Eryi’s Action is a 2D ‘trapformer’ by developer Xtal Sword that is visually inspired by Super Mario, but has gameplay akin to games like I Wanna Be the Guy. Don’t be fooled by its adorably charming looks – this game abounds in traps and wants you to die! However, where IWBTG was murderously difficult, Eryi’s Action is additively challenging and FUN!
Eryi’s Action: What We Think
Eryi’s Action is a new kind of platformer; an example of a growing sub-genre known as trapformers. Mercilessly cruel in their level design, trapformers have the potential to enrage gamers, and, if handled poorly, can be obtuse and repulse potential players. On the other hand, they can be compulsive, addictive, fun and tremendously challenging. So where does Eryi’s Action sit between these two extremes?
Home is Where the Heart is Extracted
I began playing Eryi’s Action before I read any descriptions of its gameplay and so when I encountered the quaint visuals I expected to be playing a light-hearted platformer. The game soon quelled my naïveté when it murdered my character with an out-of-the-blue trap placed in the apparent safety of her house (the first room in the game). I will not spoil it by giving details, but it is sufficient to say that this moment serves as a signpost of what is to come; it is both unfair and amusing, the second factor more than making up for the first.
Eryi’s Action takes everything you expect about a side-scrolling platformer and skews it in such a way as to take you by surprise. That bridge across a pit of spikes isn’t as stable as it seems, that difficult to reach collectible isn’t just sat there – it’s guarded by a hidden danger, and that piece of background scenery isn’t as harmless as it looks. All the things you take for granted in a platformer have been taken and reshaped into something unfairly dangerous and, usually, hilarious.
Saying “It’s a Trap” Is a Trap
Traps are everywhere and they are both deeply unjust and well-hidden. The old video game notion that a good platformer should only punish a player for legitimate mistakes doesn’t apply here. Every step you take risks another sudden demise and you’ll find yourself retrying countless times. You start with two lives; this is another coy joke from the developers as you’ll soon have around -200. There is no bottom limit and you have an infinite number of tries to work your way through the cruel hurdles that the game puts up.
The key to Eryi’s Action is that almost every time you die you’ll find yourself laughing at how the game managed to trick you and end poor Eryi’s life this time. Replacing the sense of fairness you’ll find in other platformers with a perverse sense of humour, Eryi’s Action manages to keep you hooked through its addictive twist on platforming gameplay and its seemingly endless arsenal of hilarious ways to kill you. Some may find this gameplay unintuitive or simply frustrating, but Eryi’s Action does a good job of offsetting this with its charming aesthetic and amusing tone.
Death by Earworm
Visually Eryi’s Action is simple but attractive and its endearing visuals provide a disarming atmosphere that contrasts with the harsh gameplay. The music is similarly sweet and there is something about the repetitive ditty that starts up everytime you restart a level as if to say “here we go again.” Altogether, the design and music of Eryi’s Action serve to ensure that the game has a fun and light-hearted tone despite the cruelty of its level design.
The sadistic nature of Eryi’s Action may put off some players, but the game does a good job of welcoming you into its strange and harsh platforming world. Once you’re engaged with the gameplay, you’ll find this game hard to put down; the “just one more try” effect is at work here and – despite the endless dying – Eryi’s world is a pleasant one to work your way through.
Intermittent bosses keep things interesting, and there is a decent amount of content here (including an Ex Mode which reduces your lives from infinite to just 30). If you don’t mind embracing your inner masochist and if you enjoy challenging platformers, then Eryi’s Action is definitely worth your time.
Watch the official trailer for Eryi’s Action: