Review: Embers of Mirrim


Split personality

Embers of Mirrim is all about a griffin-like creature that can split into two halves, light and dark. It's a fitting metaphor for the gameplay found within: though it has one central mechanic, it explores that idea in a lot of different ways to varying degrees of success. There are some clever sections, but for every bright spot there is something tedious or frustrating to deal with.

It's commendable that it tries to keep the experience fresh by doing so many different things, but it could have been cleaner and sharper with a more focused design.

Embers of Mirrim (PC, PS4, Switch [reviewed], Xbox One) 
Developer: Creative Bytes Studios
Publisher: Creative Bytes Studios
Released: May 23, 2017 (PC, PS4, Xbox One), December 7, 2017 (Switch)
MSRP: $19.99

The story follows a set of fantasy animals, so it's told without any dialogue. To that end, it leaves some room for interpretation. It's a little hard to follow near the beginning; I initially thought one character was a sort of benevolent ruler of two kingdoms right up until my cat-bird was fighting it.

It ends up being an allegory on race and acceptance. The griffins found in this world come in two flavors: the light ones can glide to make longer jumps than normal and the dark ones can slam the ground to open up new pathways. At first the two factions don't seem to trust one another, but our hero is a fusion of the two, gaining both abilities and eventually bringing all the cat-birds together.

The fusion also imbues a third ability, which Embers of Mirrim is centered around. At any time, the main character can split into two "embers," which can float freely for short periods of time. Each one is controlled by its own thumbstick and most challenges require the player to control both at the same time independently.

For the environmental puzzle sections, it hits a good balance. Most of the necessary mental focus is on how to solve something, not on the actual execution. The more action-based sections (especially toward the end) stray a bit too far into frustrating territory; my brain is just not set up to manipulate the two embers precisely in non-symmetrical patterns.

Scattered throughout the world are glyphs to find, which offer lower-stress optional challenges. With no penalty for failure, these feel more like an exploration reward to break up the rest of the action than a chore that needs to be done. Also, there's a Cool S in one of them.

On the more tedious side are the few mazes found during the adventure. The two embers can never be too far from one another, so while the mazes themselves are fairly simple, the trick is in finding the right spots to hold one while maneuvering the other. It's a cute idea, but one was plenty. The second and third mazes don't introduce anything new; they're just slow sections to be ground through and forgotten.

So there's a lot to like in Embers of Mirrim, but there's a lot to dislike too. The straight actions sections are fine, the straight puzzle sections are good, but when it combines the two it kind of falls apart. The exploration is worthwhile, but the maze sections are boring and unnecessary.

Like the main character, I'm of two minds about it. Thinking back on it there were pieces I really enjoyed. But it was also the kind of game I couldn't play for more than a half hour at a time. Even when I was enjoying it, I could feel it overstaying its welcome. It's decent in short bursts, but marathoning it would just expose its warts even further.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

You are logged out. Login | Sign up


Embers of Mirrim reviewed by Darren Nakamura



Slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy it a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.
How we score:  The Destructoid reviews guide


Darren Nakamura
Darren NakamuraAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Darren is a scientist during the day. He has been a Destructoid community member since 2006, joining the front page as a contributor in 2011. While he enjoys shooters, RPGs, platformers, strateg... more + disclosures



Also on Destructoid: Embers of Mirrim   (2)   From our database:

  • More related stories
    Filed under... #Indie #PC #Platform Games #PS4 #Puzzle Games #Reviews #Xbox One



    You're not expected to always agree, but do please keep cool and never make it personal. Report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community team. Also, on the right side of a comment you can flag nasty comments anonymously (we ban users dishing bad karma). For everything else, contact us!