Putting a game in to Early Access can be both a blessing and a curse for development. On one hand it can help iron out bugs and find what players like or dislike about a project, but it can also lead to my reaction to Elea.
I'm currently nursing a massive headache caused by the over-zealous use of particle effects, terrible soundscapes and some truly janky gameplay. Elea
needs to go back in the oven and cook a bit longer before being made available to the public. Luckily it gives a fairly clear warning that anyone susceptible to seizures shouldn't play right before throwing a sequence of psychedelic sequences that feel specifically designed in to induce seizures.
I get that the sequence is supposed to be an assault on the characters' senses, but it felt malicious in a way game designers haven't used since the earliest days of loading games from cassettes. This sequence is followed by an achingly slow saunter around a cluttered futuristic home whilst pregnant, and being pregnant in this case equals moving with glacial speed.
In this home you're tasked with finding a few things, such as a key that looks nothing like a key that is on the kitchen table (it isn't there). Then you are placed in a room with a floating ball of translucent goop that you have to pass through multiple time to get a hologram to appear and this is where I ran in to my first game breaking bug - a door is supposed to open but didn't. But, because of the bizarre nature of this sequence, I thought I had missed something. It was only after restarting the game twice that this bug didn't present itself.
This is supposed to be a surreal sci-fi game, surreal to the developers obviously means 'use every random effect we can find in the Unreal tool box and try and strangle the player with the result'. This strategy has left me unwilling to give the game anymore time, at least until it is released in a more complete and polished state.
First impressions are important and Elea
, developed by Kyodai and published by Soedesco, doesn't do a good job of providing them. In-game documents are littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and the only thing I can really be positive about is the voice acting. It's solid, and the lead actress provides some hope that not everything will go wrong with this game.
It should be noted that this is going to be an episodic game spanning five episodes and that thought honestly fills me with dread. My unsolicited advice to the developers and publisher is to not put this through Early Access, but to go through a more traditional QA period because as the game stands it is going to be torn apart by the public.