We’ve seen our share of publish apocalypses within the final decade however hardly ever have they arrive with the sense of spirit and persona as Eastward, the debut providing from Pixpil. You play as John and Sam, an unlikely duo from a mining city underground. Their journey is a story journey using the rails to sudden locales and assembly a cavalcade of fascinating characters. This story weaves thriller with discovery and encourages you to tag alongside as our heroes trek Eastward.
Our story begins with John and Sam. John is a silent gruff miner in an underground city that found and adopted a toddler in Sam. Whereas they’re content material of their each day routines, they quickly change into entwined in a thriller concerning the above world the place Sam actually got here from. After their obvious exile from their dwelling to the floor, they discover that it isn’t precisely as damning as initially foretold. The floor is definitely a thriving publish apocalypse full of bustling cities, farming villages, and a lethal miasma that threatens to destroy all of civilization. Onward they journey by practice serving to new and interesting individuals alongside the best way.
Whereas John and Sam are the focal factors, the sport is full of full fleshed-out facet characters that fill what appears like a realized world. Every interplay is properly written and conversations really feel genuine to even essentially the most minimal bit gamers. Interacting with every particular person you meet fills the world with much more wealthy backstory. Not to remove from our protagonists however everybody shines right here, from the lovable knucklehead explorer Izzy and her robotic sidekick to the bumbling mayor of the underground. These characters are rendered in a cartoon artwork type that’s playful however doesn’t downplay the story when issues get critical. The landscapes change from dreary darkish mines to shiny blue skies, which makes for placing contrasts. That is all accompanied by a catchy dystopian chiptune soundtrack that punctuates each scene.
So far as enjoying Eastward, it’s an easy narrative sport as you progress from quest marker to quest marker exploring extra of the world and seeing what interactions you could find. It’s not essentially on railsdefinitely making an attempt to inform its personal particular narrative. There are dungeon sections as properly that have you ever switching between John and Sam to make use of their very own distinctive specialties. John makes use of weapons like a pan or flamethrower to combat off enemies whereas Sam can use her mysterious mild powers to stun. Puzzle sections break up up the duo, forcing you to swap forwards and backwards to permit the opposite to proceed. The issue is comparatively low in each accounts as I died solely a handful of instances all through my play and was hardly ever stumped for too lengthy on puzzles.
Upgrades are additionally accessible to do extra injury together with your weapons, enhance stock area and even a cooking system that appears and acts suspiciously like Breath of the Wild. No, significantly: this consists of pink and yellow hearts with particular meals buffs. Additionally with its story, allusions could be made to Final of Us however in a lighter pixel artwork tone. It wears its influences on its sleeve and isn’t shy about it. Apart from that, there isn’t a lot so far as a development in addition to paying for upgrades or carrying capability. Different weapons could be acquired, however nothing that deep. Reality be advised, I’m unsure if the weapons have to be that deep.
Whereas there isn’t an excessive amount of in the best way of gameplay mechanics, the story was compelling sufficient to drive me in the direction of its in the end satisfying conclusion. That is each a testomony to its sturdy writing but additionally an announcement to shallow mechanisms. Upgrades really feel superficial and the fight falls flat. The boss battles do properly in introducing partaking battle puzzles of their very own however in any other case Eastward appears like I’m simply shifting from story beat to story beat. It’s not boring by any means however it’s lacking that particular one thing to maintain the participant engaged.
Eastward delivers so properly on the writing and soundtrack entrance that it’s straightforward to forgive its in any other case simplistic gameplay. The totally realized world has its appeal, nevertheless it hardly breaks the mould wherever else. Whereas it does not do something essentially offensive, it does demand extra when the remainder of the sport is so properly completed. It’s clear Pixpil have gotten the writing chops down, now let’s tighten up a number of the stuff round it.