Having received news of a game being developed that is in the same vein as TLoZ, I must admit, I got a little excited. Now I will say that nothing will ever be as good or able to replace the adventures of Link, Zelda & Ganondorf, but anything that is labelled as similar is going to intrigue me.
If anyone is like me and is adventurous when it comes to new games, then Key of Ethios will be right up your alley. KoE is not a TLoZ replica; it is a game of its own right.
Whole New World!
The game focuses on this group as they face off with an organization that’s dead set on capturing one of their companions
Now the game is an open plan 3D adventure, with beautiful sculptured world with very attractive scenery which moves from day to night and vice versa, which runs very smoothly. There is plenty to see and investigate; KoE is a joy to explore.
Like most action/adventure games the beautifully composed music changes as you approach an enemy to the battle music. The music is cheerful and light hearted at times and sets the tone. I enjoyed it that much I found myself whistling after a while.
Ready to Rumble!
Now this next bit is very fun and very reminiscent of Sonic Heroes, the ability to switch between 3 characters (3 so far); each character has their own unique abilities; Ellie has a shield which she can be used to deflect enemy attacks back at them, if timed correctly, Gil seems to be the powerhouse with his f*ck off axe! Whilst Van seems to be the agile Ninja of the group with a chain grapple similar to Link’s hook-shot.
The combat is pretty interesting with each character having strengths and weaknesses. Enemies have long range and close range attack, which adds to the battles, inviting you to change to a different character to get closer to enemies or just defeat them from long distance, thinking about each characters strong points. There is a targeting system, which is essential when combat is involved; this is uses the effective TLoZ Z-Targeting, meaning the camera will always face the enemy you are locked on.
Now the developer and mastermind behind this is Keith Farnsworth AKA Lord-McMutton. I have managed to have a quick email interview with and here are the questions and answers:
Sam(JTG): Firstly, you say that KoE is of the same vein as TLoZ, Okami & The Lost Vikings, which would you say was your key inspiration? And what about it inspired you?
Keith: It was definitely Zelda starting off; I’ve always been a big fan of fantasy adventure games, and it was the first I’d ever played, as well as the longest, series-wise. This is where the combat and some elements of the storytelling are coming from.
Later on I played through Okami, which made me realize the benefits of a well thought-out level flow and streamlined areas, so that was a big help in trimming the fat in the story and figuring out the world design.
Sam (JTG): If this is your inspiration, is it also your favourite game? If not what is?
Keith: My favourites can’t be narrowed down to one, so they’re definitely on the list. Zelda and Okami are up around the top near the Paper Mario games.
Sam (JTG): Your profile on Indie DB states that you make games, have you produced many more before KoE? The profile is a bit bleak, if do please could you send me a list?
Keith: The description there is a bit misleading, as I haven’t actually made any before; it’s more of a statement of intent, if you will. I did do some animation work for Cube Roots’ Dungeon Hearts, though.
Sam (JTG): The description of using the 3 individual abilities in tandem is very interesting, rather than relying on one do-it-all hero. It sounds very similar to Sonic Heroes is this an accurate comparison? What was, if any, your inspiration for this tactical playing style?
Keith: While not a direct inspiration, it wouldn’t surprise me if Sonic Heroes affected the mechanics subconsciously, as I had played the game a few times in the distant past. There are also the Warrior’s Orochi games from Koei that are in the same boat. Mainly, though, the game play came about as the end result of creating the characters.
The concept of the game began many, many years ago from a sketch one of the heroes for whom I decided to design a few friends. Eventually I decided to make a game out of it and settled on the character switch mechanic as a way to include the three heroes I’d previously designed.
Sam (JTG): Is there a chance of KoE making it across to other consoles? I.E. PS3, XBOX, etc.
Keith: There’s a definite chance that it could happen in the future, but at the moment, there’s no way I’d have the resources to handle such an undertaking; Porting work aside, the cost of the licensing alone is definitely prohibitive.
Sam (JTG): Your profile also states that you don Mutton Chops, now I’m a fan of the full facial beard as its cold at work! Why just the Mutton??
Keith: Aside from the fact that chops are awesome, I can’t actually grow a decent goatee. So it’s probably due to genetics that I rock the sideburns!
Sam (JTG): How many of you are working on this project?
Keith: It’s mostly just me. The only thing I can’t do is the sound and music, so I’ve got some help with that; Sam English is going to compose, and Hyperduck Sound works is going to handle the sound effects.
And That’s All Folks
KoE is the first major project of Keith Farnsworth, and its looking like a gem, its beautifully crafted with an interesting combat set up, it makes you think about which character to use rather than the usual rushing into everything with a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ hero.
KoE demo can be downloaded and trialled for yourselves, which I recommend you do!
I will be keeping a close eye on KoE, waiting for the full game as this is a very promising alternate to TLoZ.
It’s very hard to believe so far all this has been produced by one guy! Albeit he has had help with the music, still this is a massive feat!