Developer: Pixpil Games
Platforms: PC, Switch (Reviewed), Xbox One, Xbox Series X |S
Eastward is a pixel art 2D action RPG adventure. The game is based; around a world that is slowly decaying. You play as a digger, John, who assists a lost and mysterious girl named Sam. Through this world that is; slowly taking itself apart. A game similar to Eastward would be Little Witch In The Woods or Hyper Light Drifter. Eastward was developed by Pixpil Games and published by Chucklefish.
Eastward is a single-player game where you can go on; a wonderfully exciting adventure. The story revolves around the main character, you, playing as a digger named John, who works around a decaying world and now is accompanied by a girl named Sam. This post-apocalyptic setting sets out an adventure where you; get to come across charming characters, a thrilling story, and the power of using a frying pan to defeat enemies in your way. The opening scene of this game has an amazing; cinematic that sets the adventure you are about to go on.
The controls to Eastward are very simple. Playing the game on the switch makes it accessible as if you are using a controller. Not many intricate controls are used within the game, which pretty much includes: controls like moving around, interacting with characters, and using your weapon. What is nice about the controls is that when you can interact with people or items, a little bubble with the control pad shows up to indicate you can interact with this item/person. Overall the controls are easy to play.
All the attention towards Eastward is brought upon by the art style that the game is based around. The game has a vibrant, quaint pixel-art landscape that holds such creativity. So much attention is put into the detail of the art style for this game which adds more to the atmosphere. I found myself going through everything in the area to; take a look at the close detail. I enjoy pixelated games very much, and the essence this game captures is so fun and endearing to explore. Small details throughout the game have little animations as well, like the running water or the shine of the metals. Little details bring the game to life. What is so interesting about the art style of this game is that it; is inspired by 90s Japanese animation.
The soundtrack of Eastward consists of wonderful-sounding instrumental music that plays from scene to scene from transition to transition. I love how, when entering certain areas, the music changes to fit with the; theme of the area. It starts with this mellow piano music which sounds familiar to Stardew Valley’s opening to going to a jazz, funk kind of beat. The music in the game adds more life and compliments the visuals so well. Even the sound effects over the top of the music, like shutting the door and the footsteps makes, the game so much more enticing to play. I love the sound effect of the text bubble when interacting with characters, as it has that reminiscing typewriter sound to it which matches so well with the font of the dialogue. The soundtrack for this game is so immersive, and because of the amazing visuals, it compliments one another, making it so that the world of Eastward; is filled with adventure.
My opinion of this game is; extremely positive. I found this game to be so investing and to be; one that I can come to when wanting to wind down. With the visuals, the sound, and the story, it truly is an adventure; that is full of fun. The story itself is also so intriguing as you can unravel it while exploring the world of Eastward. I also really; enjoyed how you can play both John and Sam to be able to solve various puzzles. The selection of weapons that you have handy makes the fighting even more exciting. What I like about how you can switch between the characters is that either character can be helpful when exploring. For instance, Sam is shorter than John, so she can fit through logs that are too small for John.
The boss fights in this game are so unique from one another; each boss plays differently and has a theme to itself. The boss battles are what allow you to get an understanding of what you need to upgrade. I enjoy the combat in this game as the progression of each boss battle allows for; the player to get better at using both Sam and John as well as fighting mini monsters on the way to upgrade your items. I find the frying pan; to be my favourite weapon choice, but John comes in handy with loads more. Playing with the weapons isn’t difficult, and it is fun to be able to whack objects or set them on fire. You can upgrade your health and weapon damage by meeting this guy in the central town. As you progress through the story, you collect more currency which allows you to buy new weapons; that you can add to your collection.
I find the difficulty of the puzzles to also be well balanced, not making you shoot completely in the dark. I found Daniel and William to be interesting characters in the game, and the railway location reminded me of something from a Studio Ghibli movie. Another thing I love about the gameplay is how there is a little mix of everything in the game; you can cook food by putting ingredients together. The one scene where Sam and John drive a car in the water was something I did not expect. What is also so helpful about this game is the objectives menu, the map and other things that help you on your journey. I found this RPG to be so charming and took up so much of my time as it got me invested in wanting to uncover the story. Travel the world, and upgrade the character; to be able to progress further. I also love how you can play a game within this game. The attention to detail is just outstanding.
If; you want to play a game where you get to explore a post-apocalyptic world through the travels of a digger and his sidekick. Then make your way and start; your adventure with this captivating, beautiful, outstanding work of art. This game captures a true essence of a pixelated-RPG game that is so fun to play and in some way relaxing even with all the monster fighting. So, if you want to indulge in this whimsical adventure, then go check out Eastward!
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