Review: Ember

N-Fusion’s nostalgic, gorgeous love letter to classic CRPGs hits most of its notes perfectly and is one of the nicest surprises this year in terms of value for the money and how well the team has pulled off much of what it intended. 

Ember-752x430 Platform: PC (also on iOS)
Developer: N-Fusion Interactive
Publisher: 505 Games
# of Players: 1
Release Date: 9/9/2016
MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Official Site
Score: A (90%) BUY IT!

 

ember-angel 

Back in the earliest days, there was no sun and the world was dark. The heavens opened up and stars fell like beacons into the pitch black world, and they were known as “Embers”. Powerful and wise druids of a primordial race, “the Lightbringers,” roamed the land searching for this luminous matter. They performed a ritual of awakening to call the “Embers” out of their deep sleep. Suddenly the world became bright, and the veil of darkness was lifted. The Embers were the embodiment of magical flame, light, and life, but as word spread about the sheer power of the Embers, they came to be hunted and captured…and so the War for Ember began…

 

Given this site’s moniker I’m probably the last person who should be reviewing Ember, as I fell head over heels for the game after first seeing it just over two years ago at a 505 Games media event. Back then, it was an iOS exclusive and after spending time chatting with N-Fusion’s Jeff Birns and seeing the game in action, I was all set to drop my non-Apple stance and throw good money into taking the iPlunge. Fortunately, my brain started slapping itself in the face, which got me to ask if the game was coming to other platforms. Flash forward to the game hitting Steam first, followed by iOS a few days later and yours truly sinking a few dozen hours into the PC version, loving every nostalgic minute.

You play as a freshly revived Lightbringer, brought back to life after a lengthy period of interment in order to save a pretty troubled land called Domus from destruction. Yes, the game deliberately checks off a long list of CRPG tropes with slight amnesia, bantering siblings, a bad pirate gone good and others swirling through the plot. But this is exactly the sort of game that’s been made by a team who knows what it’s doing and it’s been done so well that everything’s more than acceptable once you get it. Or get over it, if you’re one of the wags who goes into every game expecting “innovation” from everything you touch. That said, the game works excellently as a casual to hardcore play because you get to control how easy to difficult your own experience will be.

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What The .dll? Or: Hot Ember Code Giveaway, Back On Track!

ember-riddle-me-thisOh. Brother. And so, it took me three days or so to figure out that the registry cleaning and other maintenance I did on the laptop and/or Microsoft’s fiddly ding-crack wizzle Windows 10 being an unhelpful junk pile of coding somehow removed the .dll file certain games use to start up. Guess which game in particular WOULD NOT RUN at all and made me think it missed its launch day? Yep. Sure, I popped onto Steam to finally find people playing and commenting away. But I figured my early build was having issues of some sort.

Well, that actually wasn’t the case… Continue reading

Ember: Waiting For My New Flame (And Yours) To Return…

ember-bandits 

“Hey! There’s supposed to be an Ember review up already!”

Well, there would be, but the game isn’t back up Steam after getting carted away for some tweaking and having its release date shifted to sometime today. Amusingly enough, I got about five or six hours in over the last weekend and before the game’s temporary removal, but for some reason the game clock kept running. When I checked in at some point Monday to pop back into the game with my notes, it not only wasn’t running, I saw my time was a whopping 27 hours. Eek. I could have sworn I shut my laptop down a few times over the weekend, so I’ve no clue as to what happened.

Oh, look! The launch trailer!

Anyway, from what I’ve played so far… I say it’s a buy AND a bargain at $9.99 Or: YES, you should buy this if you’re an old school CRPG fan or a new fan who want a gorgeous game world to explore full of life and depth (as in the game world is lively and the books here are great little lore reads). My full review is going to be up once the game is back up and I sink some more time into it. I kind of left things at a crucial moment and I hope my save files are intact. Back in a bit. I had Eventbrite plans for today, but just tossed them out a window here. Hey, it takes a lot to get me to pass up free alcohol. This game’s one of those things.

Back in a bit. Funny, it’s Free Stuff Friday, too. I have two Ember codes here to give out, but not until the game goes live. Drop a VERY short note in the comments if you’re interested, and I’ll pick two of you later today. Er, once the game is back up. Yes, you need a STEAM account if you don’t have one yet.

Remember EMBER? PC, 7th September!

Ember-752x430

Wow. For a while, I thought N-Fusion Interactive’s gorgeous looking mobile RPG EMBER was dead and buried. Snuffed out like a campfire. Ash, even. Well, my flame has been rekindled into a super-hot sun thanks to that day-making email from 505 Games telling me the game is not only arriving after such a long wait, it’s coming to PC via Steam on September 7 for a mere $9.99. Wow. SOLD. This trailer dropped today – let’s take a look:

SOLD. Here’s a handy screenshot gallery to eyeball as well:


N-Fusion’s lovely proprietary engine makes for a beautiful game, doesn’t it? Yes, there’s a review coming on launch day, so stay tuned… and YES, go wishlist this one and keep an eyeball peeled for when it pops up for purchase.

 

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Ember Update: N-Fusion’s Late Baby Gets Bigger and Better


 

EMBER logoYes, Ember was supposed to be out last fall, but as CEO and creative director Jeff Birns explained at 505 Games recent NYC event, the team at N-Fusion has been a bit busy making things even better. The game looked fantastic when I first saw it, but it’s even more gorgeously detailed and as noted in my previous article, the best-looking isometric RPG on any device. Many new areas have been added, older areas have gotten changes and parts that needed work have indeed been worked on. Ten years of work and a proprietary engine that won’t quit go a long way in realizing a dream, is all I’ll say about the art and vast, carefully detailed open world players will get to explore.

I’ll even go out on a limb to say it definitely gives some PC role-playing games of any era a run for their money. Apple clearly has an exclusive to be proud of (the Steam version will most likely be released at some point after the iOS version), but how do you market such an amazing game on a device where most of its games really haven’t been marketed to the masses like AAA console games are?

Ember Screen 1 (Custom)

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Ember: N-Fusion & 505 Games Bring a High-Quality RPG to the Mobile Masses

EMBER logo ember_01 New Jersey-based N-Fusion Games’ Ember is probably the best looking and most ambitious mobile RPG to date, period. But is the phone and tablet market truly ready for what will be a visually rich and potentially battery draining game experience such as this? That’s one of the questions that went swirling through my brain as I saw the upcoming game in action at a recent 505 Games event. Sure, there are a digital ton of JRPGs, action, puzzle, card battle and other hybrid role playing games out there. But Ember’s scope is more of the Baldur’s Gate meets Ultima meets Morrowind school of storytelling and gameplay. This will be a massive, deep, and detailed world where anything and everything can change based not only on what each player does, but how the AI interacts with itself as you play… Continue reading