Thinking Outside the Box
Beyond Ynth, FDG Entertainment’s newly released puzzle platformer was in development for over a year, and it shows – from the game’s innovative and finely tuned central mechanic, to its hand-drawn, storybook style cutscenes and original score, this screams class at the top of its titchy lungs.
Playing as Kribl, a heroic little ladybug who embarks on an epic quest to bring light back to the Kingdom of Kriblonia by retrieving dazzling diamonds from the clutches of the Four Dark Spiders of the Apocalypse, the aim of the game is to navigate your way through levels collecting gems as you go. Which, if nothing else, certainly makes a change from rescuing Princesses!
This emphasis on originality also extends to the gameplay, which forgoes platform game’s routine run ‘n’ jump scenario, and instead sees you traversing environments strewn with a series of crates and boxes by manipulating them from within. Four on-screen buttons enable Kribl to roll boxes by shoving them over, and to hop from platform to platform.
An average level consists of attempting to get our diminutive hero from A to B by scuttling along the lush 2D environment, pushing, hopping, and sliding his way through the fiendishly devised obstacle courses. A pretty herculean task for any bug, if you ask me.
The game requires you to adopt a trial and error style of play, memorize the layout of levels, and, if you’re anything like me, hit the retry button often. Honestly, Beyond Ynth does get incredibly difficult, and it can be irritating having to restart stages over and over again, however in-depth tutorials and the ability to skip levels you get stuck on goes a long way to easing the frustration factor and ensuring the game never feels like too much of a slog.
That said, an in-game “rewind button” that allowed one to erase mistakes on the fly might be a useful helping hand, and something FDG might want to consider implementing in a future update.
As you work you’re way through the game, Kribl travels through a number of different lands. Each of these environments brings its own set of potential hazards and impacts significantly on the gameplay. For example in the ice world you must avoid freezing to death, while in the desert region being scorched by the sun is a distinct possibility.
It’s evident a lot of love has gone into crafting Beyond Ynth, the game is polished within an inch of its life, its lofty production values impress, and the innovative platforming/puzzling mechanic lends it a truly unique feel. At an estimated running time of 15 hours, which takes in 80 diverse levels and four environments, this title boasts a humongous amount of content, while replaying levels in order to collect diamonds, medals, and Openfeint achievments means that even after you’ve completed the main game, there’s still plenty for Kribl to do.
iFanzine Verdict: With Beyond Ynth FDG Entertainment have created a mini-masterpiece; little Kribl’s adventure is hugely entertaining and utterly unique. Be warned though, the unforgiving puzzles aren’t for the faint of heart, and as such Beyond Ynth might not be to everyone’s taste.