Video games have been a vehicle for all types of storytelling. Ethereal by Thomas Finch looks to explore a very different sort of storyline – one based off his own father. In the game, players control a small spirit which must relieve a series of seven traumatic memories to make it through. The goal is to help this spirit come to terms with and let go of the past. Here’s hoping such a heavy concept doesn’t scare potential gamers off!
Ethereal’s unique storyline is paired with more traditional gameplay concepts. It is a 2D pixel art puzzle platformer with some action elements. You must search through each memory for a memento, which allows the spirit to move on. However, one must be careful to avoid Hellhounds. These creepy creatures lie in wait to “kill” you. Thankfully, there’s a host of abilities you can use to stay on top of things. For example, you can haunt and posses animals. Interestingly, there is no jump mechanic in Ethereal. Instead it utilizes a flipping mechanic (effectively switching gravity on or off) for maneuvering through puzzles.
One really cool aspect of Ethereal’s development is a determined focus on letting players around the world enjoy it. They’ve already confirmed translations for a variety of languages such as Korean, Russian, and Spanish. The hope is also to port the game to a variety of modern handheld and home consoles. For now, though, Ethereal’s Kickstarter goal of $17,250 guarantees a PC version on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
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