Released (on Steam): 25 Oct, 2018
Genres: Action, Indie
Developer: Radin Games, Flynn's Arcade
Publisher: Zerouno Games
Steam Price: £5.79
Eternum Ex is a retro platform video game with the look and feel of the ’80s arcade cabinet games. Titles that have inspired and most influenced its creation are: Bomb Jack (Tehkan, 1984), Ghosts’n Goblins (Capcom, 1985), Baluba-louk no Densetsu (Able, 1986) and Psychic 5 (Jaleco, 1987).
Completion: Reached level 15 of 25 and found secrets on 14 levels.
Playtime at Review: 5.4 hours
Achievements at Review: 29/55 (53%)
My rating: 7.0/10
Two modes - One with limited credits but saves, the other with infinite credits but no saves.
Simple yet challenging, albeit infuriating at times.
Hidden secrets on each level.
Definite retro arcade feel.
Arcade style, three character leaderboard.
Not for someone wanting a quick or easy playthrough. At least not if you're as bad as me!
Eternum EX is platformer that claims to have that retro look and feel of old arcade games, and quite frankly, I agree with those claims. Eternum EX brings together the music, graphics, gameplay, and downright frustrating experience that is so memorable from the old classics! I was never any good at the arcades, and I’m no good at this! That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy or appreciate the game though!
Upon starting the game you’re greeted with some scrolling text with the introductory story. The reason behind the levels you’re about to go insane trying to beat, death after death. Following that, the entrance menu for the game. There you see an animation of an elderly Arthur collecting chests and picking up items from them. That’s shortly followed by a key/legend detailing each item. Beneath that, “Press fire to start”, and you’re in! Game on! Well, not quite. Next you choose between “Home Mode”, which saves you progress after each world (every 5 levels), but limits you to 3 credits, or “Arcade Mode”, where no progress is saved, but you have unlimited credits. Beneath this still, “Press fire to start”! All that’s left is to select your world (only one option in Arcade mode and until you progress in Home Mode). “Press fire to start” one last time! Now game on! For real this time!
The aim of the game is to collect all the chests to open the portal and progress to the next level before the time runs out. Hitting the chest from underneath a couple of times before collecting will generally spawn a random item. These could be extra lives, magical powers that open all chests close to you, flaming balls of fury, extra points to boost your score, teleports, or a few other useful items. While the first couple of maps have only one enemy type with basic movements, this soon changes as you progress, making each level more chaotic and challenging than the other. Even the controls and responsiveness of them gave me that raging kick of nostalgia. By that I mean I could occasionally swear that I had clicked jump on time, but instead fall onto a monster, just like I remember from my childhood!
Every fifth level is a boss level. Here you have to climb a tower, killing and avoiding enemies to keep as many lives as possible for the boss battle upon reaching the top! There just so happens to be tempting items along the way too, which often resulted in me getting killed by enemies. I’ve come across 3 bosses so far, and each one has been completely different to each other, requiring different tactics to defeat. I already said I’m no good at this game, which is probably why I’ve only managed to reach the third boss so far (level 15). I’ve not managed to beat it yet. One day, maybe!
Oh, each level also hides a secret! I’m not going to ruin this for anyone by going into detail! Let’s just say it took me some time to figure out what the secrets were! I’d love to say I knew exactly what I was doing, but the first time was a complete coincidence and discovered simply through panic! So far I’ve managed to find the first 14 secrets, but I’ll no doubt be trying for the next ones shortly, after a little more sweat and tears getting through the levels (I really do suck at this).
While not my typical game of choice, Eternum EX is a truly refreshing, and somewhat infuriating retro platformer! While you may consider 25 levels short, if you suck as much as I do, you’ll find it more than enough! It’s not something I can play for hours on end, but it’s something I’ll enjoy every now and then for half an hour or so. I need to beat the rest of the game and find those secrets after all!
Posted on 18-07-2020