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- 01/08/2019 10:10 PM
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El Dorado by real_Troll
Length: ~1 hour (if you get ridiculously stuck like me in the later levels)
Those of you who have seen me around on discord the last few week or so probaly already know that this week I've been doing three things. One, I've been writing a lot of reviews so I can collect sweet makerscore to reach 10k and also top the chart of members with most reviews. Two, I've been looking into installing EasyRPG on my 3DS so i can play rpg maker games on the go. And three, I've been working on a game. That last one is unrelated so I don't know why I brought it up.
Okay, wait, stick with me, I'm going somewhere with this.
So the tale of El Dorado started with me finally downloading this game after multiple times of seeing it on rmn but never giving it a go. Sadly, I had a little issue. After I clicked new game, my game would always crash. Being the smartypants I am, two-three days later now that I finally installed EasyRPG on my 3DS, I'm looking for games to download, and I think, hey, maybe it'll run on 3DS?
Of course, that was the stupidest idea ever. Why would a game that does not run on my pc actually run on my- oh wait nevermind it actually did.
So yeah, I'll be reviewing El Dorado from my experience with it on the 3DS. Please excuse me for the screenshots since the thingymagig in 3DS homebrew that takes screenshots requires me to press R which enables the FPS counter at the top left, so I couldn't really get rid of that sadly.
Also, I played the German version, so keep that in mind.
I mean, it works! Sort of...
So, what IS El Dorado? Honestly, it's a hard game to describe. I think El Dorado has a feel to it that I've not seen in many other games at least not any well known ones. Years back, a long time ago, I used to spend all day playing this Shaggy and Scooby-Doo point and click games, which is actually the closest comparison I could make to El Dorado. I believe each game was part of a series, and one of the games in particular had them stranded in a jungle. Interestingly, that's probably the closest experience you're gonna find to El Dorado.
In essence, El Dorado is a puzzle adventure game. Your goal is simple - collect the golden bar at the end of each level, and eventually find the giant golden statue and get rich. However, as you'll see time and time again, getting the gold bar is actually not as easy as it seems. El Dorado loves to throw silly deaths at you all over the place and one mis-step could easily be fatal. When you die, you restart only that level. You also have a time limit to keep you on your toes.
El Dorado is very light on its story, and not really for the worse. It feels nice to just be able to pick up the game and play easily, and the gameplay, the main focus of the game, isn't hindered by cutscenes in between. El Dorado actually reminds me a lot of something Nintendo would make, minus all the blood and death. It puts play first, not narrative, and it works fine because El Dorado's gameplay is such a fresh breath of air from even the usual adventure game. If this was a game released on early consoles like SNES, it could have easily been a big franchise oday because it absolutely has the potential.
As for the puzzles themselves, I found them all really enjoyable for sure. Some of the later ones can be a bit frustrating, but as mentioned, I played with the German version. While there is no story here, you'll still want to know what you're picking up so you'll know where to use it. Luckily, the visuals are usually enough to let you know where that item is supposed to come in handy, but there were times when I just picked up whatever I could find without thinking and found where it went by trial and error. Still, if you aren't playing the English version like me, I can assure you the game can be beatable without understanding German. In fact, I'd say the harder puzzles in this game are the ones that don't even require text.
Okay, I will be honest, just like everyone else who seems to have played this game, I had to look up the walkthrough a few times. I tried solving as much on my own as possible, and I'd say about 65%-70% of the game I managed to beat on my own, but there are times when the puzzles can be overwhelming from the sheer amount of fragments you have to piece together. That being said, after looking up what to do, I never really felt cheated like there was no way I was supposed to be able to figure that out. On the contary, after you realize the solution, it usually feels more among the lines of "oh, why didn't I think of that?!"
Each puzzle also tends to throw a little fakeout object to trick you a little bit. This is the main thing here that I had mixed feelings about. Basically, in each puzzle there's usually one interactable that you never end up using, and I know that it's probably to make you have to pick more carefully the right thing to use, but I honestly think the puzzles are more than complicated enough without the need of an extra object. I kinda wish saves were a bit more frequent too. You actually get to save once per three levels, which isn’t too bad, but it would have been way better if you could save once before every level. EasyRPG has a tendency to crash and I had to replay levels I already beat multiple times due to this. I know the game isn’t made with EasyRPG in mind but I think crashes or even just having to leave should have been accounted for. Besides, you could go back and replay te level of your choice after beating the game. Oh and I’m also upset the save file always says your level is 1. I know that means your character’s level, in like an rpg, and you can’t remove it, but why not repurse it so that you level up after each level so that the savefile actually shows what level you were on? Big missed oppurtunity there.
Argh! Should've known it wouldn't be that easy.
So the game succeeds in giving you coherent gameplay like it sets out to do, but that's not the only great part of this game. The presentation here is actually pretty fucking impressive. Every single area is crammed into one map, yet somehow it never feels too crowded. The environment itself blends perfectly with the puzzles. My favorite example of this has to be an earlier puzzle where you have to throw a pebble at a lizard on the wall. It all feels natural, of course you would expect to find a lizard and a pebble in the jungle. This is not always the case, and sometimes you find random books or lamps or... a snowman in a lava dungeon? But still, the vast majority of the game succeeds in this regard. The animations here are pretty great too, there's a unique one for almost every action and death. It really makes the world feel a whole lot more alive.
And of course, the sound effects, which in themselves aren't anything too out of the ordinary, but they definetly help enhance the little details better by giving your interactions sounds. And the music's pretty funky too, I guess!
El Dorado is a game that's really fun to pick up and play, and one that would even deserve to become a classic had it been longer and more fleshed out. If only the game had a sequel like tha- oh wait, it does. Yeah, there's an El Dorado 2, and it's not on rmn sadly, but from the looks of it, it has at least five times the content of this game, so I'm really hyped to give it a go when I'm able to. I feel like it would make a great 3DS game for me to just pick up and play when I'm bored or waiting for food at a restaurant et cetera.
I give El Dorado an impressive four and a half naked llamas out of five.
1 hour seems to be the sweet spot for little one-shots like this, tbh. Quality over quantity!