Published on June 20th, 2024 | by Gareth Newnham

Downward: Enhanced Edition Review (PS5)

Downward: Enhanced Edition Review (PS5) Gareth Newnham

Summary: A challenging and absorbing first person puzzle platformer marred by minor technical niggles.



Downward Enhanced Edition is a curious mix of Mirrors Edge and Prince of Persia, that doesn’t quite stick the landing.

In this first-person platformer, you’re tasked with exploring the ruins of a long-dead civilization in the hopes of figuring out what happened and maybe finding a way to put things right.

To dothis you’ll parkour your way around a series of areas that are part post apocalyptic, part lost civilisation, and just a little too gamey for their own good sometimes.


Guided by an ominous voice in their head, your amnesiac protagonist needs to navigate through a series of conveniently colour-coded caves, temples, and classical architecture on the hunt for three powerful relics that will set the planets back to something closer to proper alignment.

Hopping from pillar to post, dashing across walls, and bounding around the environment works fairly well, to begin with, at least. However, the occasional clipping and physics snafu can see you launched into the air or trapped in the environment, though thankfully, Its never for that long and the game never needed restarting.

As you venture to each new area that runs the gamut of your average platformer, including the obligatory ice and lava levels, you unlock new ways to reach greater heights, including a grapple move, spring jumping off time whirlwinds, and creating platforms out of almost thin air.

When everything comes together and you hit the right flow state, making your way from the bottom of a labyrinthine layout of floating platforms, exploded temples, and great chains to zip down is incredibly satisfying.

However, if you hit one of those technical hitches, you can find yourself falling off the side of a cliff, barely clinging to life and wondering why you even bothered.

It also doesn’t help that the increasingly complex maneuvers the game demands of you are almost all tied to the shoulder buttons, which at times gives you the feeling of having to rub your belly and pat your head to avoid diving head-first into a cavern full of lava.

There is one minor saving grace, though, and that is your ability to create your own waypoint and teleport to it whenever you want. They’re a great addition, so long as you remember to use them and don’t accidentally move it to somewhere completely useless by accidentally pushing X when you meant to push L1.

It’s not just parkour, though; there’s also the occasional rock monster, shambling skeletal abomination, or floating mine to contend with. Though there’s no combat per se, as you can’t attack in a traditional sense, just dive and jump around until you can snatch the glowing cubes that power the ancient golems when they turn green.

There’s also a rudimentary upgrade system powered by collectible orbs that cover the environment and guide you to each new objective, upgrade, or rock monster battle.

Collect enough orbs, and you can unlock additional perks, including multipliers that help you collect more orbs, increase your health and defense, as well as track down the power cubes used to unlock doors to new and hidden areas.

It all feeds into itself quite nicely, and it’s great watching the world slowly open up as you gain new powers and find new routes through each of Downward’s fairly varied areas.

When you’re not unraveling the mystery of what happened to this strange gravity-controlling civilization, There’s also a whole slew of challenge levels to bound around. If you’ve ever played a platformer, you’ll know what to expect. Race to the end as fast as you can, beat the target time, and win a prize.

They’re a good way to grab more orbs, but I also feel like they were mostly made as a means to extend the game’s fairly brisk runtime. At least if you stick to the main objectives, completionists will find a much more substantial experience.

The presentation is competent, too, with nice bright visuals and some great vistas once you’ve reached the top of the crumbling, occasionally floating towers that litter each area. The light yet ethereal soundtrack and strange clicks and whirs of the ancient machines you uncover help to add to the feeling of being a stranger in a strange land.

The voice acting is serviceable, and there’s some good use of the DualSense speaker and triggers. I know it’s gimmicky, but I’m a sucker for that kind of stuff when it works well.

Final Thoughts

Downward Enhanced Edition is a fairly solid platformer that is bogged down by occasional technical hiccups that lead to a few too many cheap deaths. It’s a shame, really, because when the planets align (sometimes literally), and you can hit the right groove, Downward is a compelling and satisfying experience that’ll make an evening pass in the blink of an eye.

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