Tuesday, May 15

Review: The Adventures of Elena Temple [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Back when I was (much) younger, I spent quite a lot of time playing games on both my Atari 5200 and Commodore 64. One of the type of games I enjoyed quite a bit, and this was pre-Mario mind you, was platformers. Sharing some roots with the likes of the classic Pitfall there were a variety of titles that would demand that you use your precision jumping and problem-solving to make your way through a progression of single-screen stages. These were ultimately a mix of what were essentially action-puzzles, and they were both challenging and fun. The Adventures of Elena Temple looks to not only recreate this style of play but also do so in a way that allows old-school gamers like myself to appreciate them as if they were on my platform of choice.

Released as a somewhat “lost classic” from this era Elena Temple will challenge you with over 50 rooms that include traps, moving platforms, a number of creatures including snakes and bats, and some tricky secrets as well. Armed with a gun that can only hold 2 bullets at a time you’ll need to very carefully make your way through stages, and some of the puzzles will involve careful and smart use of what ammo you have to remove elements in your way in order to uncover new rooms. The controls are tight, each room is tough but fair, and if you want to get every coin in the game you’ll need to work for them. One of the great benefits of the design is that the game is extremely friendly to gaming on the go since you can clear a room in a few minutes, get some enjoyment, and put it back down if need be.

Another major plus is the fact that when you die you’re immediately back in action and you’re never really penalized. You’re going to die quite a bit as you try to master tricky jumps and combinations of traps but it’s no big deal, you’ll just respawn and try again. The other big plus, if you’re a nerd like me I suppose, is that the simplistic style allows for the ability to change out what ancient platform you’d like to experience it on. Whether the iconic green monochrome I remember from the Apple IIe, the somewhat washed out greens of the original GameBoy, or a number of other variants this title absolutely celebrates not only this style of play from games past but also the systems they were enjoyed on.

Of course, if you’re a bit younger it all may feel a bit dated or some people may prefer not to turn the clock back quite so far. This is an unapologetically retro experience even amongst other titles that would call themselves retro. From its appearance to its style of play through and through this is a game from another era, and that’s probably going to be where it lives or dies with many people.

If you’re either an older gamer who’d like to spend some time reminiscing or a younger gamer interested in getting a window into a very classic gaming experience Elena Temple is extremely easy to recommend. With a budget-friendly price, challenging but fair skill level, and a satisfying runtime that doesn’t overstay its welcome it’s a terrific blast that feels authentically from the past. Even with the many advances we’ve seen in gameplay over the many years games have been around it’s great to see an example of gameplay that still easily holds up today.

Score: 8

  • Little penalty for dying
  • The ability to choose how you experience the game is novel and especially great for gamers who remember playing on these platforms
  • Has a budget-friendly price mixed with a satisfying length

  • Not everyone will want to go back that far in time
  • If you’re expecting more than some clever action puzzles and secrets you’ll likely be disappointed