Elea – Episode 1 Review

In 2073, Earth was afflicted by a devastating disease which effected children, turning them into aggressive psychopaths, and with few options left to save humanity from extinction, an expedition was formed to colonize a nearby, Earth-like planet called Solace. After reaching the planet, the interstellar ship that had taken them there, ‘The Pilgrimage’, went radio silent and what happened to this ship and its crew became a mystery.

Thirteen years later, we, as Elea, join an expedition to find out what happened to ‘The Pilgrimage’ but also, our husband Ethan, who was one of the colonists on-board and what unravels next is a surreal exploration through space, loss & grief as we aid Elea and find out what happened to her family and the lost expedition.

On the surface, ‘Elea- Episode 1’ sounds like your standard sci-fi game, a mystery surrounding a missing ship is a theme in numerous tv shows, animes & games but ‘Elea’ also disrupts our characters memories, adding an extra dimension which further complicates matters for us and increases the confusion we feel as we explore our ever-changing environment & question what’s really happening around us.

Released 06/09/2018 and developed by Kyodai LTD, this is a relatively new game which is easy to overlook amongst the larger, AAA titles but it is an interesting, if not a tad niche, look into the sci fi, mystery genre.

Graphically, the game is beautiful and has a soundtrack which further compliments the futuristic scenarios and sets the tone for its more emotive moments. This is a visually stimulating addition to the indie roster by publishers Soedesco, which relies maybe too much on its environment to engage the player.

Powered by Unreal engine, the graphics of this game are on a comparable level to those of bigger titles. The status of Indie game does not mean that this game lacks in its visuals, rather the simplistic gameplay suggests the developers wished to focus more on this aspect and really perfect the look of this world, which they have achieved.

This is a world of intentional screen glitches and distortion. Bright, flashing images are the normality & thus the initial warning for gamers with epilepsy is one to be listened too, this game relies heavily on these sudden changes to distort its reality and some gamers may struggle with those visuals.

The game itself has very basic controls, we are very limited in what we as a player can actually do. ‘Elea’ is more about our interactions with the things around us, and its story, than it is about big fight scenes so for many, that can make it a very slow paced game which, combined with the limited direction in what we are actually supposed to do, means that this title probably isn’t interesting to many gamers.

I found the controls to be a little unresponsive and sometimes, the player is left waiting to interact with certain things in their environment. Clicking on the item you need doesn’t always get an immediate response and thus this game is more a lesson in patience at times than fun.

Rated PEGI 12, ‘Elea’ relies more on shock tactics than it does on anything particularly violent and whilst younger gamers may be attracted to the space theme or the bright colours, the story itself & the fact that we are essentially just walking and clicking things, means this game might not be very compelling to anyone who isn’t a fan of the sci-fi genre and a game like Subnautica may be a better choice.

With a price tag of £9.59 on the Xbox store, I am not sure the price tag is entirely worth it, If you are looking for a quick game to pick up and not really think about, this is probably not for you as ‘Elea’ is a game that requires patience and paying attention to your surroundings but ultimately,  the clear effort in aesthetics are let down by the story itself.

The name ‘Elea: Episode 1’ suggests more is coming but there are no details I can find, however, should more episodes come & further expand this story then I would be interested to play them but as to this episode, I am not compelled to play it again, despite the 19 achievements totalling 1000 gamer score on offer, this story in the end tailed off and I found it lacking substance behind the visuals and not something I wanted to replay.

Ultimately, ‘Elea- Episode 1’ is a game that not everyone will get or enjoy. Stunning in visuals and with an excellent soundtrack, this game is not much beneath the surface and relies heavily on its look to keep you interested in what is essentially, a point & click game with a psychedelic, space exploration element.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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