Super Ember Kaboom is a breath of fresh air. It harks back to a colourful, simpler time for 2D platformers where you could just smash blocks, bam enemies and speedrun a level like a boss. It doesn’t take itself seriously nor outstay its welcome and for that, it makes a good impression.
Playing as Ember, a foxgirl with powers, you will be running right across various pixelated levels aiming to collect up to four gems per level and making it to the flag alive. Each level after the first few will have a checkpoint if you miss a jump or get hit a few times but lives are handed out like free condoms at a health clinic. You’ll have to try to die to catch up as every 100 fruit gives a new life and fruit is everywhere. Ember can also jump (pressing longer goes higher), wall jump, attack and bounce attack.
Its the attack where things get fun as Flame your sidekick can be charged into different elements via powerups. Powerups are everywhere too and so give it ten seconds max and you’ll have a new one. Fire sends a fireball out, strike is lightning but it hits mid screen, freeze does just that but is short range and light is a ranged attack. You also have air which lets you surge forward too which can helpful for a missed step on the usually easy platforming elements. All this chaos allows you to feel very overpowered and in honesty you are. Super Ember Kaboom is easy. It can trip you up though as powerups often break up blocks and later in the game most of the bridges and platforms are made up of blocks so a bit of restraint can save your bacon.
Levels vary in theme and monsters, constantly dripping new ones to bash. There are levels that go vertically too, feeling like a speed climb and levels that must be completed in under 60 seconds. Other levels have a constantly moving camera to stay in. The two variants of levels that did cause a couple of deaths for me were ones where the level was reduced to a 2 colour palette so you didn’t know quite what was lurking on platforms and the variants where an evil Ember chases you and hits you if she catches you. Speed is of the essence! Bosses are sadly very easy and quite cumbersome with their moves. Only one late boss caused me a death or two and they are simple fodder to kill.
You can complete Super Ember Kaboom is just over an hour but its a joyful hour of feeling overpowered and effervescent. Between the speed, the fluid controls, the hyper soundtrack (admittedly short music loops and sound effects that audibly peak), the colours and the onscreen explosions – the short stay and ease of it all actually worked. Super Ember Kaboom won’t be a game that you’ll be remembering for decades to come but its a jolly good time whilst you play it and left me smiling throughout. A happy little indie.
Review copy provided by developer.
Super Ember Kaboom
A fast paced platformer full of fluid gameplay and charm. Just a bit on the easy side.
Fast, fluid gameplay and controls.
Goes out of its way to make everything explosive, loud, bold and colourful.
Different attacks constantly thrown your way mean you don't go ten seconds without something switching up.
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