Before PaxWest 2023, I never thought in a million years that I would be playing a game centered around the story of A Christmas Carol. That was before I was introduced to Ebenezer and the Invisible World. A game that depicts Scrooge as a platforming people’s champion who lays the Smackdown on Ghost. It’s a unique concept and I don’t get to experience many holiday-centric games so I had to check it out. So how is Ebenezer and the Invisible World and is it a must-play game to play this Holiday season?
Let’s dive into it.
In Ebenezer and the Invisible World, you play as Scrooge, years after his visit from the Ghosts of Christmas. The Ghost didn’t just impart upon him with lessons to make him a better person, but also with the ability to see and interact with ghosts.
On Christmas Eve, another wealthy man was visited by the same Ghost of Christmas that Scrooge was. Instead of taking the lesson to heart, he uses his glimpse of a possible future to learn about a device he created in that timeline that would allow him to eradicate all the poor and working-class folks in London. Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas set out to stop him.
The narrative is a thoughtful play on the classic Christmas story that we know. It comes across as original, however, the all-text way that the story is delivered isn’t the most exciting way to present the narrative to us gamers.
Despite the atmosphere giving some pleasant merry and bright Christmas vibes, this action-centric Metroidvania is challenging. If you are looking for a chill game that you can breeze through this isn’t it. You’re going to die…a lot. There’s a slew of enemies with different movements and the action and platforming are challenging.
Even with the difficulty, the platforming feels tight and precise. The mark of a good platformer is when you feel like you are always in control and when the damage you receive doesn’t feel cheap and unearned. Ebenezer and the Invisible World nails it with its platforming elements.
Like traditional Metroidvanias, you unlock new powers that allow you to traverse in areas of the game that were inaccessible earlier. Most of the game’s unlockable attack and traversal moves are centered around ghosts of all sorts of different backgrounds and mythos.
One of the best aspects of Ebenezer and the Invisible World is the game’s presentation and art style. The art style is colorful, bright, and vibrant. The game’s depiction of modern-day Victorian England feels historical yet with the pops of color and detail that you find in modern platformers.
Speaking of detail the character models are another thing worth shouting out. Each character that you encounter whether it be a human or a ghost is displayed in a way that makes it feel like immense love and care was put into their character models.
There is an aspect of the gameplay that grates on my nerves and that’s the dodge mechanic. I’m most modern-day games of this genre you get a dodge mechanic that is similar to Super Smash Bros, Hollow Knight, or Metroid Dread, where you can dodge toward an opponent or away from one and you won’t take damage. Here if you dodge towards an opponent you will take damage if you touch him during the dodge. This mechanic is a rough adjustment that feels wrong to begin with.
Another aspect that felt like a missed opportunity was the lack of save points. Save points are in the game but way too rare in each level. Especially when you consider the game’s difficulty, and the sizable length of the levels.
The last con that I had with the game is that there are locked-in chats that you can’t skip. Let’s say that you die in the same area over and over again. You have to talk to the same people over and over again. You can’t skip a talking encounter that you’ve experienced many times. It was additional motivation for me to beat that area but it was also grating on my last nerves.
Overall/Should you Play Ebenezer and the Invisible World:
If you are looking for a challenging Metroidvania or looking for a Christmas-themed game then you should check out this game. The visuals impress, the gameplay is fun, and the concept feels unique. While it does have some flaws with some weird quality-of-life decisions and its dodge mechanic, Ebenezer and the Invisible World is slightly closer to getting presents for Christmas instead of a lump of coal.
Where Should Ebenezer and the Invisible World fit in your video game backlog:
Here at the ProNerd Report and on the Single Player Experience Podcast, we practice the 10 games backlog rule. In this practice, you log down 10 games, those games are gonna be your video game backlog. To be as productive as you possibly can be, we recommend that you only play three games at one time. One single player narrative game, one game that’s gonna be your chill and relaxed game, and another game that’s going to be your palate cleanser game, which is a game that you play when you’re not in the mood for your other narrative. When you complete or get tired of one game, it leaves the backlog list. Then you decide which new game is added to the list, and which game on the list advances to your active three games.
Ebenezer and the Invisible World – Ebenezer and the Invisible World is so so full of gripes that it’s a complex game to recommend. Only have it in your backlog if you are into the Metroidvania genre or just in the Christmas Spirit. Otherwise, this holiday-themed game should be outside your video game backlog.
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