Equinox is an isometric platforming and puzzle game for the Super Nintendo. It is the sequel to the NES game, Solstice. The player assumes the role of Glendaal, who is the son of the main character from Solstice, Shadax. Shadax has been captured by his former apprentice, Sonia. As the only person suitable for the task, Glendaal is asked in a letter from his father to stop Sonia. In order to do this, he must embark on a quest through eight dungeons of increasing difficulty, on eight different continents. In each dungeon, there is a guardian who must be defeated before the next continent (and thus, the next dungeon) can be accessed.
Equinox is a hybrid of platforming and puzzles, in the sense that many of the puzzles arise from situations caused by its platforming element. For instance, Glendaal may need to reach a key or a potion on a ledge that at first appears to be out of reach until blocks are moved around the room, creating a functional staircase. As in standard platforming games, the player may jump and move around in any direction, although the isometric nature of the game makes moving in any but 4 directions a bit difficult. However, the game rarely abuses this fact. The isometric view is often exploited to such an effect as to have the player guessing the height off the ground that certain ledges are.
The game is split into two distinct portions: the world map and the dungeons. On the world map, Glendaal is limited to jumping and playing a harp. The harp is used, when one progresses deep enough into the game, to teleport between certain locations. On the world map, trolls and bats appear, and will trigger a combat sequence similar to the dungeon mode of the game. Trolls and bats drop healing items and magic regenerating potions, respectively. Also, when a troll is defeated for the first time with a newly found weapon, the player's life gauge is increased.
The dungeon portion of the game has a tighter control scheme and allows the player to use spells and weapons. Spells include a basic healing spell, effectively turning magic into health, as well as damage spells that hurt all enemies in a room. Weapons range from knives to axes to swords, although all weapons are thrown when used. Effectively, this makes all weapons ranged, even though in reality they are all melee in nature. While in the dungeons, players may find apples (which restore health), and potions (which restore magic). There are also keys, which unlock gates, leading to new areas to explore in the dungeon. These keys can only be used in the same dungeon they are found in. However, keys can be used for any door that is the same color as the key.
Enemies in the dungeons range from ghosts to blobs, and they call come in multiple colors (representing difficulty). When the player defeats all of the enemies in a room, and acquires all of the items as well, enemies never reappear there. If an enemy comes into contact with the player, the player "dies" and returns to the point of entry to the room, as long as there are life points remaning. Because of this, rooms often need intelligent strategies to overcome, as any damage results in a restart, losing life each time.
In order to progress through a dungeon, a player must find 12 tokens. These tokens are blue, shiny orbs located at difficult-to-reach spots throughout the dungeons. Once 12 tokens in a dungeon are found, the player must find a special room, wherein the dungeon guardian is summoned. The guardians are extremely difficult bosses that follow regular movement and attack patterns. Some of these bosses summon lesser monsters as well. Once the guardian is defeated, their spirit is no longer able to haunt the land, and the player can move on to the next region.
Items in Equinox all come in four colors. These four colors help distinguish the potency of items (in the case of potions and apples), or simply distinguish usage (in the case of keys). You can only pick up items once; items never regenerate. Items come in the following colors, in order of potency:
Green < Blue < Red < White
Keys are found throughout the dungeons of the game. A player may find dozens of keys in a single dungeon. Keys come in all four colors, but the colors only reflect the doors they are able to open.
Potions are found by slaying the bats on the world map, and in the various dungeons. A green potion is capable of filling a single point of magic, while a white potion fills all empty magic points.
Apples are found by slaying the trolls on the world map, and in the various dungeons. A green apple is capable of filling a single point of health, while a white potion fills all empty health points.