Day 112: “Iredia: Atram’s Secret”

Posted: 2011/03/01 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #112, and today’s game is “Iredia: Atram’s Secret”.

This is a puzzle platformer with an educational bent, and thankfully it succeeds on both counts: being an enjoyable platformer, and being educational.

First, from the developer:

““Iredia: Atram’s Secret” is an entertaining video game in which you will travel through a world of magic where you will be able to see and experience sounds in a different way. Help Sara recover the flute that Kikarazu the cat stole from her and discover Iredia’s secrets. Amazing characters will share your adventure. Complete all levels, challenge Atram and recover Sara’s flute!”

The game seeks to teach you how sound works, how hearing impaired people cope with the challenges their day-to-day lives present, and I actually found it interesting. Unlike your typical edutainment, this is a subject that not a lot of people know a tonne about so many people will come away from it having learned something.

The graphics are colourful and the art style is consistent throughout. The platforming is light, and the puzzle solving a little less so, but most people will be able to get through the game without too much trouble. However, the sheer variety of gameplay and challenges here is impressive. The first level has you exploring caves laid our like an ear canal as you learn about the ear from the various notes spread out throughout the level, running and jumping to navigate through the caves. Later levels have you using an audiogram to interact with the sounds of the world, turning them off and on to progress through the level (sound bubbles blocking your way means you have to make the world quieter; need to jump on sound bubbles to get across a chasm, pump up the volume). After that you’re learning about, and locating, hearing aids to remove things in your way. Next up is learning about sign language to get past the traps in your path.

Unexpectedly for an educational game, you actually can be killed by the environment in some areas, but there’s no gruesome death scene; rather, just a reload from the last save point.

There are actually quizzes between the levels, encouraging the player to pay attention to the in-game dialogue with Atram, your guide through this adventure, and the various notes spread throughout each level. While this game doesn’t have the replay value that enduringly popular edutainment titles like “Oregon Trail” or “Crosscountry Canada” has, it has charm and colour and can be thoroughly enjoyed through your first play through. It was actually developed by a school in Span from what I understand (click below to the review on Kobun’s site, and check the comments at the end of his review where he discusses the genesis of the game with one of the developers for more information on that). For 80 Microsoft Points, you’ll likely enjoy yourself and you’ll definitely learn something.

For a second opinion, check out Kobun’s review of Iredia: Atram’s Secret.

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Comments
  1. As one of the persons involved in the creation of Iredia, thanks a lot for this review :)

    The game was developed by a research center of a Spanish University, but why we choose this subject for the game came from an event that happened in a school (the event I talk about in Kobun site).

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