Thanks to Sometimes You for the review code
Title: Escape from Tethys
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 08/12/2020
Isolated on a strange planet, you must find your way around the strange lifeforms and winding chasms of the planetary tunnels, in order to build up your arsenal, find out the secrets behind the planet, and escape it once and for all! There are plenty of hidden data logs scattered around the in-game world for lore explanations, but besides that, there’s little in terms of major plot here.
Going for the tried and true pixel art style, Escape From Tethys isn’t anything new on this front: the pixel art is fine, the music is very atmospheric and effective, and the UI gets the job done for a metroidvania. Honestly, not much to praise or complain about here.
Escape from Tethys is a small scale metroidvania, where the main objective is to collect all the upgrades you can to find a way out of the planet, using your upgrades to reach new areas or find hidden secrets. It’s a pretty typical metroidvania all things considered, with this one offering a bit more nonlinearity than you may expect.
The controls are pretty simple, with your standard jump and attack layout, a dash mapped to the right shoulder, and secondary weapons managed with X and A. Getting used to the game should take no time at all if you’re familiar with any prior metroidvania, and it has it all: warp stations, save points that heal, expansive layouts and connecting chambers, and boss fights to shake up the action.
Really what makes Escape from Tethys worth a look comes from it’s small scale yet impressive amount of secrets crammed in a small map: yes, you have your usual path for the sake of clearing the game and the mandatory progression upgrades that accompany it, but there are plenty of ammo and health upgrades scattered across the planet, along with some handy ones such as extra armor and new subweapons, which include a rotating shield, mines, and beams, among other things.
Combat is pretty basic too, although it definitely feels clunky here. The bosses are fine, but nothing special and just get the job done. Your normal shot gets the job done, and the subweapons help a lot, (the rotating shield is pretty handy for smaller foes) but the slow starting rate of fire and general sluggish behavior just led me to avoid small fry whenever possible. It’s basic, yet uses a solid formula with enough incentive to get 100% completion, so I had a lot of fun with Tethys, even if the traditional “lose all progress since last save if you die” deal these games tend to do can get a bit irritating.
In conclusion, Escape from Tethys is a cute mini metroidvania with a lot of fun moments. It might not reinvent anything nor try something risky, but it does offer a fun non-linear adventure to mess around with, and the amount of secrets and items you can collect in a semi-free order does lead to some replay value.
Still, the clunky level design in spots, dull boss fights, and basic feel brings Tethys down quite a lot, and the steep price for this game when competitors offer more value for less does make this very tough to recommend. Yet, I can’t help but find the adventure of exploring Tethys to still be solid enough to check out if you feel that you exhausted most of the other Metroidvanias on the eShop, for it’s a nice, brief change of pace that manages to be fun enough for at least one playthrough, and worth 100%ing while you’re at it.
I give Escape from Tethys a 7 out of 10.