Ebenezer and The Invisible World – Review

Everybody Loves a Christmas Carol, it’s a literary classic with multiple adaptations over the years, from animated movies to live-action performances even going as far as modern style take during the late 90’s with Bill Murray’s Scrooged, and yet how many games are there? After a small search, all I could find was a video adaption of Disney’s A Christmas Carol and that seemed to be about it. Well, fellow readers look no further as we now have Ebenezer and The Invisible World!

Casper faces a stocky man armed with a club in front of a picket line

The game begins with a rather long series of static images with text setting up the story for the game. It tells the tale of Casper Malthus, a rich industrialist who despises the poor. The ghost of his school friend Eric appears before him and states that he is to be visited by three spirits to help him see the error of his ways to change them before he dies alone among his various experiments and inventions. It’s not too dissimilar to the original tale of Ebenezer minus the science, however, as opposed to Ebeneezer being spurred into changing his ways he Plays the Hero. Casper is met by another, more sinister ghost who convinces him that since he’s already seen the end of his life’s work, he should take that knowledge and use it now. Now a year later, Eric is regaling this tale to Ebeneezer to help solve the situation due to his once turning his fate around and his affinity with ghostly apparitions.

Eric talks to Casper

The gameplay is your standard Metroidvania affair, so you know what that means – exploring everything you can until you can’t, returning to the area after you gain the correct and relevant power. For those of you who haven’t played a Metroidvania, you begin with extremely basic items and powers, which you will accrue more as you continue your journey, often leading to backtracking making for some perfect “AHA” moments during your exploration. Your powers in this game come from sprits that add their specific power to yours, such as a street urchin paper boy allowing you to bounce off objects. You will also find upgrades for your cane alongside more powerful spirits for combat and traversal.

Casper running from an explosion. a snowy London landscape behind him

The art for this game is all hand drawn and it truly shows how much love and attention has gone into every character and environment. The designs are incredibly beautiful almost giving a sense of playing a living drawing not too dissimilar to Hollow Knight, which did very much the same thing and it adds a certain charm to the game which I personally really enjoy. The accompanying music manages to hit the right notes for scenes and areas that you are exploring. Despite being good, sadly I wouldn’t say that many of the songs or melodies stuck with me like other Metroidvania even though they are wonderful to listen to.

Casper uses a ghost power to get beyond a barred gate

I’ve had fantastic, if a little stressful times playing as a reformed old gentleman trying to save London. Some issues did arise while playing, such as collecting items and chests only to lose the contents upon death. These are normal game mechanics, however when you enter an area you are given a checkpoint as opposed to going back to save room, yet any chests opened remain open even if you lost loot upon death. This is either an oversight that will be fixed or an extremely weird punishment system.

You can tell that love and care went into crafting this adventure, not only by paying homage to the source material but also by adding to Ebenzer’s story.

7/10 star rating

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Android, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X and Series S
Developers: Play On Worlds, Orbit Studio
Publisher: Play On Worlds







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