It’s hard to believe there’s any originality left in puzzle platforming. It’s up there with tennis in the “oldest genres” category and the (relative) ease of putting one together has made it a good starting point for indie devs. And yet we’re entering the pre-dinner snack period of 2013 and I’m still getting surprised. Ethan: Meteor Hunter is one such pleasantry. It’s not so much that the time-stopping and telekinesis powers on show are wholly new, but their unusual interactions are refreshing. I’ve played an early alpha demo and there’s a more recent trailer once you get this giant, oddly placed brick out of the way.
Like all the greats, Ethan’s strength is the slow ramping up in the complexity of its challenges. Bending a player’s mind around the new abilities at their command is a delicate process, and the tutorial I played did a good job of slowly introducing elements. The best of these is the concept of not simply pausing whenever and moving things around, but setting up Ethan’s position before hand. This may be mid-jump or already standing on a movable object, but is generally vital to finding a solution. However, even in this early, short demo there were multiple paths to goals. With the number of variables available, it’s inevitable and the physics engine handles so smoothly they’re a joy to find.
Interested? Have a gander at the Greenlight page or check out the alpha demo and official site linked above.