3 out of 5. Clever and sometimes relaxing platforming challenges are intermixed with mostly frustrating boss fights and a bit of loose control design. What sets it apart is its one-of-a-kind charm.
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How Metroidvania is it? Low Fit. The design is more ''Mega Man'' in structure than it is a Metroidvania. You're given three locations that you can access in any order you choose, each giving you a power that makes the next one easier. There doesn't seem to be any requirement for ability upgrades outside of optional collectables.
Primary Challenge: Tricky Platforming
Time to beat: ~4 hours
Review Info: The Steam review code for Enter Digiton was provided by the developer.

More Info

Developer: Morne Venter
Publisher: Morne Venter
Sub-genre: Misc Other
Features: Map System, 2D Platformer, Auto-Save, Ranged Combat, Tricky Platforming
Difficulty: High
Linearity/Openness: Open Low Gating - Guided
Platforms: Windows, Steam
Release Date: 2020/08/14
Available Languages: English

Store Links

    Steam    itch.io    

Buy Enter Digiton if you like…

  • Quirky game worlds
  • Stylized Presentation
  • Tricky Platforming
  • Unique Combat Mechanics
  • Dark Humor

▼ Review continues below ▼

The demons are back! You control an Ahab unit, which is a factory-produced android designed to take on the demonic forces. The factory performs some initial testing on the android which shows it to have some… defects. For whatever reason you as the android pick up only a shield in lieu of other weapon options that are jokingly available, and you manifest compassion deemed as not conducive of a demon killer. Your Ahab unit is thus regarded as an unusable failure and is flushed out through the garbage disposal, at which point you go to kill all four demons anyway. It’s a cute premise that introduces the game’s quirky mechanics and humor in an imaginative way. With a little more polish and some tighter design, Enter Digiton might be considered one of the greats of the platformer genre. As-is though, its one-of-a-kind charm and decent challenges are enough to make it a fun recommendation.

Even though the premise of the game is that you need to kill some demons, the core gameplay is centered around tricky platforming. While you do gain new movement abilities as you progress, the shadow dodge air dash ability you gain from the factory tutorial area is technically all you need until you reach the final area. Most platforms are just out of your reach, so you need to use your dash as a makeshift double-jump, or jump extender in order to get basically anywhere. The quality of the level design varies between clever and mediocre, but there’s generally enough verticality and optional exploration to keep it interesting. Occasionally the levels include instant death, which can be a bit frustrating, but you also don’t lose anything you’ve collected if you die.

What holds the platforming back is that collision detection doesn’t seem as precise as it could be. Sometimes you’ll land on a platform and slip off when it really feels like you should have made it. The core shadow dash ability is at the center of this imprecision. When you push the button you always travel the exact same distance every time, but you seem to carry just a little bit of momentum with you regardless of where you appear. This can shove you off a narrow precipice even if your Ahab unit is fairly centered above solid ground. It makes controlling the android feel “loose”. The physics are consistent enough that it’s something that you can get used to, it’s just more difficult than it needs to be to get there. Ultimately the issue is that the control is just unintuitive.

There’s still a lot of interesting things to see in the level design though, and it is enhanced by the abilities you gain along the way. Each boss gives you some movement ability that makes your job much easier. Two of the three powers give you significant vertical lift, so some of the more frustrating challenges can potentially be skipped entirely. While this might technically be regarded as cheating, it feels like a cheat that you’ve earned. There are also of course optional collectables you can only get by bringing the right power into the level. Gathering up these “soul” collectables is about as “Metroidvania” as Enter Digiton gets. The main hub world could have been replaced with a Mega Man style boss select screen and the result would have been fairly similar.

The souls you collect are spent on upgrading masks that you can also optionally find. These masks offer some benefit that is usually coupled with a significant drawback. For instance, one mask gives you the ability to jump higher, but the distance of your shadow dash is reduced. If you find the shadow dash to be a little awkward, this can bridge the gap by letting you use the more controllable jump, but there are instances where the shorter dash distance can make things significantly harder, like if you have to dash between spikes. I probably wouldn’t recommend wearing any mask until you can upgrade them. The aforementioned jumping mask gets a horizontal movement speed increase with the right number of souls. Upgrading masks is a little bit of a pain though, since the shop keeper is located inside a level rather than a more convenient location. The value of souls in general is also undermined a little bit by a few other design choices I won’t spoil here. Finding souls is kind of fun, but I wouldn’t recommend Enter Digiton if exploration is the feature you want the most.

When I started playing Enter Digiton the shield combat was something of a Simon says game. You could throw your shield to stun enemies, or you could block attacks with a brief parry window after pushing a different button. The reason I call it Simon says is because too often I found myself pushing the wrong button to react to what was suddenly happening. Part of the issue is that enemies that shoot at you weren’t common enough to force me to learn how to parry naturally. The parry also has a startup time, which almost feels wrong, since there were times I felt like I hit the button at the exact time the bullet hit me. The actual invincibility frame occurs milliseconds after you push the button, so really the problem was that I just needed to get used to Enter Digiton’s rules, but like the platforming precision, it just feels unintuitive. The patch that came out only three days before the posting of this review changes a lot of this though. Before the patch your shield couldn’t kill anything but the Demon bosses, but now your shield can dispatch most enemies. So rather than dealing with parrying bullets as you’re platforming, you can just kill the turret outright. While this design change is undoubtedly going to be more popular, it strikes me as a bit of a band-aid fix.

The part of the game that was the most trying for me were the demon bosses themselves. True to Enter Digiton’s theming, playing defensively is the core feature of the game, and the way the bosses reflect this is by being completely invincible, or inaccessible, for much of the fight. This forces you to dodge or block as necessary until the option to deal damage becomes available. The problem with this design is that it imposes a waiting game on the player that they just have to deal with as they get better at the fight. Earlier phases start to become boring as you work your way back to the point in the fight where you died. With only three hit points before you die, even the smallest mistake becomes unbearably frustrating when coupled with this kind of design. Exacerbating the issue is the same lack of polish that pervades the other parts of the game. Bosses sometimes jank around unexpectedly just because that’s the way they’re animated. Their attacks also aren’t always predictable, and the randomness might lead to a situation where taking damage is unavoidable (it’s worth mentioning that the shadow dash doesn’t seem to provide any sort of i-frames to mitigate this.) None of Enter Digiton’s combat ideas are bad in concept, it’s just that the execution makes the combat, and the bosses, the least fun part of the game.

Enter Digiton makes up for a lot of its flaws by having some relaxing visuals and music, as well as a quirky personality. The core platforming mechanics are just good enough to make it recommendable, but I think some players will be put off by the bosses if not by some of the weaker parts of the level design. There are definitely a lot of higher priority platformers that I would recommend instead, but that doesn’t stop Enter Digiton from at least being unique. I think if you enjoy supporting indie developers and if you like things that are a maybe a little bit experimental, then you should give Enter Digiton a shot.


Final Score

3/5

Scoring system overview


Metroidvania Breakdown

Combat
– 3

Boss patterns are well-telegraphed and gradually get more fun as you learn them, but they start out immensely frustrating because of how little control you have on when you can damage them.

Platforming
– 3.5

While the controls can be a little loose sometimes, there's enough verticality and variety to keep the platforming challenges interesting.

Exploration
– 2.5

Exploration isn't a driving force in the game's main content, but there is optional soul currency for you to collect - but it also loses its value fairly rapidly.

Puzzle
– 2

There really aren't any puzzles in this game

Story
– 3

The setup for this game is cute if not a bit tone-inconsistent

Graphics
– 3.5

The monochromatic aesthetic is pleasing and sometimes even relaxing, but the animations sometimes have difficulty conveying the exact edges of platforms or enemy hitboxes

Music
– 3.5

Nice and appropriate music without being particularly memorable.

Replayability
– 3

You can accomplish the game's three main objectives in any order which can provide some welcome variety.


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