Gametopia Games is a studio based out of Spain that has spent two years developing Clippox Exodus, a 2D platformer with a healthy dose of puzzle elements and alluring, hand-drawn artwork. And while it’s not perfect, it’s an impressive example of what an independent studio with talent, heart, and ambition can put together.
Clippox Exodus follows a mystical being known as the Great Shaman (who actually resembles a bale of hay more than any magical tribesman) on his journey to prevent the extinction of a small race of endangered Clippox, who previously took up residence in a sheltering tree. But a passing storm blew through, forcing the Clippox to become exposed to all that’s dangerous in the world, putting each and every one of their lives in danger. The Great Shaman has taken it upon himself to guide the Clippox to safety, to the mythical Promised Land to seek a out a new home.
Across terrain ranging from dimly lit forests to fiery caverns, the Shaman guides the Clippox on a perilous journey to safety, avoiding the obstacles and enemies in his way. The Shaman is can use four different magical attacks that are unlocked throughout the course of the adventure: fire, lightning, ice, and earth. On the left side of the screen a blue button may be pressed to activate a barrier that will shield you from enemy attacks. It only lasts a short while, so when facing several enemies at once it’s best to be prudent when deciding on a time to deploy.
It’s unfortunate that there are rarely more than three or four enemies on-screen at once, as combat is swift, simple, and fun. Incinerating or freezing enemies never ceases to please, and the touch controls truly shine. Unfortunately, navigating each level’s plentiful traps, water, and pits is nowhere near as on point. There is a lack of precision when you’re clearing a pit or attempting to keep safe from other oncoming obstacles. When you die, you’re always forced to start over at the beginning of each level. There are no checkpoints, and there is no leeway. You either fight with the frustrating controls or start over. And the awkward placement of the jump button at the bottom right of the screen, right next to the elemental powers, is a puzzling design decision at best.
Speak friend and enter.
Still, despite the frustration you’ll inevitably feel once you’ve been sent back to the start a few times (and the difficulty ramps up quickly) you can’t help but return for a little more of this delicately crafted experience. The fantastical world with entirely hand-drawn illustrations, vivid hues, and storybook aesthetics is striking, and it’s obvious an abundance of love went into making this game. And the enchanting soundtrack is quite pleasing as well, available on the Clippox Exodus website for free should the tunes resonate with you enough to want to take them on the go.
Clippox Exodus is a beautiful debut from Gametopia Games, but it does suffer from some rookie design errors. Even so, it’s a pretty good 2D platformer with lush visuals and engaging puzzles that fans of old-school magical adventures would do well to snap up.