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Element4l Review

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On 07/13/2013 at 03:00 PM by Darby Lawson

In a game with no enemies, physics and logic are the driving forces in Element4l.

People who like games that think outside of the box.

Element4l is an innovative platformer that focuses on how well you know your physics, as well as your ability to adapt. You have control of the four elements, and the only enemy is your own environment. The four elements are bound together, and are on a quest to shape life. This is no ordinary platform game—you must use logic, reasoning, and physics to traverse through the levels. This is an experimental title that’s wrapped in a wonderful soundtrack, composed by MindTree. This game challenges you to rearrange your reflexes, and figure out which element is best suited to each obstacle.

In the beginning, you start out with just the element of air, who talks about how lonely it is, and suggests a search for the other elements. Once you gather up the other three, you can use either the arrow keys or W, S, A, and D to switch between the four. Up is air, down is stone, left is ice, and right is fire. Each element has its specific strengths, and they each have their respective weaknesses. Fire presents itself in the form of fireballs, propelling you forward with bursts of speed, but if you run into an obstacle you will explode, showering the area with brightly colored sparks. This holds true with any element; your air bubble will pop when it comes into contact with any surface, ice will melt, and stone will break. It takes a lot of focus and critical thinking to be able to switch back and forth across the elements quickly to be able to adapt to the structure of the world.

Once you collect all four elements and move into the first level, you are then introduced to Soul Sparks. Soul Sparks are small balls of light that the elements consume to replenish their energy. As you switch through the elements, you will notice a faint circle around your little ‘character’ (for lack of a better word), that denotes your current supply of energy. It depletes as you switch between the elements, so when you are crossing a particularly difficult area, managing energy is important. Thankfully, you can always revert to ice if your energy runs out. Ice requires no energy to use, so it will quickly become your best friend.

The main key to crossing the levels is to keep your momentum. You never want to slow down, because ultimately, you will end up having to restart at the nearest checkpoint (for which there are no markers, so who knows how far you are from the last one?). The key is to constantly change; if you start off on a flat surface, use fire to pop forward, then quickly switch to ice to start sliding. Keep switching between the two until you pick up enough speed to ramp up a jump; switch to air to jump just a little bit higher, then switch to stone to drop down with speed to a loop, switching to ice as you hit the surface to initiate your slide. There are constant surprises in the world that you will have to quickly accustom yourself to-whether it’s a thin wall to break through with stone, or a vent to surge upward with air. There was a cool little moment where I learned that hitting a lava wall with fire will cause you to bounce (note: this is different from the lava pool!), and a small gap touched by lava where I could melt my ice form to slush to slither through.

There were minor mishaps along my journey-mostly glitches within the game. There was one especially aggravating section where I was trying to pick up speed to make it up a huge loop, and inevitably, the game would glitch right at the apex. So, I would just fall back down, and have to restart from the checkpoint. However, after finally calming down, I got the idea to restart the game, maybe there was an issue with the client.

I got past that part!

Luckily, those small glitches were the only problems I experienced, so once I recovered from a glitch, it was smooth sailing for the most part. I think there were about 5 minor glitches. The rest of the problems were all on my lack of elemental control.

I highly recommend this game to everyone who enjoys a challenge. It’s fun, different, and the design is simple, yet beautiful. The soundtrack also adds a lot to this game-it’s wonderfully composed, and adds a certain innocent quality to the adventure. The music perfectly complements the young elements who are making their way into the open. The level design challenges your focus, and makes you think on your feet. Element4l is stunningly brilliant and immersive, and really lifts itself up above other games of its genre.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Chris Yarger Community Manager

07/16/2013 at 06:52 AM

Wow, I've never heard of this game, but it seems to be a highly interesting platformer within the likings of the Portal series in terms of being innovative. I'll have to check this out sometime, thanks Darby!

Darby Lawson Staff Alumnus

07/16/2013 at 08:25 PM

You definitely should! You can go to their website and get the game and soundtrack for ten dollars. Its pretty cool, just because its so intuitive and makes you pick up your reaction speed and really think about the physics of the environment.


07/18/2013 at 08:30 PM

Mmmmm another portal physics kind of game im definitely interested great reveiw as usual. :~)

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