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'Ellie & Max' Review - Some Doggone Perspective
I don't know what it is about a companion gimmick that makes me so invested. I mean most of the time you're usually controlling both as a single entity, so it's not like you have much attachment to either side of the equation directly, but the concept of going into something with a partner is inherently less stressful. Take something like Banjo Kazooie (or the more recent Yooka-Laylee), as you're generally controlling the former, and the latter merely acts as a power-up -- just the notion that you're not alone is enough to bring a smile to my face. Ellie & Max [$1.99] isn't quite as iconic of a pairing as the aforementioned mascots, but I got somewhat attached by the time I reached the final curtain call. Ellie & Max sees the player taking control of an abnormally large dog in an attempt to collect objects in a strange world and rescue Ellie, his companion. You've seen the concept before -- there's minor objectives that amount to three stars for completionists, and a goal you can rush to if you so choose. But the whole idea of perspective, used to great effect in several other puzzle platformers like Fez, elevates the magic quite a bit. Everything is charming on its own before you bring the big gimmick in, mind. It's bright, the characters are memorable, and the voxel look isn't too dated. Oh, and the music, it's so darn happy you'll probably be humming along to it every time you boot it up.
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