Overall - 80%
Seek Etyliv’s minimalistic stylings work greatly in the game’s favor. Boiling everything down to a 3x3 grid does not take away from the challenge, and the aesthetics will keep you playing until every foe is vanquished and every puzzle is solved.
Puzzles and dungeon crawlers are distilled into a 3×3 grid with the release of Rokas’ Seek Etyliv. With a minimalistic aesthetic and a flowery prose, does this title prove to be a worthy challenge?
Seek Etyliv Review
The world of Seek Etyliv is a unique one, in that it encompasses only nine squares. As a thief tossed into the Prison of Thieves Karanos, the ultimate goal is to figure out the meaning the last words you heard – “Seek Etyliv.” Told between puzzles, the story of the game is told in rhymes and is somewhat cryptic. Players will learn about the Sorceress of Hope Etyliv, the nymph Flora, mutant beasts, and more throughout two different acts, and though it does not always make sense, it creates an excellent atmosphere that forms a dire aesthetic. The color palette, though minimalistic, also manages to stand out quite well.
When it comes to the meat of the game, the ultimate goal is to either reach the stairs or take all enemies out. This is easier said than done though, as one false move can cause you to lose everything. A number of skeleton creatures stand in your way, ones that can bump you around, use swords, and knock you off cliffs.
The key to victory is to carefully plan out your moves – every move you do is one the enemy hordes does as well, and there are ways to tricking foes into falling asleep, losing their mind (literally), or knocking you into an advantageous spot. The game never tells you what to do outright; rather, it is through trial and error that players will learn how to come out ahead. Some may not like this, but it is a breath of fresh air in this day and age. Each level can be completed fairly quickly, but figuring out how to do things is what makes things so entertaining.
There are a number of variables throughout each playthrough as well. Tombstones can be used as a makeshift shield, while swords can quickly take down foes. Later on, players can also jump a space with the wings power-up, but that too changes the way puzzles are approached. These elements do not overstay their welcome throughout the two hours it takes to complete the story mode. Sadly, there is usually only one solution to many of Seek Etyliv’s puzzles, but the initial runthrough is definitely worthwhile.
Seek Etyliv’s minimalistic stylings work greatly in the game’s favor. Boiling everything down to a 3×3 grid does not take away from the challenge, and the aesthetics will keep you playing until every foe is vanquished and every puzzle is solved.
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