Ellipsis is the seventh studio album by Scottish alternative rock band Biffy Clyro, it’s also an action-packed avoid ’em up from Salmi Games. For anyone still unsure, this is a review for the recent Steam release of the latter. What is an Avoid ’em up? well, it’s pretty self-explanatory so I’m surprised you needed to ask. In Ellipsis you are tasked with guiding a ship through a mysterious universe while avoiding, spikes, lasers, and increasingly more difficult obstacles.
Ellipsis is a rather deceiving game, on the surface, it looks a little simple with levels taking place on a single screen and your ‘ship’ being a nothing more than a circle. This is no accident as Salmi Games have strived to create a minimalistic game that almost anyone can pick up and play and it really works in it’s favor. The abstract shapes pop with vivid colors which, along with the comet-like tail of your ship creates a brilliant, neon, visual style that is very satisfying. There is also zero text here, it’s up to you to explore the game at your own pace, this may appear confusing to some but the game is great at subtly letting you know what you should be doing without screaming so in your face. Something refreshing in this day and age.
Ellipsis is being marketed as an “avoid-em-up” as I mentioned before and this is definitely the best way to sum up the overall gameplay. Your ship is simply your mouse pointer and you have to glide it around the screen, hitting and collecting other circles to unlock an exit route whilst avoiding many video game tropes such as lasers, spikes, and homing missile-esque red triangles. This proves easy to pick up but hard to master as the target circles you are collecting are filled with blue dots, and if you are not accurate you will pop the circle sending the dots out in random directions, meaning you will have to collect them individually costing you time.
The scoring system adds replayability but also some minor frustrations, each level has the possibility of 5 stars, four of which you get for collecting the target bubbles and the 5th earned by doing so in a timely manner. I found it easy to get the bubbles, but not doing it in the allotted time just as I found it easy to get out the exit in time but missing out on some of those pesky dots. Whilst it can be frustrating it’s also incredibly gratifying when you do hit the target and get that perfect score and I found myself repeating the same level a lot to get the score I wanted. The instant replay also helps with keeping you stuck in that all to familiar loop of just one more go….
It doesn’t come as a surprise to me to learn that this game was released last year on mobiles, the whole time I was playing it I couldn’t help shake the feeling that it would be much more suited to that platform however that is purely based on preference alone as this version of the game is by no means inferior and controls nicely with the mouse. The steam version also boasts touch controls for those who have a touch screen, but I didn’t get to try that out.
The Verdict: Elipsis starts out simple and easy before slowly involving into an addictive and fast paced game without you even noticing. Being both a quick pick up and play game as well as one you can lose hours too proves to be a winner. With 150+ levels and a level creator packed, this game will keep you going for a while.
- Clean minimalistic design and high replay value.
- Lack of initial direction may put some off.