Ellipsis
Gameplay 10
Graphics 9
Sound 9

Don’t be fooled by the beautiful minimalist visuals that Ellipses sports. It isn’t just another Geometry Wars clone, but a polished and very addictive title where your avoidance skills and puzzle solving abilities are needed instead of an itchy trigger finger. Ellipses features tons of great levels, spread across eight worlds and in addition to plenty of replay value it also ships with a level editor and Steam Workshop support. If you are looking for something fresh and unique this is definitely not a title you want to miss.

Gameplay: Simple, but very polished and highly addictive.

Graphics: Makes great use of minimalist, but striking visuals.

Sound: Complements the on-screen action perfectly

Summary 9.3 Perfect
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Ellipsis

Developer: Salmi Games | Publisher: Salmi Games | Release Date: 2017 | Genre: Action / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

At first glance Ellipses looks like it is just another frantic single-screen shooter with glowing shapes in the vein of Geometry Wars. That is until you line up the enemies, press the “fire” button and realize that your ship is completely unarmed. You don’t have the luxury of shields either, which means your only means of staying alive is your avoidance skills. Ellipses isn’t just a test of your reflexes either as many of the levels it throws at you will also test your puzzle solving skills. The result is a game that is surprisingly addictive and will keep you coming back for more until you have conquered its more than 150 levels.

Ellipses is presented with a very minimalist interface and drops you into the inky depths of a universe populated by hostile neon vectors. You play as a glowing blue circle and your task on each level is to dodge enemies while grabbing the circular pickups that appear one after the other. You only need to collect four of these before an exit portal appears and you can make a hasty escape. However, a fifth pickup materializes along with the exit, but usually in some awkward spot. It is then your choice whether you will retreat to safety or risk it all and attempt to get the final pickup. Grabbing the pickups is as easy as moving your circle over them, but watch out as the points inside them must also be picked up if you plan on getting the full “four star” rating for each level. If you are too hasty these points can spill out and go bouncing around the level making them even harder to collect. If this wasn’t enough, you can also go back to previously completed levels and attempt to earn a fifth star by beating the new timer that is added. Of course, grabbing the pickups is rarely straightforward and you’ll need to judge your movements very carefully to even reach most of them despite each level in the game being a single screen and usually very open.

The levels in Ellipses can typically be completed in a matter of seconds, provided you manage to avoid all enemies and obstacles. It only takes one touch of something hostile or hazardous to lose, but you can be back and trying again with two clicks. Thanks to the branching paths you’ll also always have other options available should you become stuck on a particular level. Gameplay wise the game actually reminded us a lot of the Wario Ware titles as you are often thrown into a level and have seconds to figure out what is going on and how to react. Not all levels are this frantic though, as some features enemies that only move when you do, which requires a more cerebral approach than the typical headlong rush.

Enemies are all simple geometric shapes, but that doesn’t make them any less menacing. Prepare to face foes that explode when you get close, take potshots at you all the time or relentlessly hunt you down wherever you move.

Later levels also introduce all kinds of obstacles, such as moving barriers, laser beams and sharp spikes. Despite the large number of levels you’ll rarely face the same challenge twice and almost every level features something unique to deal with. One of our favorites is a homage to Frogger where you collect the pickups while dodging the traffic whizzing across the screen. As you complete levels and unlock new ones on the ever expanding galaxy map you get a real sense of progress and in total there are eight different worlds to conquer.

Thanks to the minimalist vector style visuals Ellipses looks like something you would run into in an 80’s arcade, but it still manages to look very impressive on high definition displays. The minimalism extends to the entire interface and you won’t encounter any text apart from the end-game credits. The same goes for the audio in the game, which embraces simple soundscapes and effects instead of a big, booming soundtrack. Even the controls are simple, but very intuitive. Despite the controller support we definitely recommend using a mouse for extra responsiveness. In fact, Ellipses is one of the few games that caused us to fiddle with the DPI settings of our mouse to squeeze even more performance out of it.

The short, but addictive nature of the individual levels make Ellipses a great coffee break game, but don’t be surprised if you lose track of time as you get sucked in. We enjoyed the game so much that completing the final level, which is actually part of the end-game credits, was a bittersweet experience. Thankfully, the game also features a level editor with Steam Workshop support, so longevity is certainly not an issue and neither is value for money. There really isn’t anything negative that we can say about this game as it offers one of the best pick-up-and-play experiences we’ve had a long time.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: Dual-Core 1.8 GHz or higher
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Video card with 256 MB of VRAM or higher
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 200 MB available space
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.8 or higher
  • Processor: Dual-Core 1.8 GHz or higher
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Video card with 256 MB of VRAM or higher
  • Storage: 200 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
  • Processor: Dual-Core 1.8 GHz or higher
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Video card with 256 MB of VRAM or higher
  • Storage: 200 MB available space
  • Additional Notes: Tested on Antergos, Arch, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, Kubuntu, Mageia, Manjaro, Mint, Slackware, SteamOS, Ubuntu, Xubuntu

Related posts

Arcana Heart 3 LOVE MAX!!!!!

Arcana Heart 3 LOVE MAX!!!!!

Arcana Heart 3 LOVE MAX!!!!! has a lot to offer fans of the genre with its large roster of unique characters, interesting Arcanas and fast paced fighting. The character designs are great and it is only the pixalated sprites that let down the visuals somewhat. The fighting offers a lot of depth, but even novices can have fun by switching to Simple mode. For a great 2D fighter that is unlike anything else available on PC give Arcana Heart 3 LOVE MAX!!!!! a shot. Gameplay: Fast, frantic and once you have mastered the moves, a lot of fun. Graphics: Sprite are a little low-res and the 4:3 resolution makes things feel a bit cramped, but overall quite good. Sound: Full Japanese voice acting and some nice albeit unremarkable background music.

Heroes & Legends: Conquerors of Kolhar

Heroes & Legends: Conquerors of Kolhar

Heroes & Legends: Conquerors of Kolhar offers a nice role playing fix without the investment in time required by the bigger titles. The emphasis is firmly on combat, so if this isn't your favorite aspect of the genre you can skip this one. Although your input is rather limited, there is still plenty of strategy involved and the game can become rather addictive. There are plenty of enemies to face and the game offers a nice challenge, which makes it ideal for whiling away a few hours. Gameplay: More strategic than it appears at first glance. Graphics: Nice visuals, but the animation is a bit sparse. Sound: Not a lot of variety, but what is on offer is good.

Sakura Nova

Sakura Nova

The setting and characters are all good, but nothing ever happens to really make you care about either. The game does feature a free patch to add back all the censored content, so anyone looking for a nukige title will probably enjoy Sakura Nova. Unfortunately, those looking for a memorable story or plan on playing without the patch are likely to be disappointed. Gameplay: There are choices to be made and three different endings, but the story is a bit lacking. Graphics: Like other titles in the Sakura series the visuals are beautiful, but static. Sound: Not much to say about the music, but the voice acting is pretty good.

Enclave

Enclave

It might be a typical console port, but Enclave has enough action to keep players hooked. Don't play this one for the puzzles as you will be disappointed, but if you want some nice hacking and slashing you can't go wrong. Gameplay: A typical console port but still fun. Graphics: Very good for their time. Sound: Epic music score and decent voice acting.

Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age: Origins

While many claims have been made that this is the spiritual successor to Baldurs Gate, I think Dragon Age has enough to it to stand on its own. Its, got some flaws but overall it is a superb game that should be played by all RPG fans. Gameplay: Bioware always comes through with compelling role playing games and this one is no exception. Graphics: Clearly held back somewhat by the consoles, but still good. Sound: Great voice acting and stirring music.

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build is a thoroughly entertaining and very charming puzzle title that is suitable for players of all ages. The beautiful 2D visuals and excellent audio complements the addictive puzzle solving gameplay, which makes for a memorable experience. I would have liked to see a few more puzzles to solve, because the ones on offer are so enjoyable. This is the perfect game for when you feel like something relaxing and non-violent. Gameplay: The game is challenging and addictive without being frustrating or unfair. Graphics: Charming visuals with plenty of great touches. Sound: The soundtrack is great as are the ambient sound effects.

Leave a comment

4 × 4 =