Greak: Memories of Azur Review

Richard Walker

Greak: Memories of Azur is a side-scrolling adventure in which you play as the young hero of the title, an elven being known as a 'Courine' who is frantically searching for his lost sister, Adara. Stranded in a dangerous realm that's been overrun by a sinister plague, Greak can run, jump, and slash at enemies with his sword, while lending aid to the frightened inhabitants of a small encampment, as they hurriedly build an airship to flee their home. Apparently, the scouts they've sent out have failed to push back the advances of unctuous, oily Plague monsters and a conquering faction known as the Urlags, so, predictably, it falls to you to save the day.

Reunited, at last.

Seemingly indebted to games like Ori and the Blind Forest, indie developer Navegante Entertainment has imbued Greak's simplistic hand-drawn characters with enough personality to be endearing, and there's a gentle, ethereal magic to the painterly environments you'll traverse throughout the kingdom of Azur. But its puzzles, which largely rely on juggling two or three characters in unison, are frustratingly hit and miss. For every cleverly orchestrated multi-character conundrum, there's an irritating puzzle that relies on precisely lining up a mechanism or timing a jump just right. Once you track down Adara, you can switch between both characters with a tap on the d-pad, using one to weigh down a pressure pad while the other passes through a doorway, or using Greak to turn a winch to elevate a lift for Adara (or vice-versa), for instance.

Their roles are mostly interchangeable, although Adara's ability to stay underwater for long spells means you can explore Azur's depths, unearthing treasure chests or other sunken items. Holding down L2 enables you to keep Greak and Adara locked together, controlling the pair simultaneously. This sounds simple enough, but each character's differing jump ability can make traversal as a pair a real headache. Where Greak can double jump, Adara leaps then floats with her skirt billowing on the air. Cue many a missed jump and then having to go back and carry out a section with each character individually, doubling the amount of work it takes to get through the game's non-linear levels. Once older brother Raydel gets in on the action, wrapping your brain around three characters, with three sets of varying abilities, becomes more trouble than its worth.

While Greak and Adara can swim across bodies of water with ease, Raydel flails about and drowns in anything resembling a puddle. And while Raydel is handy in combat, with greater strength than his younger siblings, and a shield to deflect enemy attacks, his grappling hook is imprecise and his jump is cumbersome, making platforming a pain. Throw in needless inventory management (each character has three slots that can be expanded to four, at a price), and Greak: Memories of Azur fast becomes a thankless exercise in sheer perseverance. It all starts out promisingly enough, but there are far too many little niggling irritants that turn Greak's adventure into a chore.

Side quests almost exclusively involve returning a doodad of some description to an NPC at the Raven's Road Camp, or, as Greak, killing a certain number of enemies to complete your scout training to earn new skills. While at the camp, you can trade blue crystals, known as 'Cribes', for health elixirs, a new inventory slot, or a useful consumable item, while teleportation stones enable you to quickly move between regions for 10 Cribes a pop. Save points are prescribed, and only available at little lodestones dotted throughout each area, so the occasional trudge back when you die is not uncommon.

And die you will, especially when the character you're not currently controlling can often be left vulnerable to enemies – something especially galling when battling a boss. There's enough going on during a boss encounter without also having to manage a second character. Consequently, combat can feel unfair, and boss battles are invariably pattern-memorising affairs that are made all the more annoying by character switching, or the character you're not controlling dying while you're trying to concentrate on the task at hand. It would have been nice to know that the AI could take care of a character you're not in charge of, or at least make them invulnerable while they're idle, but alas, they become a liability.

Damn these pesky mirrors!

You can rustle up health items in cooking pots found in random places, using ingredients foraged during your questing, then devour them when your health dwindles; while consumables like whetstones or scrolls temporarily buff your combat abilities. But ultimately, none of this helps to alleviate Greak's fundamental problems, which make what could have been a compelling little adventure a frequently infuriating one instead. There are brief flashes of something special in Greak: Memories of Azur, but, sadly, they're mired by sloppy execution and a litany of irritations that seem to have been implemented by design, rather than by accident.

Greak: Memories of Azur

It looks lovely and plays well enough, But Greak: Memories of Azur is hamstrung by awkward puzzles, maddening boss battles, and annoying backtracking that'll have you rolling your eyes out of their sockets.

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The soundtrack is genuinely superb, but none of the characters are voiced. This isn't a problem, of course, but the sound of the text appearing in speech bubbles may drive you to distraction.


Simplistic, but imbued with plenty of charm, Greak is an attractive-looking and nicely animated adventure, its painterly backgrounds being particularly appealing. Respawning enemies do tend to get a bit tiresome, however.


Fundamentally, Greak: Memories of Azur works just fine, and there are some genuinely good puzzles using multiple characters, but it's all slightly hit and miss. Combat improves the more moves you unlock, but by that point, you'll have likely had enough.


A solid enough single-player platforming adventure that on a casual run will take you about 6-7 hours or so, with side-quests and a whole bunch of puzzles to tackle. Limited inventory slots and controlling 2-3 characters at once can be annoying


There are some perfectly serviceable objectives to complete in here, but completing the game while saving only five times or beating it within three hours are trophies for only the most unhinged of players. Just horrible.

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