Posts Tagged ‘Elixir: The League of Immortality review’

Mobile Game Review: Elixir: The League of Immortality

elixir-logoPublished By: g5 Games
Available On: iOS
Reviewed on: iPad
Genre: Puzzle/Adventure
Released: Dec. 5, 2013

Like other games from g5, Elixir is the iPad equivalent of a point-and-click adventure game. The basic game mechanics involve navigating and investigating a series of static scenes. Along the way, you must solve puzzles and overcome obstacles in order to make progress. From a technical standpoint this type of game is relatively simple, which makes it a popular choice for smaller studios. It also lends itself to more of a literary experience, with reliance on story and characters over action and competition.

That doesn’t mean that good presentation isn’t important, though, and for what it is Elixir stands out as a wonderful example of presentation done right. Right off the bat the game shows much better animation and video than its g5 peers, but honestly I can forgive a game with unimpressive graphics if the game works its mechanics well. Luckily Elixir doesn’t stop at pretty graphics and really explores the possibilities of the genre. One simple example (slight spoilers) is when a demon appears across the room and you have to pull your gun from your inventory to activate a shooting animation. It’s a small effect, but the moment of interactivity that breaks the norm definitely stands out in a good way, and it is only one of multiple instances of its kind.

elixir-2The best part is that there is actually a story. Far too many of these games just string together puzzles with the thinnest links that happen to be available. There’s less of a plot and more a collection of imagery that is more or less thematically related. Elixir, by contrast, has clear characters, a definite conflict, and a sensible path to the resolution. A big part of what makes this work is unfortunately part of what will inevitably turn some people off: The game uses are considerable amount of notes and journals and other forms of written clues scattered throughout the world. Sure, an occasional puzzle may be kind of silly – who seriously files their documents and labels them by icons of different activities that they do at different times of day? – but overall the game tells an admirably sensible story.

The only complaint I have that is big enough to warrant mentioning is the overabundance of I-Spy style hidden object minigames. All g5 games include these, and a few per game is fine. But Elixir throws them at you constantly. It wouldn’t be as bad except for the fact that the other puzzles are so good by comparison. It is a sizeable shift in mental gears to go from logical puzzle games to a screen with a list of items on the bottom, 1/3rd of which can be eliminated right away by just tapping randomly on the screen. Maybe the developers believed the lie that this is a “Hidden Objects” game, as it is labeled in the app store. But the truth is that the game is a point-and-click mystery game, and as long as it treats itself as such it does splendidly.

elixir-3Gameplay: 9/10
The trick with point-and-click adventure games is that in a functional sense the ‘gameplay’ is rather limited. Instead, the decisions made by the designers within those limitations become the real selling point. With that in mind, Elixir does it right. They have a clear, direct story with characters and motives and plot developments. They are all a bit clunky, to be fair, but considering the format they were being presented in I have seen much worse. Plus the puzzles are a great balance between too easy and too hard.

Graphics: 9.5/10
I’ve seen a number of these g5 games now, both the regular and the HD flavors. The graphics are never awe-inspiring, but they usually get the job done. Elixir’s graphics are in a similar class, but it’s the valedictorian of that class. The game uses more animation than its peers, and the animations are all much better looking too.

elixir-4Sound: 7/10
Like other games in this line, the sound in the game is pretty much irrelevant. The game has music and sound effects of course, but it’s more that they fill the obvious void that would be there without them than anything else. When the sound effects do come up they’re generally satisfying enough, but that is offset by the music being a bit on the monotonous and repetitive side.

Overall: 9/10
More games of this genre should be taking notes from Elixir. The game tells a good story the way the genre was meant to, and it does so with quality graphics and great puzzles. If you’re into the genre then this is a great choice.

You can view a trailer for this game below:

Review code for this game provided by G5 Entertainment.

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