[su_highlight background=”#3b88ff” color=”#ffffff”]Platforms: PC, Steam | Developer: GameArt Studio GmbH | Publisher: GameArt Studio GmbH | ESRB: Unrated | Controls: Keyboard/Controller[/su_highlight]
Designing an endless runner game can be difficult. That is, designing one that is unique and memorable enough to stand out from the crowd. Fermi’s Path is GameArt Studio’s attempt at the genre, where you guide a tiny particle (the eponymous ‘Fermi’) across an abstract environment.
As expected of an endless runner, Fermi moves onward at a constant pace; you have no control over going forward nor your speed – outside of a few power ups. Although most of these are generally easily identifiable (the starting levels tell you that the green light boosts your momentum and the up arrow power ups are simple enough to figure out), others are a little more cryptic. It did end up taking me probably longer than it should to realise that the black spheres teleport you to a bonus level, instead of being something to avoid. Dark orbs do, after all, tend to be negative rather than positive.
The unique gimmick of Fermi’s Path is its rotary track; the other feature (the gun) being only effective against sentient enemies that shoot at you – so sadly remains mostly ignored. Obstacles and powerups may appear on any of the four sides; you’re encouraged by the later levels to switch sides due to the amount of obstacles that are in the way, preventing you from jumping over them. Essentially it’s the same as having multiple lanes to switch to, the only difference being the aesthetic.
While this initially doesn’t seem to be too impressive, having a rotating camera actually does end up adding towards the gameplay. Not only does the moving camera increase the probability of motion sickness (especially if you’re prone to it) but the path in which you travel across blocks the view of any objects below. Where the rotating path really shines however is in stringing combos with powerups, since they do not cancel upon switching lane, which lets you stay in the air for a longer period of time.
In the base game of Fermi’s Path there are 20 levels, which may be replayed in an infinite mode if you want to compete with friends for a high score. If replaying the same level or achievements don’t seem appealing, Fermi’s Path has an easy to use level editor built into the game to design your own, along with integrated Steam Workshop support to download tracks made by others if you’re feeling particularly lazy or uncreative.
For the most part, Fermi’s Path seems like a promising game – although maybe edging on the simplistic side. The music tracks do feel a little hit-and-miss (I myself preferred the faster tracks) with a total of 17 that play during the levels, all of which is upbeat electro. If the music is not to your taste it can always be turned off entirely, although it does advertise the electro soundtrack as a feature so you’d be missing out. Overall Fermi’s Path plays smoothly with sufficient challenge in the main levels so, if you’re looking to test your reflexes, I’d definitely recommend taking a look at it.
Reviewed on PC. Review code provided by the developer.