Greak Memories of Azur
Credit: Team17

Greak: Memories of Azur has a lot going for it. Beautiful, hand-drawn graphics, solid controls, clever puzzles that actually make you work for a solution, and an interesting storyline about three separated siblings needing to be reunited. The design team clearly put a lot of love into this one. I wish that made it easier to recommend.

Greak: Memories of Azur has plenty of potential, albeit unfulfilled potential. The game is beautiful and stunning with hand-drawn graphics, challenging puzzles that encourage hard work and deliberation to find a solution, a solid and simple control scheme, and an intriguing plot following three separated siblings seeking to be reunited. It is abundantly clear that passion and love have gone into every aspect of this title, but something just does not click.

Under Siege

You start the game as Greak, the youngest of three. The trio are members of a magical race called the Courines, who are under attack and fleeing from their homes due to the invasive Urlags. Your fundamental mission is to find your two older siblings and escape together.

Reuniting Greak with Adara and Raydel is an arduous task, however, with a multitude of enemies, puzzles, and traps standing in Greak’s way. The player must use the individual abilities of all three siblings to escape the land of Azur.

Starting Off Well

In the early going, Greak is mostly a pretty standard side-scrolling action title. You start in a small village where you can help the locals with all kinds of tasks as many of them seek to flee these lands, or you can work toward your primary goal of reuiniting with your siblings. While Greak is small, he can double jump and is pretty quick – not to mention the fact that he wields a sharp blade.

Combat in the game is brutal and fast-paced and, consequently, you should get used to dying. Once you start to gain weapons such as a sword and bow, however, you can start to acclimate to the gameplay and find your rhythm.

A Sibling Thing

It is when you start reuniting with your siblings that things begin to change. Each sibling expectedly has different skills and styles and you can switch between them any time to make use of these differing abilities. Without spoiling the game too much, Greak cannot reach certain areas in puzzles while certain traits the other siblings possess will afford you the opportunity to reach said areas.

Greak has clever puzzles and I found myself mentally challenged to consider what the best approach would be. While using different characters for different situations is certainly not a new concept, it does feel unique in Greak.

Less Is More

What brings Greak down in regard to the multiple character concept is the combat; standard enemies are not too much of an issue, but when you get into boss battles you will find that using your primary character whilst simultaneously trying to protect the other two is an almost impossible task to accomplish.

Your options to control the characters at once does not help matters. You can hold a button when the characters are close together to make the others follow whoever you control, but while this works in basic environments, it usually falls apart during combat or during any significant platforming section.

The characters do not move at the same speed or have the same jumps, meaning that one of them will often end up falling behind or missing a jump and falling to a lower area. When this happens, you have to switch to them or relinquish control of their actions and readjust your main character. This is not the end of the world when you are running around, but against a boss, it often means game over.

Could Use Some Company

So many of Greak’s issues could have been mitigated by a co-op option. True, it would be just as annoying for solo players, but at least players would have a method of playing it without such troubles. The lack of a way to play with others feels like a huge missed opportunity.

Final Thoughts

Greak has untapped potential, but it is a stunning and quirky title let down by its ambition and lack of execution. Getting past the combat can be arduous but at the very least you will find your patience rewarded by a hearty and pleasing experience.

VERDICT: 6.5/10

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