A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The game's plot is both simple and mysterious, as players follow a formless voice to discover the purpose of their existence. It's a surreal story that doesn't serve as much more than a reason to go through the motions of the platforming.
Positive Role Models
Players are literally incomplete shells, born into existence but missing something that would make them whole. The characters aren't good or evil, but rather they just exist for the purpose of finding each other to become something more.
Ease of Play
Controls are simple and straightforward. The difficulty comes in navigating the environment's twisted gravitational physics. Jumping or walking in the wrong place or direction can cause players to fall to a different section or out into the abyss.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Etherborn is a platform puzzle game available for download on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows-based PCs. Players control an entity born into a strange world trying to find their way towards a disembodied voice. The game has easy controls, though there's a fair bit of challenge in navigating the environment's warped gravity. Outside of character mishaps, such as falling off the world by misjudging a jump or direction, the game's a non-violent, surreal experience, without any blood, language, or other content concerns.
Is It Any Good?
If there's ever a question about if video games can be considered art, this puzzler could be considered an answer. Etherborn is a visually stunning experience similar to walking inside a painting that's a surreal blend of Salvador Dali and M.C. Escher. It's a breathtaking and impossible world in which players must walk, run, and jump, following paths that shift gravity on a whim. It's a game where what's up one minute can easily pull you down the next. While it makes for an artistic wonderland, it's also more than a little disorienting. Because of the constant shifts in perspective, the directional controls are constantly shifting as well, meaning it can get frustratingly difficult to move around and to judge how to take certain jumps.
Another problem Etherborn faces is its overall lack of depth. While the world's visually appealing, there's still not a lot to it. As a result, it starts to feel repetitive very quickly. Once the novelty of wears off and after you get used to the controls, you can't help but feel like you're just going through the motions. Run here, jump there, wash, rinse, and repeat. Outside of chasing a disembodied voice, there's no real motivation to progress. In an ironic twist, the game's actually pretty short from start to finish. But after the boredom begins to sink in, the slow pacing makes it feel like completing the adventure takes much longer than it actually does.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.