The route to a successful indie platformer these days is to come up with a unique gimmick, or a unique twist on an old gimmick, and do an incredibly good job of applying it to your world. Sundae Factory’s Ecotone is a touch braver than that. It’s taking every platforming gimmick, and using one per level. And from the demo version that’s playable on their site, they’re doing a damned good job of it.
I’m a sucker for a beautifully presented platformer, and there’s no question that Ecotone fulfils that criteria. The cartoon graphics evoke just enough 2D Boy, just enough Windosill, with a lovely macabre twist. But on top of that, the ever-changing nature of how you play is what really hooked me in. At first I was intrigued by a game that had no jump button – just removing that mechanic had a significant effect on how the whole idea is approached. But then when one is introduced a couple of levels in, now you’re dealing with an incoming wind that changes how you can move around. Then another character arrives, and you control both at once – you’re having to negotiate two separate areas of platforms with intricately tricky jumps to keep both alive. And two levels later, that’s gone too – now it’s a race. And that’s where the demo ends. But the concept is promised to continue for another 40 or so levels.