Release date: September 24, 2020
Players: 1 player
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle
In his last days, Jesper’s grandfather tells him a story that seems marred with deep regret. Giving him a mysterious bracelet, he’s tasked with returning it to its rightful place on the island that was his grandfather’s boyhood home. With few details, Jesper strives to go to the island in the North and complete the task given to him, taking his grandgather’s strong convictions to heart.
Embracelet is an adventure game with point-and-click style mechanics. You can move Jesper with the right stick and control a reticle with the left, which allows you to interact with various objects. Exploration is key, finding different clues and items to help Jesper move forward and uncover more of the mystery of the bracelet. I did not struggle at all with the controls here, and while Jesper does move a little slowly, it wasn’t at all vexing or detrimental to my play experience.
The game is littered with various puzzles that can be solved using the magical bracelet’s powers, and Jesper himself must make decisions in the way that he interacts with others — while there are no true wrong moves, the way you treat people does impact the world around you, and this can affect dialogue between characters. While there are some mild platforming elements, there’s nothing too challenging, so casual gamers can really enjoy this game to the fullest in knowing that the intensity is pretty low overall. Where the game truly shines is its absolutely endearing story.
With the setting of the game being in Norway, you get a glimpse into life in the region that does a great job at illustrating real people and real interactions. The characters feel full of life, with rich history and actual emotion, which is amazing for a single-person developer to accomplish. While the pacing of the story does get a bit chaotic toward the end, what you end up experiencing is incredibly rewarding overall.
The environments and characters are illustrated with a minimalist feel, low polygons but with bright colors and good textures that make the game feel alive. The world you get to explore never looks bad at all, and exploring the island and interacting with the world around you is easy thanks to the good shadow detail and lighting.
-Wonderful coming of age story
-Casual laid-back gameplay
-Pacing issues toward the end
Embracelet is an excellent pickup for anyone who enjoys games with heavy story. The world is crafted well and comes across entirely human in regards to emotions, growing up, and even heavier topics like death and sexuality. The relationships all feel completely natural, and Jesper is easy to identify with as a teenager that wants to explore and have freedom, but still has a sense of duty and an eagerness to do the right thing. Players will get a unique window into Norwegian culture, and perhaps a bit of a reminder of what its like growing up.