[PlayStation 4] Emerald Shores Review
Emerald Shores from one-person indie Fordesoft is a 2D platformer that can be described as Super Mario World with a level up system. Learn more about it in our Emerald Shores review!
Emerald Shores places you in the shoes of main character Alex. One day he receives a letter from King Jeff. In the letter, he asks him to please go to the castle to see him. Heâ€™s also baked him a cakeâ€¦ but not really. After the short cutscene, you will enter the overworld, which will instantly remind you of Super Mario World in the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Youâ€™ll then get to enter world 1-1 (Royal Road) where you will get to learn the basics of the game so that you can see what youâ€™re up against. You must get to the castle to see why King Jeff has summoned you. It turns out that a race of creatures called Grabbits in Emerald Shores is in grave danger, and theyâ€™ve asked the king to send someone to help them. And this is how your adventure begins!
You can move around with the left analog stick or the D-Pad and can jump with the X button â€“ the longer you press the button, the higher youâ€™ll jump. You can hold down the Square button to dash, and you can use the Triangle button to check out signs and other stuff in the game. You can climb ladders by pressing up on the left analog stick or the D-Pad so that you can explore every corner of a stage, something that is needed if you want to find all items in a stage â€“ items that can later help you in one of the mini-games youâ€™ll find. And if you find a double jump power-up, then youâ€™ll be able to double jump. There is also a fireball power-up, youâ€™ll get to throw fireballs with the Square button.
The main gameplay mechanic involves jumping on top of enemies so that you can damage them and lower their HP to zero. Every time you stomp on top of an enemy, you will see how much damage youâ€™re dealing as well as their total hit points in the upper right corner. Defeat an enemy, and you will get experience points which will be added to the blue experience bar at the upper left corner of the screen, right below your health bar. Below these two bars are the level indicator and the coin counter. You will get to practice your skills against a handful of bootworm enemies in the first stage so that you can see how, if youâ€™re not careful, every hit you receive will lower your health bar, or how to properly stomp enemies so that you can bounce up and stomp them again on your way down.
Along with the experience you get from defeating enemies you will also get some experience points from every coin you collect, bringing you closer and closer to leveling up. Once your blue experience bar is full, you will get to level up, thus increasing your hit points (which leads to having a longer health bar) as well as getting a boost to your attack stat, so that you can deal more damage when you stomp on enemies. Leveling up will also refill your entire health bar, which is definitely useful. You do need to be careful as you explore each stage because if youâ€™re defeated or if you fall down a bottomless pit, you will be taken back to the start and all you did in the stage will be reset.
You can replay any of the stages youâ€™ve already completed, but there is a catch: you wonâ€™t get any extra experience from defeating enemies, nor will you get additional coins. Replaying stages is something youâ€™ll have to do when you run into stages that have more than one exit â€“ youâ€™ll be able to spot them in the map since theyâ€™ll have two paths you could follow after completing this. Youâ€™ll get your first chance to search for a hidden exit when you reach level 1-2 of the game. Hint: You will need a power to be able to get to the secret exit in level 1-2! (Secret Hint: Itâ€™s the double jump item).
Along with bootworms, you will also run into bizarre enemies such as the flying sponge, a flying blue sphere called an Orbster, the aptly named Bomberbird (a flying bird that drops bombs), a flying round thing with antennas called a Blobloon (which also drops bombs on you), Reindeers, a nasty Snowman that will throw snowballs at you, a Snowbird (like the Bomberbird, but in a snow climate), bouncing and stationary Statues that pack a nasty punch, a Snailboat (a small snail riding around a boat), a Clownfish, and more.
There are also bosses to defeat in each of the gameâ€™s worlds. You will need to pay attention to a bossâ€™ movement and attack patterns so that you can find the right window to jump on top of it and stomp its health away. I suggest you try to fight a boss with the double jump or fireball power-ups so that you can attack the boss from a distance and double jump out of harmâ€™s way. The double jump will also make it easier to stomp on a boss â€“ something you can test with the boss of the first world. Pro Tip: If youâ€™re about to die (from falling down a pit or from only being able to take one more to take one more hit, press the options button and select Restart Level as this will allow you to restart the boss battle with your power-ups intact.
The game features a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy at the end. Youâ€™ll be awarded your first trophy just by watching the starting cutscene in the game, while other trophies will come your way by leveling up for the first time, leveling up to level 13, finishing each of the first stages in the game, defeating each of the gameâ€™s bosses (including the secret boss), finishing the game, collecting each of the three power-ups in the game, collecting 500 coins in total, as well as miscellaneous trophies you will get from playing the two mini-games.
Emerald Shores is a fun and short 2D indie platformer with a twist that sets it apart from other entries in the genre on PS4. Even though you can complete the game and get most trophies in a couple of hours, once you finish the game you can go and do it all over again by playing Remix Mode which mixes things around and changes levels here and there to make them harder. Finishing Remix Mode â€“ while going for one other particular trophy that you will be missing â€“ will probably be the final thing you need to do to unlock your Platinum trophy. Are you ready?
This Emerald Shores review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Fordesoft.