Here’s a chilled out, whimsical puzzle platformer with a ravishing look, easy charm, and proper belting approach to relaxation.
It’s the type of game that won’t overly tax you, but will appeal to anyone looking for a more sedate gaming experience than, say, DOOM Eternal.
Elli (the indie game)
From Swedish developer BandanaKid Games in Stockholm, Elli launched in July 2020 and has been something of an obscure title.
There are so many indie games coming out daily it’s difficult to keep track of them all. And Elli appears to have been swamped by other releases.
However, we picked it up on discount for the Nintendo Switch (it’s also on Steam at a super cheap price of £2) and we can very much recommend it!
Elli is a pseudo-isometric 3D puzzler with a Wind Waker cell shaded type of look about things.
It also has a RiME (2017) look and feel, where you’re on a beautiful and isolated island romping around adorably.
Elli is a cute and relaxing game, make no mistake!
It’s not here to challenge the “true gamer” brigade who want to have a flame war about which version has the best graphics.
It’s a whimsical tale about the eponymous Elli enjoying her 600th birthday party. She’s having a delightful time of it, that is until the nefarious Ghastli turns up and steals a load of her blue crystals! What a cow!
Elli must then head out into the world of Mandragora to solve puzzles, collect the Crystals of Time, and advance towards restoring equilibrium (i.e. get back to the par-tay!!!).
The Zelda influences are clear with this one and it’s not on the scale of one of Nintendo’s enduring masterpieces.
But it is a great title to unwind with, as the puzzles are simplistic and have a nice flow to them. As the game is so gosh darned pretty that made us swoon and enjoy it all the more.
Plus, there’s a rather melodious soundtrack booping along behind the scenes to keep you grinning inanely.
This was by Will Savino in Enfield, New Hampshire, US.
Due to its cheap price, we didn’t find much to complain about here.
However, the critical response wasn’t glowing. Nintendo Life handed over 6/10 and had a lot to whine about. We think it was a bit of a harsh review.
You could say the game is more suitable for children, but as adults (*giggle snort guffaw*) we enjoyed the chilled out pace away from more frenzied gaming experiences.
In fact, the game’s press release even has this little gem:
“Simple pick up and play controls, suitable for kids and big kids.”
And that was part of the appeal for us with this title. The imagination and ability to reach such a wide audience—young and old alike.
Heck, we’ve been playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe a lot this year. And, boy, is its brutality an emotional drain at times!
This is what grown ups do, you see. Play ludicrous go-kart racing games and then disappear into a world such as Elli to unwind.
All very wholesome and enjoyable. We were happy to forgive the title’s flaws to immerse ourselves into a sweet and simple experience.
A Nod to Elli’s Soundtrack
Wrapping up this review, just another nod to Will Savino and his cute soundtrack.
There are some cool little numbers to go with the game, which merge and adapt to what you’re doing whilst you’re playing as Elli.
Again, this is another example of why indie games have been great for so many composers out there.
They’ve provided musicians with a chance to show what they’ve capable of.
And Elli is another example of why video game music has such potential to try so many creative avenues.