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Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore Review

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Are you in the mood for a “brand new interactive action adventure game”? You are? Great, because the latest from Seedy Eye Software and Limited Run Games is that of Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore; a game that is sold as just the interactive action adventure you are after. But do we actually need another retro styled platformer on the big black box? I mean, it’s not like we are short of that type of game…

Arzette the Jewel of Faramore review 1
Can you help Arzette?

Every good game needs a good story, and while the tale on offer here isn’t the pinnacle of the narrative arts, it does give us a reason to go out into the game world. 

We play as Arzette, the princess of the kingdom of Faramore, and ten years ago we put an end to an evil being called Daimur who wanted to take over the world. Well, nothing lasts forever, and now Daimur is back. What’s worse is he has split the titular Jewel of Faramore into five pieces, giving each to a trusted lieutenant. In order to stop him, Arzette must travel the world, finding and defeating these lieutenants, reassembling the Jewel and finally putting Daimur back in his box. What could be easier?

Graphically, Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore is certainly pretty to look at. The backdrops to the various levels are all hand drawn, whilst the sprites for Arzette and the various enemies we face have been nicely designed. Both the NPCs that we interact with and the bosses we have to fight are fully voice acted, complete with animated cutscenes for the various conversations that play out. Those cutscenes certainly have a “distinctive” style, reminding of the manic Saturday morning cartoons that used to be around when I was a younger man – crazy amounts of energy, wild animation style and massive overacting. I have to say, while I admire the work that has gone into these cutscenes, the style is really not to my taste – I’d have preferred them to have been reined in a little and not be quite as mental as they are. Still, I’m sure they will float many boats, just not mine. 

The audio found in the game is also pretty good, with nice music, the aforementioned fully voiced acting, and various combat sound effects all working very well indeed. All in all, nothing really to moan about here, but you may find that art style to be highly subjective. 

Arzette the Jewel of Faramore review 3
Pick a door, any door.

Gameplay is where we finally end up, and obviously this is the acid test for a brand new interactive action adventure game, isn’t it? Well, it is pretty standard fare, to be honest. 

Arzette starts most of the levels at the left hand side of a screen, with various platforms and enemies in her way. She needs to defeat them, getting to the right hand side of the level in the process. Thankfully, Arzette is armed with the very latest in smart weapons, apparently, and while her sword will certainly cut down enemies, it doesn’t hurt friendly characters. It seems an odd way to start a conversation though; running up to someone and smacking them with a lump of metal. But this is the mechanic in use. 

As we explore the levels, we find various NPCs who want our help – whether that be someone who wants to make his home in town or an inventor looking for fairy dust; helping these people will help us in turn, gifting new weapons or hints about what to do. Finding a fairy is a good thing as well in certain levels, as they will refill our health, helping immensely. 

In Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore you’ll get to explore the various levels, coming across barriers that we cannot get past. These take the form of coloured blocks, and as progress through the game is made comes the need to find ways to remove said barriers. The answer to the problem seems to be a gun that an inventor gives us. This is capable of firing different coloured bullets, powered by the souls of enemies. When we get it, it can only fire red bullets, but as we go on, you can be sure that it will get better. This adds a certain amount of a Metroidvania flavour to Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore, as backtracking to earlier levels, upon the removal of barriers brings new items. 

There is also a collectible element to things, picking up candles in order to remove other cursed barriers in the levels, which usually leads to a boss fight. There are also bonus levels to find, coming across as the most mad of levels with weird objectives, such as finding the exit in the dark. These are entirely optional, but give a good amount of in-game currency for managing to fulfil the criteria, so why not?

Arzette the Jewel of Faramore review 2
The art is pretty distinctive

It means that Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore works well. The art style is a bit like Marmite in that you’ll either love it or not, but the bones of the game are strong whilst the action on offer is very good. It isn’t easy – lose your health and it’s either back to a checkpoint or the start of the level for you – and that’s not helped by the enemies who seem to be pretty psychic, but learning to deal with them is part of the fun. 

All in all, you could do a lot worse than to give Arzette a run out – even if it means closing your eyes during the cutscenes!

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Distinctive art style
  • Lots to do and find
  • Challenging action
Cons:
  • The art in the cutscenes
  • Dark levels are full of seemingly unfair deaths
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Limited Run Games
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, Switch
  • Release date and price -14 February 2024 | £16.74
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Distinctive art style</li> <li>Lots to do and find</li> <li>Challenging action</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>The art in the cutscenes</li> <li>Dark levels are full of seemingly unfair deaths</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Limited Run Games</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, Switch <li>Release date and price -14 February 2024 | £16.74</li> </ul>Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore Review
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