In the interest of fairness, E.Y.E.R.I.S. ($1.00) is technically available to all without an Xbox. Its origins as a browser game isn’t surprising, given the simplified design and control, and the Xbox version looks nearly identical. It’s plenty odd, to boot, starting with the giant eyeball in the middle of the screen (and the obvious play on the word ‘iris’). It’s also a bit of an existential thinker, which makes it a perfect fit for the oddballs on XBLIG.

What to expect.

To an extent, E.Y.E.R.I.S. is a kind-of Rorschach test within an otherwise basic twin-stick shooter, asking you your opinion about a set of melancholic questions or statements between each stage. You’re given a handful of entirely-visual choices to choose from before moving forward, each thus affecting the gameplay in subtle ways, sometimes immediate, sometimes delayed or not as obvious.

There’s no written explanation to rely on, and no right or wrong way to play the game, although certain ‘answers’ you pick definitely have an impact on how easy, or how hard, the game will go after you. This can affect your type of ‘bullets’ used, the firing rate, or your ‘health’ and the rate at which it recovers… if it does as all.

E.Y.E.R.I.S. - Screen

This is your choice of ‘bullets’.

That sliding bar of difficulty, represented by swarms of various ‘bugs’ and exploding projectiles, can be off-putting to some, although I enjoyed figuring out the different methods and effects in each round of answers (you can sort of infer what some images entail). You only get a set number of lives (3) in each playthrough, but it’s not terribly long to reach your previous point once you’ve gained some insight.

Depending on your choices (and skill), the game can be over very quickly (15 mins.) or it can beat you to a bloody pulp. You can tell the truth, or you can lie to yourself and see the differences. The gameplay may not ultimately be as sophisticated as its intentions, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t like E.Y.E.R.I.S. It’s the kind of offbeat stuff I look for in games, and worth your time to play something from a different perspective.


Review on Indie Gamer Chick

25 thoughts on “REVIEW: E.Y.E.R.I.S.”

  1. I was reading the review over at IGC (she agrees with you BTW) and I noticed that at around 7:00 in the video there is a picture of what appears to be Isaac from TBOI. Were you able to beat the game and see that screen Tim? I also noticed that the hit sound effects seem to be the same as TBOI. Strange…. I wonder if Ed worked on this game, the art style is very similar IMO. Maybe they are just superfans.

    1. OK So I understood IGC but what is TBOI?

      In case anyone wants to know the video he is talking about here it is:

    2. @ImTheMetalLord: It stands for The Binding of Isaac, a really challenging, fun roguelike I have still not played. For an XBLIG example, it’s essentially what Milkstone’s Sushi Castle ripped from.

      @NVO Games & ImTheMetalLord I did reach the end of the game, and that image is, if I remember correctly, the last ‘choice’ you make before the final level. Both that picture and others, as well as the company’s logo, look an awful lot like TBOI’s art, but I could not comment on if that’s related, or just coincidence.

    3. I’ll allow it, but just this once. Remember, I run this thing, and I can edit comments however I like! I’ll make you look like you’re spouting gibberish! 🙂

      Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    4. @NVO I swallowed that pill long ago when I was put in my place that is is not a blog but and intelligent writing of major importance that will change the world as we know it. LMAO

      BTW I can attest to him being able to change the comments…he did so in a very helpful way for me.


    5. “It stands for The Binding of Isaac, a really challenging, fun roguelike…”

      Dunno, but imo the term “Roguelike” lost a lot of its meaning in the past years. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those hardcore traditionalists who think they have to be w/o sound and in ASCII and I know that times changed, but it seems like every new game nowadays which has randomly generated contend and/or permadeath is labeled a roguelike.

      Jesus, I sound like some grumpy old man….

      Btw does anyone know what happened to JadeVaultGames?
      They were working on an XBLIG called ASCII Quest and it looked like it was almost done but then they just disappeared… and that was about 3 or 4 years ago.
      Their website is down and I can’t find any info regarding their fate.

      Oh, and to stay (a bit) on topic:
      E.Y.E.R.I.S. … ehm…. yeah, not my cup of coffee (yes, I prefer coffee #dealwithit)

    6. @ImTheMetalLord & NVO Games: Never, ever call it a blog. Unless I start posting personal articles about a recent trip I took, or some pictures of artsy stuff I found at a garage sale, this IS the greatest website in the world! At least until XBLIG is done and I get my second site rolling along a little better. 🙂

      All kidding aside, you can call it a blog if you want. I just don’t consider it one. The whole WordPress thing gives it that vibe, I admit, but it’s just far easier to use someone else’s template for a site than to build and maintain your own.

      @Soosh: Come on, you know ‘roguelike’ is one of those buzzwords now, just like ‘procedurally-generated’ and all that good ‘We swear it’s non-linear, this is best stuff you’ve ever played’ catch-phrases.

      I agree with it, too, as any game that takes away my progress upon death is a ‘roguelike’. Doesn’t even have to be permadeath. Die in a Super Mario stage before I reach a checkpoint? Roguelike! 🙂

      I get what you’re saying, though I would never pine for the days of old school ASCII stuff! I don’t get that attraction at all. It’s just so… barren, so cold, so… text-heavy. I’ve been spoiled by modern times and, you know… graphics, I guess. 🙂

      No idea what happened to that studio or the game. I haven’t read anything about it until your mention, and a quick search dragged up what you knew already. Three years without a tweet, and a lapsed website… doesn’t look good.

    7. @Tim: Huh, I never really considered these sorts of sites (review based blogs) to actually be blogs. Like you said, you aren’t posting random personal stories and stuff. With that said… The definition of blog is pretty vast, as vast as say… the definition for roguelike?

    8. @NVO Games: Taking the conversation right back to the beginning with ‘roguelike’… I like that. Smart play, sir. Smart play.

      Speaking of which, ‘blogs’ could technically be ‘roguelikes’, if you close your browser before saving an article’s draft. You would lose all your progress… @Soosh won’t like that joke. 🙂

    9. Ha, sounds like an idea for a game: “Article Draft – The Roguelike”
      Fight your way through the Article of Doom and retrieve the fabled Amulet of Yelruh… in proper ASCII.

      Btw my name consists of a snake, two orcs, another snake and a hobgoblin (if that makes any sense).

      But I’m gonna have a coffe now, otherwise I’ll talk even more bollocks. So if the gentlemen will excuse me…

    10. Well, then that is one loaded name. You’ve earned your coffee.

      And that is one ASCII RPG I’d play, as it would actually make sense to have so much text!

    1. ‘Ey nigh, dat seems a slight bit racist. We canny be dat impossable ter understan’, can we? ‘Aybe after a few pints, though. Dis translashun machine seems ter be trollied.

      An emphatic Yes to the corn beef and cabbage, though, even if it is an American tradition. Throw in some hipster beer brands and inappropriate storytelling, and you’ve got my St. Pats routine to the letter. Sláinte!

  2. Thanks to developers AbstrAKT Games, I have one copy of the game to give away. If you’re curious to learn a little about yourself, simply leave a reply to this comment.

    1. All yours, and frankly, I’m curious to see what the mini-psychological profile twin-stick shooter says about you after watching ‘Maniac’. 🙂

  3. I was hoping you would post a blog er uh my mistake a very well thought out around 500 words of writing masterpiece.

    I loved the trial that did beat me up pretty bad but was interesting to make to try it again and consider buying it. Good job on them to make a trial that made you want to buy to figure it all out. That being said I didn’t actually buy it yet but was planning on it till I read how short the game really is. But then again my trial experience only allowed the choice of the thumbtack.

    Oh hell, that is just way to much self debate over a buck.

    1. Haha, yeah, this one was short, but then again, so is the game and the explanation of its mechanics. No real way to extend that. 🙂

      It is an interesting play, though, which can make me forget about brevity. Wish more twin-stick shooters would try for something different instead of the same old setup.

      And that self-debate is good, because as I can fully attest to, those ‘bucks’ add up over time. 🙂

    2. Ooooh, sounds interesting! I need my twin stick shooters to do something a little different these days (I’ve played far too many), and it looks like this one might do the trick. For a dollar it seems to be worth a punt.
      I also like their choice of music in the video, something else that helps set it apart.

    3. Agreed. It has that somber tone to it that matches the questions / statements. I felt like I should be wearing all black while playing it, but it’s a nice change of pace.

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