[Beyond PlayStation] Embracelet Review
Embracelet developed and self-published by Mattis Folkestad – a.k.a. Machineboy – is an adventure puzzle game unlike anything else on Nintendo Switch. Check our Embracelet review!
Embracelet from indie Machineboy stars Jesper, a Norwegian teen who has been gifted a mysterious bracelet by his grandfather. Jesper is tasked with uncovering the origins of the trinket, so he sets out for the small island community where his grandfather grew up. What follows is one of the most heartfelt, engaging, narrative-driven games I have ever played. If you only made it this far and love a great story, please STOP reading and go play this game on Nintendo Switch!
First impressions are important, and if I’m to be honest, Embracelet’s is not a very strong one. The low-poly 3D models, clunky controls, and difficult camera do very little to draw players in during the start of this journey. I implore you, stick with it. Eventually, these limitations blend into the background of a beautifully told tale. The bracelet given to Jesper possesses hidden properties and allows the player to interact with the puzzle elements of the game. The story that Mattis Folkestad weaves around these simple mechanics is one that I can recommend without hesitation. Once Jesper makes it to Slepp, the place where his grandfather is from, the world opens up.
To be fair, the world of Embracelet does not ACTUALLY open up. The controls are still what you would come to expect from an adventure game. What does open up is the story. It is incredibly difficult to review Embracelet, as I wouldn’t want to spoil anything about this experience. Each interaction that Jesper has on Slepp offers dialogue choices that shape the story into one that will appeal to any player who wishes to feel like their choices have consequences. The overall narrative is not changed much by these choices, but it makes for a more personal experience.
The music in this game, oh, the music. This is one of the most serene, tranquil games I have ever played. There are genuine Zen moments where I just set the controller down, listened to the soundtrack, and took in the polygonal scenery around me. The music perfectly sets the mood for each scene and is beautifully mixed. One particular sequence does stand out, but it’s something I don’t want to spoil it here so that you can get a chance to experience it.
I do need to bring up one a couple of issues in particular that did hold back this one a bit. I was stuck infinitely running a couple of times after interacting with certain objects from a distance. One segment towards the end of the journey was really difficult to get through, as the object I was to interact with was quite small, and it was difficult to realize you needed to interact with it. Those issues aside, this is still a game that is a must-play on Nintendo’s console.
Embracelet tells a heartwarming story about love, friendship, loss, and discovery. While there are some technical limitations that hold this experience back, the narrative is something that must be experienced. This Nordic treat weaves a tale that deserves your attention, and it is proof of how narrative design is so integral to a great game. At $11.99 USD on the Nintendo Switch eshop, this is a must-play for fans of strong narrative adventures.
This Embracelet review is based on the Nintendo Switch copy provided by Machineboy.