DescriptionEmberwind is a fantasy retro platformer inspired by the 8-bit era of games. It is set in the land of Dalriada where the human Kingdom of Grendale has ruled from many years. Its people were watched over by the guardians of the earth from Elderwood: gnomes, brownies and fairies. When king Gyro is crowned, he introduces industrial inventions, putting down roads and installing street lights, and the need for protection by the earth spirits diminishes. Satisfied with the progress the king calls for a big celebration, but he disappears on that very night. The gnome Kindle is warned and decides to investigate.
Players control Kindle as he travels through the country to find out what is happening. While searching for the king, his most important goal becomes freeing the villagers from the invading gremlins. He usually has to locate about six homes per level and light the fireplace to save the villagers and push back the invaders. Levels often have multiple paths, in the clouds, running over the roofs, to sections at different heights and even under the ground. Kindle's most important weapon is a staff. Starting with a basic attack, the first stages feature skill books that open up new moves, such as the barrel roll, cannon ball and multiple combos. There is a complex pattern of movement, including double jumps, wall jumps, a dashing jump with much more height and a rocket jump to reach very high areas. Kindle can also hide for enemies and use his cover to remain almost invincible for a short time. Much of the game is spent exploring and using a quick succession of jumps to reach new or hidden areas.
Levels are filled with items such as donguri, jewels and coins. These build up a score that provides Kindle with additional life points at set intervals. Donguri can also be used at wishing well to receive a large amount of loot. Secret passages often contain chests and enemies also leave behind items. There are many different opponents and they often come in large numbers. Using the different moves they can be juggled in the air for a long time to build up combos or chain attacks, unleashing fireworks or special attacks that hurt all enemies on the screen. Next to an endless steam of gremlins, there are flying creatures, cannons and moving towers, along with other hazards.
Scattered around the level are brownies. These companions need to be located, can be swapped, and provide additional power along the regular attacks. They release magic dust that puts enemies to sleep, shoot donguri, release tornadoes, capture opponents in floating bubbles, or launch an explosive fireball. Kindle can mark checkpoints by lighting lanterns. When dying (there is an unlimited amount of continues) the game starts from there, but without the acquired brownie. Regular health can usually be refilled by saving villagers and gathering food in their houses. The rarest of items are the fairy stones with the flamesprite. They are well hidden and collecting three of these, divided over different levels, provides a melee damage attack upgrade. Kindle is always guided by three fireflies and they often reveal the location of hidden caves.
Level progress is shown on a general map screen. At any time players can return to an earlier level to pick up missed items or get a better score. Between levels Kindle is carried by his companion Wick, a giant snow owl. Wick also receives his own bonus levels. After completing a boss battle, a bonus stage opens up where Wick can fight in the skies against the army of the cloud king, much like a side-scrolling shooter.
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|Hooked Gamers||Feb 01, 2010||8 out of 10||80|
|Play.tm||Dec 16, 2009||79 out of 100||79|
|Resolution Magazine||Dec 16, 2009||7 out of 10||70|
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Related Web Sites
- Emberwind (project page on the developer's website)