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Elli review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: BandanaKid
Developer: BandanaKid
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

Elli has some pretty great influences. It’s an isometric puzzle-platformer with more than a hint of Super Mario 3D Land to it, which is always welcome. On top of that, it has a visual aesthetic that draws heavily from The Legend of Zelda, which is also always a good thing.

Unfortunately, great influences are really all there is to Elli. It may draw from a couple of all-time classics, but it doesn’t really do much beyond that.

It does so little, in fact, that I’ve been struggling to come up with anything to say about it beyond “Super Mario 3D Land + Legend of Zelda, but not as good” for what feels like ages. It’s one of those games that doesn’t do anything super well, but neither does it do anything so poorly that it deserves to be called out.

Take the gameplay. The levels are feel more or less the same. Fixed-camera isometric view, some light platforming here and there, no combat, and the odd puzzle that can be solved fairly easily provided you just keep moving forward. (Occasionally the perspective switches to a flat, 2D plane, but those moments are rare enough that they’re barely worth mentioning.) That’s really the entire game: as long as you keep moving forward for a couple of hours, you’ll be able to beat it.

It doesn’t help that the story is so completely forgettable I often forgot there even was a story as I was in the middle of playing. If pressed, I could tell you that it involves a pair of magical beings, and the bad one stole crystals from the good one on her birthday party, and the good one has to get them back, but that’d be the extent of what I could say. Everyone else you meet is indistinguishable from each other, and you’re occasionally forced into brief cutscenes with no option to skip the dialogue forward. I’ll call it interminable if, again, it wasn’t so wholly forgettable.

Elli’s only saving grace is its visuals — which, again, draw heavily from Zelda. There are clearly worse games to draw from, but, at the same time, with so little else going on, it’s more likely to leave you wanting to play a Zelda game that to keep pushing forward here.

The good news in all of this, as I said, is that Elli doesn’t do anything so poorly that it could be called objectionable. Given how many terrible games are out there, that’s no small feat. But it’s still hardly enough to make the game worth checking out. Factor in the game’s surprisingly high price ($20+, at the time of this writing), and that makes passing on it an easy call.

BandanaKid provided us with an Elli Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-