CreaVures: Turn On Your Heart Light – An Indie Game Review

CreaVures: Turn On Your Heart Light – An Indie Game Review

Platforms: Steam

Game Name: CreaVures

Publisher: Muse Games

Developer: Muse Games

Genre: Puzzle, Platformer

Release Date: Feb 23rd 2011

ESRB Rating: E

Developer Summary

CreaVures is a puzzle-platformer set in a magical forest. You play as five different “Creavures,” tiny mythical creatures that each have a unique natural ability. Together your Creavures must travel deep into the dying forest, using their abilities alone or in tandem to gather essence and restore the light.

Tron's Home for Glowing Animals

What We Think

Sporting adorable creatures, a wonderfully wonky color palette, and some decent partner-dependent puzzling, Creavures makes for a charming side-scrolling platformer.

Set in a bizarre low-lit backdrop, CreaVures seems like a cartoon version of Avatar’s Pandora. The colours are mostly muted, and shadows cover most of the landscape. The flora and fauna that appear all beam out in sharp neon pinks, purples and greens, ensuring that all critters are easily spotted. The music that plays throughout is airy and distant. It fits the mood, but starts to feel repetitive after a while.

Bitey and Pokey's first boss battle. He's a big one, isn't he?

The playable animals are excellently designed and animated. Each one oozes with his or her own unique charisma. In cutscenes, they all banter back and forth without saying a word, but the player will never have to guess at what’s being inferred in the conversations. Reaching a checkpoint in-game will result in the on-screen duo to break into a little celebratory dance. Jumping, climbing and bouncing will all come into play, and there will be a need to employ the unique abilities of the other critters met on the journey.

Meet the Team

The player will start with only Bitey at the start of the game, but as levels are completed, other allies surface. There are five support characters in total, and there can be only two on screen at a time. Each critter has his own special talents, and some will be required to surpass parts of the stage. Combining the right talents will be essential to clear a stage. Fortunately, the critters that start the level can be swapped out at any checkpoint.

Bitey is a cat-like critter with powerful jaws and a long, strong tail. He is fairly quick on his feet, and is able to jump fairly well. By using his powerful maw to clamp on to giant seeds in the forest, he can hang down his tail as a makeshift swinging vine for his partner.

Pokey is a surly, slow-moving porcupine. He is able to fire out his spines as a means of threatening nearby enemies. He is also strong enough to drive spines into walls with his hands, thus creating a climbing surface that anyone can use.

Zappy is a speedy lizard-like creature. He can travel well even in swamp-like murk that can slow down the rest of the party. Using the glowing orb that dangles from the single antenna on his forehead, he can unleash an electric charge. This will neutralize enemies, but can also charge up the electric fungi that some stages hold, causing the area nearby to light up. Be careful not to unload the blast in the water or around reflective surfaces. It would be bad…

Rolly seems to be part armadillo and part potato bug. She can retract into her tough outer armor, allowing her to roll over enemies and dangerous terrain. It comes at a cost, though, as she moves even slower than Pokey.

Glidey is a musical little bat. He’s the tiniest of the crew, and has no offensive moves. What he lacks in lumps he makes up for in mobility. Glidey can perch on the shoulders of any other team mate and glide across the screen, carrying his partner in tow.

Bitey is really good at chomping on nuts. Oh, behave...

Big, Glowing Bugs

There are some pretty hefty glitches present. While some of these are mildly irksome, others will require restarting a level. Collision detection can land a critter between objects with no way out. In one case, after a character was introduced in a cutscene, the game continued without that character becoming playable. Seeing as the level that was presented was designed to show off the new character’s abilities, it was impossible to continue. On more than one occasion, characters would lock in place, even when standing at checkpoints and thus there was no way to exchange them for a more useful character. Control lockout also occurred a few times. Most of the levels are fairly short, so restarting may be frustrating, but it’s in no way world-shattering.

There are fifteen stages in total, and as the game isn’t overly difficult, it can be completed in a few hours. The game keeps track of the player’s fastest time through the level as well as the number of motes and energy nodes collected. There are three challenge settings to select from, should some players be intrigued by the prospect of a tougher play-through.

Affable and endearing, CreaVures manages to be cute without venturing into the realm of sickeningly sweet. At USD $9.99 (although currently on special for USD $8.99, first week only) it’s a fairly good value despite the few technical snafus.

CreaVures is available now on Steam for USD $9.99

[xrr rating=”3.5/5″]