Also On: PC
Publisher: Seaven Studio
Developer: Seaven Studio
I hate Ethan: Meteor Hunter so, so much. I loathe it. I despise it with the passion of a thousand burning suns. I wish it had gotten a physical release rather than a digital one, just so I could eject it from my PS3, crack it in half, and then throw it under the wheels of a tractor trailer.
Oh, and I should probably also mention this: I suck at it. More than you could possibly believe. These two things are almost certainly related.
See, at its core, Ethan: Meteor Hunter is one of those games that almost seems to take pleasure in how hard it is. It’s a platformer that just keeps piling up the difficulties and obstacles, and killing you over and over again, and expects you to take it all and come back for more.
In other words, my reaction of extreme hatred is probably exactly what Seaven Studio were aiming for. Because as hard as I found it, as frustrating as I found it, I kept trying. I kept dying (again and again [and again and again and again]), but there was still something in the game that made me keep going back to it. It undoubtedly helped that each level had goals for time to finish, collectibles and number of times you used the pause/telekinesis function, which were a) great motivators in terms of replaying levels, and b) wildly optimistic, to the point that I’m positive they must be lying. My favourite one was the level that took me over half an hour to figure out, which, apparently, could be done in under three minutes.
What’s truly crazy, though, is that it doesn’t look like it should be that kind of game, at least at first. It’s got an adorable little mouse as the main character. It’s got a story that (as the game’s title implies) is about said mouse searching for meteor fragments. It starts off nice and slowly, with a couple of levels that consist of a couple of easy jumps, and maybe some slight puzzle-solving. Nothing too strenuous. Lots of respawn points that deposit you to just a little before the place where you died. Initially, I was worried that the game would be too easy, and that I’d lose interest in it.
And then the whirring buzzsaws and vats of acid start showing up, and it all goes straight to hell.
The best way I can describe Ethan: Meteor Hunter is that the game is what it would look like if you turned on the lights in Limbo. If you saw, in moderately gory detail, what happened every time you got sliced into bits. I mean, there’s not quite the same level of variety of deaths (at least, I don’t remember there being any giant spiders or anything), but that’s about the only difference.
Well, that and the fact Ethan: Meteor Hunter doesn’t look anywhere near as nice. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call it an ugly game, necessarily, I will say that it looks very basic, and the backgrounds all start to look awfully same-y after awhile.
Really, though, the game’s looks are secondary to its chief purpose — which, essentially, is to kill you repeatedly and then dare you to keep trying. I won’t say that the game didn’t defeat me, because it very clearly and obviously did, but I can guarantee that if you’re looking for one of those absurdly hard games to fill your time until Dark Souls 2 comes out next year, this might be a good option.