Element4l is a puzzle-platformer released on PC. The game is developed by I-Illusions who previously developed Laserbug.
My first impression of Element4l was that of an incredibly generic indie ‘art game’, in which the main focus was the artistic styling of the game. Usually in such games, the game-play takes second field and I’m left with a feeling of disappointment. Element4l couldn’t be farther from that if it tried. Utilising an interesting mechanic which has you changing between four elements, each with their own attributes in order to solve puzzles sounds simple – and it is – but that doesn’t make Element4l an easy game.
Element4l opens with you floating through the sky as the Air elemental. The only thing you can do is tap W to stop yourself touching the ground. This takes up energy, so take care not to use it too often and fall to your death. You will slowly be introduced to things which can alter your course or you can interact with, such as wind and water. Eventually, your path will take you to your new elemental friend; Ice (A). When you change to Ice, you can’t do anything. You’ll slide down slopes and fall faster than Air, but you have no control. To properly use Ice, you must switch between it and Air. Doing so will provide you with the ability to accelerate down slopes. As with Air, you will be slowly introduced to things which Ice can interact with, such as lava which will melt it down to liquid form. Next up is Stone (S). This elemental allows you to fall at incredible speed at the expense of energy. It works in conjunction with Ice, allowing you to build up sliding speed faster and reach greater heights. Fire (D) is the final of the four elementals. Fire gives you a small spurt forward in exchange for energy. Fire can also bounce off of Lava, allowing you to change direction. This completes the chain and essentially gives you complete control in how you move around the levels. Using these four elementals together gives you everything you need to complete the puzzles without dying. One hazard to look out for is the green radioactive goo which can be stuck to walls or floors and will kill any elemental on touch. With more interesting and difficult puzzles to find along with new interactible objects, Element4l manages to keep itself from becoming stale.
The music of Element4l is interesting and fitting. With multiple different styles and instruments which could be seen as representations of the elements themselves present. Another interesting thing is how the soundtrack interacts with some game-play elements such as submerging. When underwater, the music will have a muffled sound to it. The music really helps to bring the whole package together.
Element4l is a game that surprised me and I really enjoy. The idea for how you move around is interesting and works well, it has a nice art-style, the music is great and the longevity of the game is expanded by the addition of race mode and collectibles. At 6.99GBP, you can’t go wrong with a artistically charming, frustratingly fun puzzle-platformer.