They say time is relative to the developer. And it was about a year ago when I first saw news of Ember being created. The main reason it caught my interest was the heavy influence of Ultima on the design team. It was intended to be a mobile game and available at the end of 2015.
Well, that kinda, sorta, never really happened. Instead, the game is available now, but for the desktop not as a mobile game. Ember was released over the weekend on Steam and it is a hefty 4GB download.
I grabbed a copy for less than $10 and although I haven’t spent huge amounts of time in the world, I can say it’s both fun and impressive. And interestingly, it does feel and play like an Ultima title.
In typical style, I looted crypts and rifled through the pockets on my slain enemies. While they don’t travel with much, every little bit helps, and I turned in all that junk for shiny coins.
And in the same familiar sense, the goal is to gain XP and use those points to level up Strength, Dexterity, Intellect and Vitality. It should also come as no surprise that you get to play as either the warrior with blades, the archer with ranged weapons, or the mage with wands. I chose blades and worked my way out of the Barrows and up to the main world. From there the quests and hazards begin and I will soon evolve into a formidable force, or die trying.
With my limited view of the game so far, there are some very familiar mechanics. Like older games, you bring along your bedroll and sleep to regain health and vitality. There is some crafting such as cooking meat, fish and chicken to sustain you on the long journey. There are encounters with bears, wolves and stags so you can gather hides and make clothes, or sell them for money. You start off with one companion, but can find others to join you as you quest deeper. You interact with plenty of people and decide how you want to handle those encounters. Hmm, this all seems so familiar, like another series I’ve played before.
And if you look a little deeper, you might see some other similarities to games currently under development. Is it me or does one of the characters from Ember bear a resemblance to the Lich of SotA?
Anyway, Ember is a single player adventure game that I’m quite taken with so far. The mechanics are simple and understandable. The main focus of the game is exploration and interaction. The combat is simple, but mixes in special abilities that should keep things interesting. I’m amused by the crafting and look forward to the types of weapons I can make for myself.
I’m also thrilled that a game of this scope and quality is a mere $10. In this age where everything hits the store with a price tag of $60, whether it deserves it or not, it’s nice to see a game that you can take a chance on without emptying your pockets and becoming a pauper.
Ember is currently on sale for $8.49 until September 16. We are seeing a nice batch of RPGs coming to market and this is well worth the look.