Fin and the Ancient Mystery is a 2D platformer that sees players take control of a fennec fox named Fin, in order to protect the world from what’s known as the Destroyer, uncovering ancient mysteries as you go. Sadly, that’s about as in-depth as the story goes.
As is the case with most platforming games, Fin and the Ancient Mystery tasks players with defeating enemies, avoiding obstacles and gathering various collectables in order to progress to the next level. There is also the odd puzzle for you to solve along the way but they’re mostly super simple.
Collectables come in the form of purple gems and chests that contain items such as health potions, mana potions, and even EXP, health, and mana top-ups. Of course, opening chests isn’t the only way to gain these items – killing enemies will also net you experience points and top-ups.
It’s the gems that are interesting as you can use them in the shop – available straight from the start menu – to purchase potions that offer various effects. I must say, it is pretty pointless spending your gems on these though as you can find pretty much everything that is available in the shop, also in the chests dotted around each level. You will use some of your purple gems to respawn when you die, but it doesn’t feel like much of a punishment due to the fact that you don’t necessarily have to buy items. Even when you have no gems left when you die, the game will still respawn you back in the level.
Unlike most platforming games, Fin and the Ancient Mystery offers players an RPG element in the form of levelling up. This excited me as I absolutely adore being able to make a character my own. Sadly, there is no real depth to the levelling system here. Each time you level up you unlock a skill point to use in 1 of 4 categories: attack damage, hit points, magic damage and magic points. That’s it — no skill tree, no new attacks to learn… it just feels pretty empty.
Combat also feels pretty basic. You have one melee attack and a magic attack and that’s as far as it goes. I was pretty disappointed that there was, again, no real depth to the combat. There’s no way to combo attacks to switch it up a little and no way to learn new melee attacks. One thing that did annoy me more than anything else was the lack of a block button – it meant that it was virtually impossible to not get damaged by an enemy, as simple as they are to kill.
Across the 10 levels, Fin must battle with six end-of-level bosses – each one different from the last and relating in some way to the level you are on. There is no real challenge in defeating these bosses due to the lack of combat options but it is a nice addition to the game. Some of them offer witty lines too such as a giant, tree-like boss stating ‘I AM NOT GROOT’. That gave me a chuckle.
As vibrant and as colourful as the game’s visuals are it still just all feels pretty average – your character never seems to blend into any background and any enemies feel like they almost don’t belong there. The same can be said about the soundtrack too – nothing exciting, it’s just looping sounds that can get annoying fairly quickly.
Fin and the Ancient Mystery £4.49
As much as I wanted to enjoy Fin and the Ancient Mystery, I just couldn’t. Although its price point is pretty good, it’s hard to recommend it when there are so many other platformers on the Switch that offer much more enjoyment.