A Christmas Miracle this is Not
As someone who appreciates a good Metroidvania and was intrigued by the Victorian Christmas setting, I had high hopes for Ebenezer and the Invisible World. However, after many play sessions that mostly ended with the game crashing, I can confidently say this is one Christmas miracle that simply fails to deliver.
From the very first jump, I found Ebenezer's movement felt floaty and imprecise. Controls lacked the tight responsiveness required for platforming challenges and combat encounters. What should be satisfying combat devolved into mashing attack and hoping your hit would register before the enemy struck. Bosses in particular dragged on far too long due to this unrefined system.
Yes, there are weapons to find, abilities to unlock through some tedious backtracking fetch quests and trinkets that give you additional buffs, but they still don't do anything to make this game, you know, actually fun to play.
Unfortunately, lackluster gameplay is compounded by a hollow open world that fails to employ standard Metroidvania smarts. Areas did not evolve in interesting ways through new discoveries or abilities. Shortcuts were scant, backtracking excessive. This discouraged full exploration and made progression a slog. Without rewarding secrets or shortcuts, it's just a stale trudge from one fetch quest to the next.
Constant crashing on PS5 was the nail in the coffin, resulting in multiple lost progressions. Saving is limited, meaning wasted time redoing entire sections. Even if these sections were actually fun to redo, the number of times I was forced to actually replay them was way too much and, in the end, I just stopped playing it altogether.
A patch was promised on consoles, and I waited for it for the last two weeks, but it never came out. At the time of writing this review, the game was extremely unstable and prone to crashing frequently. I would make my way through some large areas filled with annoying enemies I couldn't hit most of the time, for the game to just crash when it loaded a new area or during a mini-boss fight.
While the Victorian London setting and art style had potential for atmosphere, half-baked systems undermine any enjoyment to be found. Even generous players seeking a new Christmas metroidvania game would struggle to find much Christmas cheer here. Until technical issues are resolved, Ebenezer's adventure remains best left unseen under the tree this year.
In the end, dreams of a quality Christmas Metroidvania go unfulfilled. Ebenezer and the Invisible World offers little but disappointment and frustration. Avoid this Scrooge of a game, unless a major updates arrives before Christmas. Thanks for reading!
The game was reviewed on a PS5(via BC) using a promo code provided by PR. Ebenezer and the Invisible World is out now on PlayStation, Switch, PC and Xbox.