Greak: Memories of Azur from Navegante Entertainment and Team 17 is a single player adventure title with an absolutely amazing aesthetic. The hand drawn animations and rather well-balanced gameplay will keep you coming back for more but is this game worth picking up? The answer is a resounding yes for a multitude of reasons.
Being an indie title, I’m really glad that Greak: Memories of Azur exists because while it ticks a lot of the standard platforming adventure game checkboxes, it still innovates enough to hook you with its intriguing storytelling and gorgeous visuals. This ain’t your average platformer that’s for sure and there is a lot to enjoy here.
Players in Greak: Memories of Azur will take on the role of three siblings. Starting out with Greak himself, players will adventure out into the wilds of Azur while trying to survive a horrible invasion from Urlags. The Urlags are the primary antagonists and players will be introduced to them via a short story cutscene at the start of the game. Greak himself belongs to the Courine race, a group of magical humanoids that have protected the lands of Azur for ages.
The Urlags on the other hand are the complete opposite to the Courines, being portrayed as violent and destructive. Terrible beings.
The Courines and Urlags have been at each other’s throats for ages but things escalated and changed for the worse at the beginning of the game. The Urlags gathered their forces and unleashed a massive invasion against the Courines in Azur. The Courines forces were ravaged and what remains of them are just a few pockets of resistance.
The story of Greak: Memories of Azur kicks off with players taking on the role of Greak trying to find his sister Adara. Venturing out into the woods on the trail of his sister Greak eventually falls down a waterfall. He is rescued by a fellow Courine and taken to a village nearby where he eventually wakes up and discovers an Airship.
This Airship, however, requires fixing. Piece by piece it needs to be rebuilt and will be used to flee the Urlag invasion of Azur. Greak gets roped into helping gather materials to fix the Airship while still trying to find his sister Adara.
As mentioned above, players will take on the role of three siblings. Without spoiling too much, Greak does reunite with his sister Adara as well as with his brother Raydel. The gameplay becomes far more in-depth once you find a sibling. Players will be controlling Greak, Adara and Raydel throughout the game.
Either in pairs or all three at once with swapping between characters being handled by simply pressing a button on the D-pad. Alternatively players can also control all the available characters at once by pressing and holding L2 (or toggling it via the options menu) which simplifies movement and other actions by having them mimic your main character. Pressing R2, you can call the other characters to your playable character’s position.
This isn’t exactly something newly done in video games but it’s still great seeing it in a 2D side-scroller platformer.
Gameplay in Greak: Memories of Azur involves platforming, puzzle solving and fighting off monsters known as “The Plague” as well as the Urlags themselves. Where things get really hands-on in-game is when players will have to use each character to perform a specific action to help the other.
Players will, for example, use Adara to depress a switch while Greak runs across a freshly opened pathway that only he can fit into. Raydel can use a hookshot which can be used to solve puzzles that Greak or Adara cannot. Adara can hold her breath for longer and swim deeper without drowning. Each of the three siblings are unique in their capabilities and using all three together is key to succeeding in the game.
Their combat capabilities differ too with Greak using a short-range dagger, Adara using arcane magic and Raydel using a sword and shield. Players can also pick up a range of items in-game and store these in their satchel.
Items such as mushrooms or roots can be eaten raw for healing or combined in a pot and cooked to make more powerful healing food items. Key items can be brought back to the village for use in repairing the Airship. Players can also use the items they pick up for other purposes such as arrows for their bow or keystones for mechanisms.
Fairly standard platforming fare here to be honest.
Exploring the lands of Azur in Greak can be quite a daunting process. Venturing out, players will learn that the world is filled with dangers. Dying in Greak: Memories of Azur is inevitable with the sheer amount of hazards and enemies you will face off against. The game also does not feature many checkpoints and players are encouraged to save at often sparse waypoints.
This means that you will have to carefully plan your journey since if you die, you’ll have to load your most recent save. If you’re used to playing games that reward patience, planning and skilled gameplay, Greak: Memories of Azur will keep you coming back for more.
If you get easily frustrated at repeated death in a video game, chances are you’ll be put off by the game’s sparse save points and challenging gameplay.
Fighting off enemies is only half the battle in Greak: Memories of Azur since the environment truly is out to get you. Pitfalls, poisonous spores, large depths of water, spiky roots, plague creatures and Urlags abound. Adventuring out into the interconnected areas of Azur truly feels challenging. Players will feel as if the odds are stacked against them quite quickly when they realise how easily they can be killed by the Urlags.
This difficulty curve, however, also imparts an immense sense of satisfaction to you when you finally get past a challenging section of the game or solve a puzzle that requires some creative thinking to get through. Greak: Memories of Azur also features boss battles which are quite challenging but never unbeatable or unfair. Memorising attack patterns and acting accordingly is how you’ll achieve victory. The puzzles in the game aren’t extremely hard and are all manageable with a little brain work.
Strangely though, despite being able to play as three characters, the game is a solo adventure and lacks any sort of co-op.
Graphically, Greak: Memories of Azur’s aesthetic is gorgeous. The backgrounds, character designs and animations are incredibly well done and a visual feast for the eyes. There’s plenty of scenes where you’ll just want to take in the game’s raw beauty because it looks so artistically pleasing. This is reminiscent of titles such as Ori and the Blind Forest and Hollow Knight.
The game also runs flawlessly with no frame rate drops despite the action and effects being ramped up quite a bit at some points.
Dialogue in the game from characters isn’t voiced and this was a missed opportunity to truly drive home the game’s excellent story via voiced character interactions. Unfortunately the three siblings are not voice acted apart from attack sounds. The game’s orchestral soundtrack is great though with the main theme and other tracks being well suited to the tale it tells, especially during combat and in boss battles.
Overall, Greak: Memories of Azur is an extremely solid action adventure platformer with a strong narrative. Learning more about the world of Azur through lore tidbits and exploration is great. The puzzle solving and thinking outside of the box required by using three characters at once is definitely worthy of praise.
So too are the gorgeous visuals and orchestral soundtrack. This is an enjoyable indie title and one that Navegante Entertainment can be extremely proud of.
I highly recommend picking up Greak: Memories of Azur if you’re a fan of games that feature gorgeous visuals, solid combat and puzzle platforming. Though you do have to be mindful of the challenge the game presents thanks to the lack of checkpoints.
A review code for Greak: Memories of Azur was provided to Hypertext by the publisher.