Switch version tested
Review code provided
EQQO makes it’s debut on Nintendo Switch this month from development studio Parallel Studio and published by Nakana.io. EQQO is a unique and heartfelt tale that follows the narrative of mother, her blind child and a mysterious egg. Gameplay combines a story-driven plot with puzzle mechanics. Through playing this five-hour adventure the developer aims to implement their vision of hope, love and the very lifeforce that connects us all.
Originally released as a mobile and VR title last year the jump to Switch seems like a good fit thanks to the touchscreen and gyroscope options. EQQO takes inspiration from Ethiopian mythology, a subject rarely seen in the video game format, offering an insight into a different culture. A serpent god who lays a lost egg and a young boy who takes it upon himself to finish the journey started. The premise is interesting and surprisingly deep with a number of undertones that run through it’s core.
Gameplay stays true to its roots, you move the camera around in a bid to guide the boy and egg towards the end goal while avoiding hazards. Movement is invoked by a pointer style system. Each of the five chapters is broken into short segments containing their own challenges and slew of simple puzzles. Drag, uncover and spin the environment and obstacles to unlock previously restricted portions. Finding it hard to advance, simply look for a new point of view and take a second look. Enemies that want to steal the egg give a sense of urgency in later levels and the Bell Ringer is a creature of nightmares to avoid. The gyroscope became a little cumbersome for my liking but thankfully you can turn it off and use the touchscreen with a combination of the analogue sticks to explore.
Viewpoints scattered throughout, once located, can quickly be switched using the triggers or zoomed in with a quick pinch. Although the controls work well the biggest gripe with EQQO is that you can quickly lose your bearings and end up having to start again as boy and egg meet an untimely end. Each of the chapters is short so this never really became much of an issue. EQQO is reminiscent of the GO offerings that both Lara Croft and Agent 47 ventured into thanks to Square.
Visually the game is stunning, simple and clean with its expertly stylised aesthetic. Throughout playtime, everything intertwines and you find yourself truly engrossed in the world being crafted which is a testimonial to the developers. The quality of the story is what really draws you into the game, making it hard to put down as the minor niggles are forgotten. Audio is the icing on the cake, the voice-over work which narrates is gripping and emotional. The subtle backing tracks and effects blend seamlessly bringing this into one cohesive experience. The team behind this project have set a high bar, even at a budget price, I can see this being the type of game you revisit every once in a while just to remind yourself of the beautiful story.
EQQO is a great experience in storytelling for people looking for a different flavour, which sadly may not appeal to the masses. What the developers have achieved can be likened to the best of Disney and Ghibli whereby you are transported into the world created. It excels at making you feel emotion towards the characters, even though one is an egg. You become invested in ensuring its safe transport and finding out what happens next. Think of this as an experience, blending art and storytelling with simple gameplay seamlessly into one cohesive package that comes highly recommended.
TBG Score: 9/10
Platform: PC, Mobile, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 07/02/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Education, Other, Puzzle
Publisher: Parallel Studio
Download link: eShop