Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus (PlayStation 4) Review

By Brandon Howard 21.04.2016

Review for Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus on PlayStation 4

A follow-up of a slightly different take, Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus is the sequel to one of developer Storybird's earlier works, Finding Teddy. While the first bear-themed adventure opted for a point-and-click style adventure game, this one forgoes that for a quicker action adventure across the beautiful and haunting landscapes of the world of monsters, Exidus. While visually stunning, does it have what it takes to make an excellent adventure title?

Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus fits into a similar role that the older style Castlevania games did, though with a bit more emphasis on its puzzle aspects. It doesn't quite fit into the niche of "puzzle platformer," however, as both elements are kept pretty separate from each other. It definitely keeps pace with that long-gone style of slow action platforming, where every jump, sword slice, and movement matter.

While the combat itself doesn't really evolve past the basic slashes, jump slashes, and other various sword based moves, the combat (while very precise) really only serves as a road block to the true mission of exploration. Each world in Exidus is unlocked though a book found in the game's central hub, a library. The worlds grow progressively in scope, and there's some truly massive environments to explore. It does get a little overwhelming at times, as the in-game map isn't too precise when it comes to pinpointing objectives.

Despite that, the environments themselves are a delight to explore. Large areas just full of life and colour, with hidden passages and branching pathways. It honestly makes finding secrets and completing the side adventures worth it, and the world overall is extremely easy to get lost it, and not just from a gameplay standpoint. The enemies encountered feel like moving set pieces, and style is absolutely gushing from every scene.

It's fantastic so much work has been put into the backgrounds and areas, because there's a lot of backtracking involved, even early on. Puzzles often require a very specific approach, and the tools to complete them are often scattered about the parts of the stage that might be easily missed. Most puzzles require a series of notes to be played on an instrument called a Musicom, a device that fills much the same role as the ocarina did in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Screenshot for Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus on PlayStation 4

Rather than just a sampling of songs with just a few simple notes, the Musicom utilises a whole lexicon of alien characters, each represented by one of twelve notes that each must be physically collected across the in-game worlds. Together, the Musicom plays short phrases used to unlock doors and chests, or converse with characters in towns and villages. While it usually works well, the specific phrases must be learned from characters, or seen in areas throughout the environment, so they can be missed, requiring a fair bit of backtracking.

There's a few times where the puzzles don't quite make sense, and they don't seem to respond to any given code, so sometimes it comes down to trial and error, writing down every sequence in a dungeon, and trying every word in the in-game dictionary just to get a response. It's by far the most frustrating part of the game, and a bit of extra readability would have been welcome in some of the more obtuse sections.

Most puzzles unlock new areas to explore, but some offer more extravagant rewards, such as new devices to aid in traversing more perilous environments. Double jumps, floatation devices and the like vastly expand the range of adventures, and there's plenty of areas to backtrack to. Other upgrades can be bought through in-game currency acquired from chests and monsters, though they tend to be a bit more binary - more health, stronger blades, or more durable armour to outfit the main character.

The plot isn't really especially unique, but it's a fairly decent method of presenting the fairy tale-like setting. The protagonist, a young girl whose teddy bear has been possessed by the deposed king of the world of monsters, ventures beyond the confines of her home to restore order. Armed with sword and shield, she is tasked with recovering four magical eggs to unlock the castle where the throne's usurper waits. Again, it's not particularly complex, but it's endearing in a very childlike way, and that, coupled with the softly ethereal score, fits together extremely well.

Screenshot for Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Aesthetically, Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus is a beautifully crafted undertaking. While the sprawling maps are gorgeous, the level design falls a bit short from a purely gameplay standpoint, and the combat, while well executed, doesn't really add much to the core exploration. It's missing a few seams, but overall it's a very well put together adventure. Even with its flaws, it's definitely one fantastical adventure, and one that's absolutely worth playing.

Developer

LookAtMyGame

Publisher

Aksys

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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