COPPERBELL Review: A Short Jaunt Down Fantasy Lane

Steam code received from Zero Fun

Developed by Zero Fun, Copperbell is a hand-drawn adventure game where a demon lurks in the forest and there is only one person who can banish the evil. Well, not really a person. A little copper bell called Copperbell who wields a bell clapper. It’s a 2D platformer with exploration, character upgrades, and boss battles. It won’t take long to beat. Players should be able to finish the game in under two hours. It’s possible to beat it in less than one if you’re capable enough in the final battle against the demon. Let’s look at what Copperbell has to offer.

STORY 

The narrative begins in a small cottage beyond the woods. Copperbell has been summoned by his family His grandparents are an aged man and woman who task the young musical lad with cleansing the forest of evil. But first, he must find his clapper. That search will lead him into the first dungeon where he’ll face the first test on his journey—the evil eye that controls the slimy grubs in the caverns below the cottage.

After that, Copperbell will venture into the forest to grow in strength and to seek out other corrupt influences. Flying, jumping, wriggling, and rolling creatures will all endeavor to defeat the plucky metal protagonist, and you’ll dodge and swipe at them with a combination of jumping, running, and smacking (using your bell clapper).

Eventually, you’ll make it to the demon, who awakens upon your intrusion into his domain. Beating this powerful foe is the only way to stop the corruption of your lands. So goes the tale of Copperbell.

GAMEPLAY

The game is very easy to pick up. Arrow keys direct your movement left and right. The spacebar propels you into a jump (and a double jump once you find the metal spring). And another key swings the clapper into oncoming enemies. Those are the only controls you’ll need to utilize throughout the game, other than checking the map. I would have preferred a different layout for the controls on the keyboard. It felt a little cramped in the default configuration, but the game isn’t long enough for that to chafe too much.

The one irritating feature that noticeably affected me during gameplay was the sound effect of jumping. Copperbell is small and to navigate effectively the player is forced to jump a lot. For every single jump, even the two separate actions in a double jump, Copperbell will make a noise. For the entire game, that will be the sound that you hear the most. A copper bell grunting every time he has to make a leap.

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Also, beware of a spike in difficulty. Most of the game is quite simple. After you’ve developed an understanding of the controls, attacking and defending against the various creatures become routine. And the necessary strategy to beat all of the bosses except for the last can be discovered during the first run. It’s the final boss where the game shifts. It’s much more complex than earlier encounters. A specific pattern of jumping, swinging, and dodging is essential to finish the fight. It could prove enough of an obstacle for you that you unlock the achievement for dying 25 times during a boss fight.

Other than those two qualifications, Copperbell is an easy game that won’t take too much of your time. 

VISUALS

Like most hand-drawn games, Copperbell is nice to look at. The cottage is warm and cozy. The woods are mysterious. The caves feel damp. The demon looks otherworldly. A lot of time was spent crafting the visuals of the game. The experience is like being transported into an old fairy tale book.

REPLAYABILITY

Not much in the way of replay. There aren’t a lot of collectibles to gather. Character progression can be completed in one playthrough. It takes between one and two hours to beat. There won’t be much of a need to go back.

WHAT IT COULD HAVE DONE BETTER

A longer story with more locations to explore and more characters with which to interact would have made Copperbell more of a journey. It feels more like a short trip at the moment.

VERDICT

The brief adventure feels more like a demo than a full game, and $10 may seem like a steep price to players when the game lasts an hour or two. The hand-drawn world has charm, but its lack of depth might disappoint gamers looking for a little more.

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