So, when I first heard about this, it was pitched to me as “a rogue-like Dark Souls”.
Well, they weren’t wrong.
Eternal Step is an indie action/adventure rogue-like available now on Steam, and is presented through 2D models on a 3D plane. Think Rogue Legacy, only the rooms aren’t Metroidvania styled – in that instead of a ‘flat’ area where the character can only move left and right and jump up, you move in all directions in a 3D room.The controls are simple – move, block/dodge, attack, use a potion to heal and two skills usable anytime.
Your objective? Climb the tower by clearing each room of the monsters held within. Every 19 floors past the beginning and the bosses, you get a checkpoint, so you can skip straight to the boss fights. Additionally, there are Challenge Floors – randomly, you will encounter a floor which issues a challenge for you to take on. For example, finish a room without completely exhausting your stamina or receiving a single hit. Complete the challenge, get a reward…simple.
The weapons are handled pretty well – you collect them on a floor upon killing a monster. Upon completing a floor, you are given the option to stash these away for later use or salvaging, or to equip it for the next floor, boosting your stats. OR, you can steal or store the ‘skill’ imprinted on the equipment, adding another level to the gameplay where you may not want the car for its low attack stats, but it has a unique skill in one of the skill slots which you want now or later.
This storage is great because it gives you the option of entering the tower prepared or completely anew. You may not have the best gear (as you were probably wearing it at the time of your demise), but it’s better than the bog standard equipment. It also gives you the option to challenge yourself, – how far can I get without using drops, how far can I get without armour, how long can I go with this one specific weapon?
Recently, there has been a Halloween Update, which adds pumpkins to the levels…which randomly make you encounter Jack O’Lantern, who was the first boss I properly came across…and I’m not afraid to admit I may have lasted less than a minute or two. The bosses, as with many aspects of this game, remind me a lot of aspects from Rogue Legacy.
- Gear and Combat System. Easy to use, simple to collect. The drawbacks on the weapons allows for varied gameplay as you try different weapons. Weapons aren’t simple power-ups, there is logic behind them. What I mean by this is that whilst a hammer may be better than a sword, it is also slow and clunky to use as you might expect.
- Additionally, enemy attacks are given an AOE (Area of Effect) marker, to show you where the damage zone is (and, thus, where you should not be) which is great for this game
- Enemy variety (once you get going). It goes at a pace which allows you, the player, to become accustomed to the various types of enemies you encounter…instead of dropping them all on you, they integrate new monsters into the mobs of common monsters from the first few floors.
- Stamina (DARK SOULS). Using weapon + dodge roll uses stamina, and so you have to be strategic.
- The art. I personally like it, as it reminds me of Rogue Legacy (which I lost many, many hours to)
- Line of Sight. What I mean by this is that you can only see as far as your character can, which works when you have enemies waiting around the corner, just out of sight – it adds a depth to the game which I enjoyed as it made me cautious and nervous (when I turn this corner, will I be mobbed by slimes, or struck by arrows, or will there be nothing?)
- Your own dead body. Again, like Dark Souls, this game gives you the ability to pick up the items left by your corpse. Only, you’re not a soul ball…it’s your actual dead body just lying there.
- I don’t know if it is an issue with my laptop, but I had trouble loading the game itself. And this seems to be a common issue.
- The game has a steep learning curve, and may catch some gamers off-guard
- The art style does seem a little rough around the edges, and some people may be turned off by this. Personally, I put it as a con, but I know a few people who would look at this and think they were looking at an alpha version of the game.
- Sound control (or lack of).
- The Link in me was a little annoyed that despite the abundance of pots, there were no hidden rewards inside them. I may have spent a good few minutes smashing every pot on almost all the floors I came across
I liked this game as it has a certain replayability, but it is not without its flaws. I liked it the same way that I liked Rogue Legacy, but ultimately I feel that Rogue Legacy had already covered this kind of area before (and it’s only been two years since that game came out). Had the game offered some new ground, like switching up the genre away from the fantasy/knight adventure area (perhaps Sci-Fi, Steampunk or Eldritch Horror), it might have stood out a bit better.
Also, if the game had fewer issues starting up…yeah, that would be great.