What is the worst game you’ve ever played? Big Rigs, Shaq Fu? Maybe you remember how bad ET was on Atari, which infamously ended up in landfills due to its 5-week deadline to make and ship.
Sometimes I think there’s a charm to a really bad game, a bit like a cult movie “OHAI MARK!” they gain status overtime and almost become somewhat fondly remembered for being really bad. I think if we want to really get deep into the depths of a bad game we need to look past the hilarious glitches and bugs, awful voice acting and absurd plots. We need to find something without any soul and with Eldrador Creatures, we’ve found just that.
For the uninitiated, this game is the intellectual property of Schleich, who is a German producer of hand-painted toy figurines and accessories. These guys have been knocking about since the 1930’s. What better way to market a range of toys, than a game linked to them, Pokémon made a killing right, and this Skylanders business has done very well in recent years too.
Wild River Games were tasked with building a game for this world and from what I can see, the target market is kids between 8-13 years old. I can almost hear you right now “Give it a break Greg, this is a kids game”, well dear reader, that may be true but so is Super Mario, so was the Simpsons Hit and Run. Just because something is aimed at kids, it doesn’t give it licence to get a free pass from me. I tried to watch a Making of video for this game that Wild River put on YouTube but as it’s a German company, and I didn’t get very far with understanding what they were saying but it looked like a team that was perfectly capable of making a game to me. What’s missing in this is pure heart and soul.
The problems start as soon as you boot the game up. Bear in mind this is being sold for £30 on Switch and PS4, £15 on steam. You are given a brief introduction into the word, emphasis on brief. There’s an ice zone, fire zone, jungle zone and a rock zone. And once you beat all 4 of these worlds you have access to a sword that can rule over all of them.
If that sounds really pants, it’s because it is. I think that Schleich made these toys for a while, but just made things that looked cool, without any overarching world or story behind them. This was the job of Wild River games to try and give purpose to turn-based combat.
This could be forgiven if the combat was fun but it feels tedious and looks very unpolished, rather irritatingly, all the text is written in capitals as the over-the-top voiceover booms out. It sounds silly but AFTER AWHILE, CONSTANTLY READING TEXT IN CAPITAL LETTERS STARTS TO GET VERY FRUSTRATING AS I CAN HEAR THE NARRARATOR DELIVERING A REALLY OVER THE TOP PERFORMANCE, WHILE I CAN READ EVERY SINGLE BIT OF TEXT IN BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS. Sorry I’ll stop to sum this up.
The gameplay is lacklustre, even for the target market it is aimed at. Turn-based combat aimed at kids needs to keep their attention. Visually, the game looks very rough around the edges and for a game developed in unity, I don’t see an excuse as to why it looks so poor. It looks like 70% of the production time and budget went on making the characters models look as good as possible, so kids ask for the figures to go alongside this.
What about bugs? Well, since the game starts the first-ever bit of gameplay, it is impossible to use the mouse, as the camera wildly swings around even with my mouse set to its lowest possible DPI. The screen still swings around to the edges of the display, and you end up looking at the edges of the map like below. It makes it almost impossible to play, straight out of the box.
I can’t think of anything good to say, I’m really sorry but everything about this is so poorly executed. I’m amazed if it shifts any copies. If you want some fun games for children around this age, check out Minecraft, Zelda, Mario Kart, Super Mario, Animal Crossing, Pokémon, Luigi’s Mansion, Spyro Reignited, Rayman Legends, Crash Bandicoot Remastered the N sane Trilogy. You can pick all of these up for the same price as Eldrador Creatures.
Unfortunately, it’s a no from me. If your child collects the figures, they already have that attachment to the franchise, they may enjoy the game. If not, I don’t think it’s something worth picking up and can’t see it becoming mainstream as Skylanders did.