September 5, 2013 7:00 AM | Anthony Swinnich
The minds that brought us the 16-bit-styled action-RPG Anodyne have been hard at work on an action-platformer called Even The Ocean. I was able to sample Sean Hogan and Jonathan Kittaka's latest build at PAX Prime and walked away impressed. The game's great use of an Ikaruga-style energy absorption mechanic elevated the formula to a new level.
As an action-platformer, Even The Ocean plays well. You can run, jump and wall jump with the greatest of ease. There are white and purple sources of energy in the world, though, that you'll need to learn to use to your advantage. A balancing meter keeps track of how much of either light or dark energy you've absorbed. Absorb too much of one or the other and you'll die. Taking in more of the dark means you'll move slower; more of the light and you'll move faster. This is where the game truly shines. There are gaps and jumps you aren't fast enough to make without a high concentration on the white side of your meter.
Luckily, you're equipped with a shield that can block energy from reaching you. The shield can be held out to either side of the character, and above or below as well. This makes getting your meter to a specific point and keeping it there slightly more manageable, as it's otherwise easy to accidentally take that deadly last bit of energy in. It also can help you out when jumping into wind currents, acting as a reverse parachute that can jettison you upward if held above your head.
Stages will be connected by an overworld, though the finer details on how this works aren't yet defined. The levels shown in the Indie Megabooth required the player to go in, grab an item, and make their way out, a design mechanic the team said is likely going to make the final version in 2014. Preorders are up for $7 on the game's official site.