Eastward remembered our fond memories of Nintendo’s last Indie World and even signaled his imminent arrival. Less than a month before we know if he’s as interesting as he is charming, the new freelance pixel art fans at Chucklefish (Stardew Valley) took a minute to chat, which made us realize that his designers aren’t the West .
A dirty and inhospitable world that keeps falling apart. An old man with a beard, a little grumpy. A little girl who seems very special. The only thing missing would be people with mushroom caps between their toes and it feels like The Last of Us. But John the minor and young Sam, heroes united by fate and fleeing a totalitarian society, are anything but the AAA spectacle. And far from depicting the violence of a post-apocalyptic universe in all its forms, their predictions have a hint of 90s anime and video games. Eastward seems quite able to write its own story without wanting to reproduce its influences.
For our preview, we were sent about ten hours after this action-RPG started when the duo had just reached Barrageville (yes, there is a translation in French). For a reason that is not yet clear to us, it is a matter of going to the Grande Gare and then whirling towards the Valle des Secousses, a huge garbage dump that is populated by vicious creatures. Before we go there because the quest log like the map and the lack of signage in the streets do not allow us to find the way immediately, little visit. Trader (of meat, vegetables, fruits and spices), a mechanic to upgrade his equipment, several NPCs with amazing faces like this gentleman hidden in taste who seems to have a pair of gonads in place of his chin and even the terminal of an 8-bit RPG, Earth Born, that will make Dragon Quest think. No doubt we’re in the presence of a hub used to prepare for a little muscular priples. It is a surefire thing that we will be given multiple quests there and that the refrigerator will be used as a backup and the stove to cook good little dishes that will fuel up or provide bonuses.
And we weren’t wrong. If at first glance the atmosphere is as light as the sublime implementation in pixel art, very detailed and ultra-colorful, and suggested by Joel Corelitz’s happy melodies, the progression requires a lot of seriousness. The transformation into what was presented to us as a dungeon took a little time to adapt. Single player game, Eastward
Duo at the sofa hole
This is even more true when we understand that puzzles are part of these environments made up of dglingus devices. And that they are well thought out for the abilities of John and Sam, which quickly diverge after a few attempts together. Very stimulating, this route is sometimes made clear by floating platforms, one sees the way to the other and vice versa. A shot here, a magical explosion there, a box to pull or push, a burnt bush, in the end you end up with a bomb that you have to hit against brittle rocks: it’s all a question of complementarity. And it works very well. While careful the fights eventually go on uninterrupted until a new sequence is a little different, a long hair-pulling breath that requires mastering a boat taken by the current from left to right, but this makes for a fun cutscene leads. And then? Motus and mouth sewn, but even now, without context and wildly whipping a third of the scenario, we can say that there is definitely potential for the “little” game by Pixpil.
WE EXPECT … A LOT
With this first grip, Eastward really makes you want more. His seductive style is the screen of a gameplay focused on alternating between two complementary characters who seem quite thoughtful and capable when ideas like the bestiary know how to renew themselves to captivate us for hours. The reaction is expected to come on September 16, when Eastward will be available for PC and Nintendo Switch.