In the world of Emerald Shores you play as Alex who is summoned by King Jeff to his castle. The King needs you to travel across the lands to the floating island in the sky and help the Grabbits defend their home. Clearly you have to accept the Kings request and leave immediately for Emerald Shores. You fight your way across the 2-D platformer as you traverse levels similar to most side scrolling adventures. The map of the world follows the same pattern that Super Mario Bros. 3 gave us all those years ago on Nintendo. You won’t find anything special looking with the map except for maybe the big flying Devil that you can run across. He plays like a boss fight and in my opinion was the best fight of the game.
All the areas are broken down into levels like 1-2 or 2-3 and so on as you progress across the map. There are castle levels and like I said, there are boss fights. The levels do not vary across the game all that much but do pose different challenges along the way. Most of the enemies you can jump on top of them to defeat them but be careful because the hit box is really weird. I found myself dying many times just because I couldn’t figure out how a certain part of an enemy was hitting me and yes I admit I kept trying because I wanted to know how. Alex is also loose in his controls and it doesn’t feel as responsive as you would like when you make that difficult jump. It doesn’t make the game crazy difficult but certainly will cause a few death falls that you otherwise would have made.
I did enjoy the way the levels appeared with some having nice vibrant colors and others with a little darker tone. It mixed it up some in a game that doesn’t offer much in terms of variety. There are hidden areas to find that will get you to side levels or mini games but honestly you could bypass it all if you wanted to just beat the game. There are levels where you can race in a in a sleigh or another one where you can be a creature that throws bombs to move obstacles out of Alex’s way. Having more of these types of levels might have helped in the variety department but they come and go just as quickly as the game.
The game tries to give you a slight RPG feel as you can level Alex up by defeating the enemies in a level. Each enemy you defeat gives you experience points and once you level up Alex will get more overall HP and hit damage. I didn’t find this useful in the game and it made it seem like an added addition to force you into exploring each level to its fullest. Of course you can go back and play the level over again but guess what? You do not earn experience points once the level has been completed. I didn’t like this at all. Maybe don’t do it for the earlier levels but it could have been useful later in the game.
The few boss fights you get in the game were actually fun even though their high HP and annoying hit box made it a tad cumbersome, I still enjoyed them. Like many of the old boss fights once you learn their pattern though it is fairly easy. I do wish there would have been a couple more boss fights and maybe a few more races in the game just to make it feel whole.
I enjoyed Emerald Shores for what it is, a 2-D platformer that tries to help you reminisce of the old games. It does this on a small scale though and at some points bland scale. The lack of variety in the game coupled with the short playtime just doesn’t make it that memorable of a game. With that said I somehow still liked my play through. The levels gave me just enough challenge and the boss fights were pretty cool. If the controls could be tweaked and maybe a few extra boss fights added this would have felt like much more of a whole game. You might have fun playing and beating this in an hour especially if you have kids just to see their humorous faces when something doesn’t work correctly. However, I don’t think it will leave a lasting impression on you.
Rating 6.5 out 10