It takes a special kind of game to seamlessly balance a beautiful art style with compelling gameplay. Recently released on Steam, CreaVures is a puzzle-platforming title developed by Muse Games that tries its hardest to blend solid game mechanics with an amazing style. Other than a sleight repetition to the gameplay and some graphical bugs, these CreaVures will surely brighten up your day regardless of your tastes.
The particular pieces of a puzzle-platformer game that are most important to me are the gameplay and the visuals. I thoroughly enjoy those sidescrolling puzzlers that can immerse the player with an amazing story as well such as games like Limbo, but I don't go into this type of gaming experience expecting a complex multitude of storytelling. CreaVures follows the trend of a simplistic plot that allows anyone, young or old, to enjoy the wonderful gameplay it presents.
The story follows five creatures, each possessing different abilities, on their journey to return light to the eerie and dark forest. You start the game in control of a little cat like creature and progressively gain four new companions to accompany your little feline friend. There is no dialogue other than the noises emitted by these characters in a few cutscenes with each sound having intended meaning based on the inflection. Simply put, the story is light-hearted and cute. The style introduced of dark versus light is really where this title shines.
The levels and characters all follow a similar scheme with gleams of light dancing their way through a dark canvas. One feels the overwhelming darkness present in the world, but the colorful characters and plant life create a nice balance between both realms of color, or lack thereof. Putting the palette into words doesn't fully let one take in the amazing artwork done in Creavures. Along with the easily lovable graphical presentation done by Muse games is a similar quality ambient audio.
The soft, melodic tunes of each level are very soothing. This is an extremely important quality of any puzzle game as some of the more challenging puzzles will keep you stumped for some time. I didn't find any puzzle to be too overwhelmingly difficult, but at times the change in pace from one puzzle to the next did seem to lengthen each level. In terms of visuals and audio, one cannot help but love the direction the developers chose to go. The gameplay itself is quite rewarding, but a slow start and some repetitious parts can make the game seem tedious at times.
The puzzles work around each character and their ability to cooperate to overcome each obstacle. This means that every creature has a feature that makes them essential to conquering certain puzzles. The cat like creature can hang from berries with his mouth while other creatures can use his tail as a vine to swing on. The hedgehog type creature can use his spikes to make once impassable walls climbable. The first few world, each world consisting of 3 levels, features only these two characters. Towards the end of these worlds, climbing walls seems to take forever and the puzzles feel rehashed just for longevity. It isn't until you receive your third character, a creature capable of lighting specific mushrooms with electricity, that the puzzles take a compelling turn that requires you to choose the perfect combination of creatures to overcome each section.
After each puzzle, there are checkpoints that can only be activated if both chosen creatures are on it at the same time. At these checkpoints you can then switch your character selection to have two of whichever character you've unlocked so far. Again, the first few worlds are absent of this feature due to the fact that you only have two characters available. It would have been nice to unlock the newer characters sooner to keep the puzzles fresh and gameplay dynamic.
The only other hindrance apparent in CreaVures, aside from levels sometimes dragging on, is the way in which the camera follows your characters. The camera zooms in or out depending on where your creature is in the world. This can sometimes make it so you cannot see enemies or obstacles that will either hurt or kill you. This can also force you to make blind jumps into areas that may be bottomless pits that also kill you. Luckily, when you die you respawn at the latest checkpoint, but the nature of some of your deaths may induce frustration.
CreaVures is a fun romp through a wonderland of colors that anyone can surely enjoy. Aside from the over 15 levels and 3 difficulties, players also get to battle three challenging boss levels. The creatures are charming and the gameplay is casually enjoyable. The hiccups regarding the camera and sometimes repetitive nature of certain levels is easily overlooked when one unlocks more characters and ventures deeper in the dark forest. Don't expect any extremes to difficulty, but if you are looking for a beautiful puzzle-platformer to sink your teeth into then look no further.
[CreaVures] – $9.99 (PC)