An indie platform videogame that has launched on Steam thanks to a successful Greenlight campaign, Eryi’s Action is deceptive in its appearance. All bright colours and cartoon smiles, and yet under it’s welcoming exterior beats the heart of an aggressively punishing videogame that taxes even the most ardent platform gamers with demanding dexterity challenges. This is Cloudberry Kingdom pushed to its most extreme, and for some that’s exactly what they’ve been asking for.
The videogame begins as Eryi goes in search of a melon that has been stolen by Farta the Troll. As you learn of your quest and move to the exit a pan drops from the sky and kills you. One life lost. Second attempt; you learn to move under the drop location of the pan before quickly retreating until the path is clear before moving forward once again. In this instance you have learnt the rules of Eryi’s Action, and also experienced firsthand how unfair and punishing the videogame will be. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Eryi’s Action plays to all the established traditions of the platform genre. Run and jump are your bywords and there’s little else to concern yourself with. However, it’s not a simple case of jumping from floating-platform-to-floating-platform a dozen times before crossing the finishing line. Eryi’s Action is a videogame of trial-and-error. You will die many, many times. Some of them will be through your own misguided attempts to overcome the challenges ahead; others will be at the hands of horrendously unfair design.
Of course, Eryi’s Action has been built around this policy of intentional unfairness. Checkpoints are frequent and lives are entirely meaningless; nothing more than a counter to demonstrate just how badly you are doing. Everything costs a life: every inch of every level is waiting to kill you. There is no safe haven and even when you know how to surpass a challenge, there’s no guarantee that you’ll succeed. Nor is there any certainty that the second time around after restarting will you be successful. Or the third. Or the fourth…
By now you’ll surely understand that Eryi’s Action is a videogame about losing. It’s not for impatient or inexperienced gamers, nor for anyone who isn’t interested in being unfairly punished simply for playing. This is a videogame about mocking every gamer who plays it; Eryi’s Action plays true to established conventions of the genre but also turns them of their head. The pleasant green fields and easy-to-beat slow moving enemies are not what they seem, and nothing in the videogame is friendly. Eryi’s Action is a videogame that will anger all but the most patient players, and even then it’s not likely to be taken on board lightly.