I don’t believe that one has to really understand art to appreciate it. Ephemerid: A Musical Adventure is definitely more art than game. Despite being interactive and having a few true gameplay elements, for the most part, it seems to be designed as a pretty backdrop for a rather epic soundtrack.
Completing the game is simple. There seems to be no true fail state, although there are at least a few spots where interaction is required to advance. In fact, if there’s a point where you’re unsure what the game requires of you, hints come early and often. Which makes sense, the game has an agenda, a certain amount of story it wants to tell accompanying each track.
Players that come into this looking just to experience it will probably have a fine time. The art and the music are pure joy, and despite the lack of text, there is a clear story happening. However, if you really hate bugs, or have severe arachnophobia, you probably won’t have the best time. Yes, there’s an antagonist, and it’s a big ol’ spider with a boombox.
The entire game took less than an hour from start to finish. I didn’t struggle with any of the adventure game / puzzley segments, and the game didn’t seem to penalize me for being downright awful at the rhythm parts. I was, however, surprised that after the credits, I had only unlocked one solitary achievement. Achievement chasers should be aware that the only other non-hidden achievement requires perfection in all 7 of the rhythm game sections.
There is definitely more game here if you want to look for it, but for me, I was satisfied just to have played through to the end. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of a music video or a laser light show, but I didn’t find any of the game play elements compelling enough to play through it multiple times. For the scant asking price of $3, I didn’t even mind the short play time.
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