I really wanted to love Greak. Like really wanted to love it, but I just don’t. I played the demo at PAX Online last year and had a great time, though I did note the clunky controls when controlling multiple characters. I was hopeful that would be improved, it wasn’t. It is the most frustrating thing about what could be an excellent game. And, for me, is a show stopper.
Greak is full of bravado with a soundtrack that makes you want to go on a dangerous adventure! This is lucky, because danger lurks around every corner in Azur, a once prosperous place, now taken over by the evil invading Urlag. Previously, the Courines held steady and defended their land, but they grow weary and their homes are getting taken over. Escape is now the only option.
While everyone is preparing to leave, Greak has become separated from his brother and sister and is on a mission to find them. Help the people of the village, while also exploring lands both beautiful and ugly, and reunite with your siblings once more.
Can a good story save bad controls?
In the beginning, Greak is great! It’s full of adventure, exploration and beauty. I loved finding out more about the world playing as Greak, but then we found his sister Adara, and what was previously fun became tedious. In most games where you control multiple characters, you switch between them. You do this in Greak too, but you still control both at the same time. This is done with a mimic button, so they jump and run together, except when they don’t. The devs have made some changes to improve this, but it still doesn’t feel good to play. They stop running together whenever you interact with something, so you’re constantly having to reconnect them. Or, if you’re playing with the default setting, you’ll have to hold down LT the entire time to keep them together.
While it felt a little clunky, I didn’t mind this during the platforming parts of the game, but this was horrible for the boss fights. You have to keep an eye on all characters and their health, while fighting the boss. It can be difficult enough to replenish health with the character in focus but is even more so when you need to switch and feed your other characters. All of this while trying to fight a boss.
Unfortunately, the story, art and soundtrack couldn’t make me persevere with Greak. At least, not right now. I gave it multiple attempts and waited for updates. Yes, the updates did help, but not enough for me to want to struggle with frustration through the game.
Part of me is hopeful that, in the future, Greak will become local co-op. It would be perfect for multiple players, but unfortunately, as a single-player game, the clunky controls make for a poor platformer.
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Platforms: PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, Playstation, Xbox
Genre: Action, Adventure, puzzle platformer, 2D platformer
** Find The Strawberry received a free key for Greak from Press Engine . All opinions are my own **