Ebenezer and the Invisible World is a 2D Metroidvania-style platformer based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. You explore London as Ebenezer Scrooge, on a quest to return the industrial capitalist, Casper Malthus, to his good-natured self after a visit from the Ghosts of Christmas appear to have corrupted him.
In similar style to Hollow Knight and Blasphemous, you’ll be platforming through various environments, defeating enemies, and completing various fetch quests for NPCs. The platforming here is unfortunately not very enjoyable due to imprecise and unresponsive controls. We often fell from platforms to our demise when the game failed to register a press of the X button to jump, or got stunned by an enemy mid-jump, causing us to reset to one of the few and far between save points, losing our progress.
The combat is equally frustrating, feeling sluggish and clunky. Enemies feel very limited with only one or two moves, and wouldn’t be such a threat if it weren’t for the unforgiving hit boxes. They don’t line up with the visuals, causing you to take unexpected hits and struggle to land attacks. The ghostly abilities Ebenezer can unlock and utilise do redeem the combat slightly with some enjoyably chaotic powers — fireballs, ball and chain, and harpoon throws to name a few.
The game’s presentation is hands down the best part of it, with gorgeously detailed hand-drawn environments and animations that bring Christmassy joy and warmth. Unfortunately, this is overshadowed by the lack of main route guidance and the numerous bugs and glitches present throughout. Quests don’t advance when completed, leaving the game soft locked; crashes cause you to lose unsaved progress; box puzzles don’t function as intended, causing you to get stuck on the environment; text disappears, causing you to miss key story points, and the list goes on and on. We couldn’t complete the game, only managing to make it a couple of hours in before having to restart entirely multiple times since the main questline failed to move to the next step.
Soft locks, crashes, and bugs burden this gorgeously presented Christmas story. Until this nightmare before Christmas is patched, we’d suggest finding something else to place under your Christmas tree.