Escape From Tethys
Switch version tested
Review code provided
In a few short screens, the story is laid out that the government has failed us (a bit on the nose) and two scientific corporations are battling for control over society. Our protagonist is in charge of the weaponry project and is tasked with motivating others to move along faster with theirs. The main screen shows an overview of a planet with stars above and the title Escape From Tethys.
The background music is simple but not really catchy. I left it on for a bit and did not enjoy it particularly. Each time the game is booted up for whatever reason it asks to pair your controller even if it was already paired prior. The game does not save automatically. Three save files are available and the game has the option of normal or easy difficulty. Once I chose a difficulty option I thought the game froze but it simply brought up a loading bar that did not load for about 10 seconds.
A 2D platformer with bit style
Once the game begins we are greeted with a 2D platformer with bit style graphics. It reminds me of Pixel Gladiator, while the spacesuit and science vibe reminds my Wife of Among Us. Straight away we have 30 health, unlimited ammo and the need to evacuate. Controls are not as responsive as I would like to see in a platformer. It feels like the jump button must be hard-pressed and the player must commit to that action as opposed to being able to jump about quickly and freely. There’s a slight lag when moving the character from left to right.
I’m not a fan of the sound effects especially when damage has been taken. That sound makes me cringe. Shots aren’t particularly satisfying and the sound effect is wimpy. Bullets have a short distance they travel prior to dissipating. Saving the game has a lovely sound but enemy explosions are alarming and had a higher volume than others it seemed.
Story-wise, there is not a lot to chew on but that’s okay because generally hopping into a 2D platformer it’s more about enjoying the gameplay. Data logs can be found throughout the game explaining the story further and those have been interesting. It’s fun to read opinions from the perspective of the protagonists’ team, while learning about enemies and the environment.
The first BOSS BATTLE was quick!
I spammed the shot button and the game is on easy mode. I’m glad it started on easy because I really just don’t like the responsiveness of the controls. Boss movements and attacks were difficult to avoid but I feel that improved controls would take care of this. After that boss the first enemy I encountered resembled the squid from Mario and I loved that!
Environments change in a nice way from the starting ship to the brightly colored outdoor areas, to the underground environment with lava that caused my first death in the darkness. A creeping enemy was sniping me from afar while I fell into the lava and kept getting clipped by the claws of a crab. This prompted my search to find a save point so I don’t have to keep fighting that boss over and over again.
Generally the combat is simply lacklustre mostly due to the controls. I’m not enjoying any of the battles because it just seems like I am going to inevitably take damage before moving on. Escape From Tethys is a Metroid style game so the back and forth is present but a map is available. Again, the controls really damper traversing the map because it’s a chore to try and avoid damage during combat all while simply trying to go where I’ve gone before.
When the game first started it had a long loading screen that I thought froze. After that, I figured it was simply a longer loading screen and the game did not in fact freeze but it happened later during gameplay. I jumped from one platform to the next and the game froze then I appeared on a lower platform. I’m not sure if that says it’s a framerate issue or a bug but something is wrong.
I don’t mean to sound like a massive bummer in this review, but it feels like this game is not finished. Generally I enjoy the look of the game but the sound, controls, and combat are awful. The downside of the controls spills over to other areas of Escape From Tethys which massively brings down the enjoyment level of the overall experience.
Platform: PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 12/08/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Platformer, Adventure
Publisher: Sometimes You
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop