Platforms: Switch, PC
Reviewed On: Switch
Release Date: 16/09/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
EASTWARD was so close to being a modern masterpiece, almost every aspect of the game was fantastic, it just falls flat in one major aspect.
The story revolves around two main characters: the silent miner John and Sam, a girl who John found in a containment unit. The game starts in the pairs underground city where they have been convinced that the ground above is a desolate wasteland, by the Major. With the ultimate punishment being banishment to this in hospitable wasteland and the devastating miasma.
The ground above the city is where Sam comes from and she wants to get back to and explore. SO Sam ventures to the forbidden place and John rescues her. To get banished to the world above for this act. The world is not what they have been led to believe, with blue skies, lush greenery and people living on the surface. But the miasma is real and will devastate all life that it touches.
Now the story follows the pair traveling by train from town to town, helping the locals however they can. All the while trying to stop the miasma.
What A Story
EASTWARD is first and foremost a narrative driven game, with plenty of dialog and characters to meet along the way. When it comes to simple interactions with NPCs, they all ooze charm as every character is well fleshed out and has their own personalities that shine through. The characters are all well interesting to say the least and with the fantastic writing where never a chore to read the text. With a fantastic story, this is a great first game from the developers.
While in dungeons, you will switch control of John and Sam in order to progress through the puzzles and fights. John is our rough and ready no-nonsense hero, that has access to several weapons, from a saucepan, bombs and guns. He will have to fight the dungeon’s inhabitants. Whereas Sam has light powers, that can be used to lighten up dark areas and stun enemies.
There are puzzles a plenty that will need both John and Sam to work together to solve be that standing on a pressure pad to open a door, to splitting up and clearing paths for each other in separate areas. The puzzles are not head scratchers but are fun enough to not get boring.
Here is also where EASTWARD’s falls flat, the dungeons and the fights seem more a means to an end. Another way to try and engage the player in its masterful story. However, it is missing that special spark that would have made it a masterpiece. It is unfortunate, however; it did not put me off the game at all.
A Beautifully Rendered World
EASTWARD is a pleasure to look at, with everything being lovely crafted in a cartoon-like style, that has charm, weirdness, and a world that feels alive and full. The world has cram galore and each new area has its own look and to feel. And somehow the art choice takes nothing away from the story. Mix in a great sound track that underpins the current scene, and it is just spectacular.
Overall EASTWARD is everything you would want in a narrative based game, great writing in both story and characters. A lovely looking and fleshed out world. The developers have got the writing down to a tee. It is just a shame that the combat is a little lacklustre and needs a bit of fine tuning.
Is EASTWARD worth play? Yes, go out and get it now. You will not be disappointed, well, unless you want amazing combat. Even still get it.