I created a first look video for Ethan Meteor Hunter and had fun doing so at the time, even now that I finally got around to reviewing it, that excitement has not gone away. I would like to say that Ethan Meteor Hunter is all about collecting meteors, and with a name like that you would certainly want to believe that, but the game at its core is a very deep and engaging puzzle experience. Ethan Meteor Hunter is set up as a traditional platformer puzzle game, but what makes it unique is the ability to freeze time in order to grab and manipulate objects in the environment to help you solve puzzles. Need to get to a higher ledge? Simply jump up and then freeze the screen before grabbing a block and placing it underneath you. You can even rotate blocks to fit them together more snuggly. At first this comes in the form of simple running up to a puzzle, pausing, and solving the puzzle before moving on. However as you get deeper into the game this gets more frantic even with the whole game pausing. I myself came to sections of the game that would require me to jump and stack blocks before unpausing and immediately jumping again in order to slowly progress up a shaft filled with spinning death blades…and that’s just in the first world. The game has three main worlds set up with each stage of each world getting more and more difficult, but more and more fun. The games graphics are cartoony but in all the right way. The in game graphics are smooth and help the aesthetic of the game. At some times it can feel overly simplified, but the gameplay more than compensates for whatever lack luster graphics there may be. My only real gripe graphics wise, ties in to the story. There isn’t much of a story, at least in the beginning. We get an animated intro sequence that explains the set up of the story without any dialogue. What this translates to is a story about our protagonist having a feud with a neighbor of his. Through the power of a meteor that just landed he finds himself able to freeze time and manipulate blocks using a sort of telekinesis. He then peers off into the distance at another glowing meteor and sets off on his journey. There is no real initial motivation story wise, other than the hunt to gather meteors (which ties in to the game name nicely) and the graphics are a little shoddy here, but like I said before, the main reason you will play this game (and keep coming back) is the gameplay. Speaking of coming back, the replay value on this game is actually quite nice. You can play through the entire game normally, but the game allows you to go back and replay previous levels whenever you would like. Additionally the game has incentives for different gameplay such as a level timer to urge you to complete a level faster, and a bonus for using less “freeze time” abilities as well as collecting the meteors scattered through the level. I went back and played through a few levels to try and get better scores and found myself manipulating blocks in ways that I had previously overlooked, which made for a really enjoyable second playthrough. The sound in this game is subtle enough to be invisible when you aren’t thinking about it, but really gives you a good emotional feeling when you are playing. When the game gets into a tense sequence of you running while blades are chasing you, you can feel that in the music. Additionally, when you use your “pause” ability, the sound changes to feel like the world around you is really frozen in time. All in all, this game is really worth picking up, especially if you are looking for a new puzzle experience this holiday season. The game is on the PC, but supports an external controller to play (which I would recommend over the PC controls anyway). It is a fun game to pass the time with and you will definitely get your moneys worth and then some with this title. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick this game up at all though, as I had a great time with it despite some lack luster story and visuals. The gameplay and replayability is the real reason to play this game and its totally worth it.