Return to the days of early 3D platformers!
The Way of Cinnamon is a 3D platformer with elements of exploration and puzzle solving. Armed with a magical shield, you play as Cinnamon, who sets out to rescue his red panda family from a gang of snow leopards.
The game features a colorful, low-poly style similar to N64/PS1 era titles, but with slightly more detailed textures. This is a bit of a bold choice for a new title, as the low-poly aesthetic isn't nearly as popular or beloved as say the 2D pixel art style. While there are some who find the look charming and nostalgic, many others (including myself) would say it was merely a product of technology's growing pains and as a result didn't age well. While streaming Cinnamon, viewers asked how old it was and were surprised to find out the game was recently released.
That said, how a game plays is more important than how it looks. Cinnamon fared better in this department, but has some larger issues it needs to deal with (which I'll get to in a moment). Gameplay is adequate but unexceptional when it comes to 3D platformers. The hero has a close-ranged spin attack which is mostly worthless, but early on acquires a mystical shield that features the game's core mechanic. The shield can be thrown directly ahead to attack enemies it contacts and eventually returns to you, much like Captain America's shield or Link's boomerang. It can also be set to hover in place, allowing it to function as a platform. While a bit finicky to place where you want sometimes, the platform shield is a neat option that allows the player to explore and experiment.
Speaking of exploration, most of The Way of Cinnamon's levels are designed with multiple paths, giving you some freedom to roam. Clever use of the shield can get you access to additional areas containing both enemies and rewards.
As I mentioned earlier, Cinnamon includes some puzzle-solving, though it's frankly not the game's strong suit. The cavern level contains several rooms each with a different type of puzzle. The puzzle room with the chasm was a complete mystery to me, as trying everything I could think of gave me no feedback or results. The statue room was easier to understand but very glitchy - at one point, I had one of the upper statues repeatedly bouncing on its head!
Sadly, some of the puzzle rooms defeated me, though I enjoyed nearly everything up to that point. The Way of Cinnamon has a good concept and some potential - just a little more polish would go a long way on this one!