Developer: Xixo Games Studio
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), PS5, Xbox Series S/X
Switch, PS4, Xbox One – Coming Soon
Publisher: Perp Games
Enchanted Portals is a 2D platform video game. The game was developed and published by Xixo Games Studio. A game that plays very similar to Enchanted Portals would be Cuphead. This review was done for the PC, but the game is also available for all other gaming platforms.
Enchanted Portals is a single-player and a co-op game. The story starts with a boy and girl who are cleaning up their wizard master’s shop when they end up finding a spell book. The two decided to try reciting a spell from the book but end; up messing it up and getting sucked into a portal from within the book. To get back, the two go on a mission where they travel across many different worlds to retrieve the spell book and get back home. When playing single-player, you play as the boy, and the game works a lot smoother in single-player than co-op. When playing co-op, you are either the boy or the girl, and you simultaneously play; it is a bit hard to play in co-op when playing the run-gun levels as the screen only moves in accordance with the boy’s (player one) direction. This means that if player one continues to run forward, it leaves player two behind, which can be a bit clunky at times. Playing in either mode works just fine. I found playing it in co-op to be a bit more fun, especially in the run-gun levels, as there was more chaos endured. Playing in either mode works just fine. I found playing it in co-op to be a bit more fun, especially in the run-gun levels, as there was more chaos endured.
The controls on the keyboard and mouse are a bit difficult to grasp, so it is preferred to play on a controller as things run a lot smoother. There is not really a tutorial that you go through when you start off the game; you kind of just get into it. I would recommend that at the beginning, where there are little action drawings, a specified keybind is shown by it so it’s easier to catch onto the controls. In the beginning, I was pressing multiple buttons to see what each of them did, which made things a bit confusing, but after you figure out what does what it does, it makes things easier. The controls are delayed, and they seem to lag out a bit. On the keyboard and mouse, I would say it is much harder to aim and shoot diagonally when compared to using a controller, so I would highly recommend a controller for this game. At first, connecting the controllers to assigned characters was a bit of a mess, but once you get past that part, the game is manageable.
The art style for Enchanted Portals is a very mystical fantasy storybook. The characters seem to be digitally drawn and have a very cartoonish look to them. I like that in some of the transitions between the levels. There are static pictures that tell a story, frame by frame. This adds a bit more narrative to the game, which I really liked. I also enjoyed the designs for the different levels, especially with the inclusion of a good soundtrack. For instance, at the beginning of the game, you start at a haunted graveyard area, and the music consists of spooky piano melodies, which really sets the mood. The monster and boss designs are also really nice. In all honesty, it does look like something out of a fantasy book. I thought the visuals and soundtrack were really charming as they gave the game a whimsical cartoon feel to it.
What’s really different about this game is that it is more of a frenetic, fun type of game. It is intended that a lot is going on, which makes it hectic, but in a sense, that’s the charm of the game. Sometimes, I would say it does get a little bit too hectic, like the supposed ‘run and gun’ levels can have so many monsters flying in from all over the place. When I first started playing the game, I felt overwhelmed, but it takes a little bit of playthrough to get used to the game style. This game may be compared to Cuphead because of the similar play style and overall visuals of the game, but they differ completely. What I did not like as much about the run and gun levels in this game was that it seemed they used the same stationary scene with the same type of mob partner to follow throughout the entire level. I liked the incorporation of being able to use different spells allocated to the mob colour, which added more uniqueness to this game. The bosses were also very manageable, and I like that the game has three different game modes: easy, normal and hard, which gives players more options to choose from if they really are stuck. I enjoyed the different themed bosses and found that encountering the bosses was a lot more fun than the run and gun levels. The run and gun levels seemed like they dragged with having a lot of repetitive features. Also, for some of the levels, it felt like getting to the 50% mark would take ages. All in all, I would say the game is good, but if it’s fleshed out a bit, with better control mechanics, then the game would be even better.
Now, if you want to play a 2D platformer game that will take you on a whimsical adventure as two wizards who try to make their way back home, then Enchanted Portals is definitely the game for you. You can enjoy the game by yourself or have someone tag along with you on the frenetic journey you are about to embark on.
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