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

fault milestone one

fault milestone one

Thanks to its great setting and characters, fault milestone one is a very enjoyable and gripping kinetic novel. The story is pretty self-contained, but it does dedicate a lot of time to explaining the unique concepts of the science fantasy world the characters inhabit. The game also features quite a mature storyline, but without resorting to nudity or fanservice which is quite refreshing. If you enjoy kinetic novels with interesting characters and deep storylines you will enjoy fault milestone one. Gameplay: There is only a single choice in the game, but the gripping storyline will keep you interested. Graphics: Great character art although the backgrounds are a little limited. Sound: The game doesn’t feature any speech, but has a really good soundtrack and sound effects.

Solar Shifter EX

Solar Shifter EX

With its non-stop action and intense visuals, it is hard to believe that Solar Shifter EX is the work of a solo developer. The game is quite tough, but fans of bullet hell shooters will enjoy the challenge. The ability to shift around the screen definitely adds to the experience and while not perfect, Solar Shifter EX has a lot to offer fans of the genre. Gameplay: Very tough, but the inclusion of checkpoints makes the challenge more manageable. Graphics: Crank it up to “Extreme” and marvel at all the detail. Sound: Features some nice tunes, but the sound effects lacks a little punch.

Death’s Hangover

Death's Hangover

Help Death to take back the souls stolen by Bastard Dracula in this Breakout style game by Retro Army Limited. It features plenty of different levels, useful power-ups, and some big bosses. The game is easy to pick up and play, but finding all of the souls can be a challenge. The eighteen different endings, two-player mode, and level editor boost the replay value, though, and overall the game is a decent choice for fans of the genre. Gameplay: Challenging and entertaining. Graphics: The pixel art visuals look great. Sound: Decent sound effects and music.

Fortix

Fortix

Cheap and short but you'll definitely get value for your money. Fortix is a variation on a age old concept but adds a few nice twists of its own and is the perfect "in-between" time waster. You won't be spending hours playing it and will probably get most of the achievements on your first play through, but at the price it's being offered there's no reason not to pick it up. Gameplay: A very simple concept, but quite fun. Graphics: About as Indie as they come, but has a certain charm to it. Sound: Catchy but limited.

Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness

Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness

The Ultima series provided the world with some truly groundbreaking games over the years and it is great to see the humble roots of such an excellent series. This EGA version has been given a new visual coat of paint compared to the monochromatic original, but still looks archaic compared to modern titles. However, the gameplay, although simplistic, can still entertain if you are able to look past the limitations. Whether you want to play it for nostalgic reasons or simply see what all the fuss was about, Ultima 1 should definitely be owned by all retro fans and RPG aficionados. Gameplay: Truly great for its time, but obviously it is very simplistic by modern standards. Graphics: Once again good for its time, but time hasn’t been too kind. Sound: Nothing more than noise.

Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X

As long as you get your hands on the XL version of Mortal Kombat X you are in for a great time. The game features plenty of characters and enough content to keep solo players or online multi-player fans busy for a long time. The story mode was not quite as compelling this time round and the roster lacked a couple of fan favorites, but the visuals look great and the fighting is as brutal as ever. The gore is also a bit more realistic now compared to the previous game, especially in regards to character injuries during fights, although the occasional goofy fatalities still crop up. All in all, this is a great game for fans of the series and a solid title for all fans of the genre. Gameplay: Fast, bloody and filled with plenty of challenges. Graphics: Plenty of character as well as background detail. Sound: Decent voice acting and some nice tunes.

Leave a comment

nineteen − 13 =