Kickstarter has been the birthplace of a number of great games and equally as many failures. Still, every project that succeeds is another coin in the chest of great titles for all to enjoy, and that’s worth far more than any number of failures.
So, with that philosophy in mind, let’s take a look at One Step From Eden, a currently ongoing Kickstarter project that promises to deliver some intense fast-paced combat centered around a deckbuilding mechanic and is currently aiming for release on PC in the third quarter of 2019.
First up, here’s an overview of the project and its Kickstarter trailer, via the official website:
One Step From Eden is a deckbuilding roguelike set in a bleak post-war world with one shining beacon of hope, Eden. The game is centered around relentless real-time grid combat. Cast powerful spells on the fly, battle evolving enemies, find game-changing artifacts, make friends or make enemies, just make it to Eden.
8+ Playable characters and Bosses
25+ Unique evolving enemies
Deckbuilding with 150+ spells
100+ strategy changing items
Procedurally generated worlds and battles
Life or death choices and alternate endings
Local co-op and PvP
Most of the necessary information about the project can be gleamed from its Kickstarter page and the official site. Also available on both of those is a demo of the project showcasing, in a nutshell, the game’s core appeal, and that’s what I’ll be highlighting in the following paragraphs.
The demo of One Step From Eden let’s you play through roughly seven stages spread across a map with each stage containing either a battle, camp or gift box. The battle stages feature a couple of enemies and sometimes hostages as well. These hostage stages are denoted by a “wi-fi” like symbol so you’ll know about them beforehand. In these stages, if the hostage survives, they’ll heal your character for a bit of health at the end. The camp stages are also there to replenish health and the gift stages contain boxes with upgrades to help you out, though on opening the box, you’ll be assaulted by a barrage of attacks. These are fairly easy to avoid as long as you’re not caught by surprise though you can move on without opening them as well. At the end of each stage you can select which route you’ll take moving forward and the contents of each route can be gleamed from the map. All the routes, however, lead to a boss battle against the Shopkeeper who if defeated will let you fight “Her”.
That’s how the general layout of the demo is structured and I assume the full release would follow the same path with each “level” containing a map of multiple stages.
Now, onto the heart of the matter, the battles. Combat occurs on a grid based field divided into the enemy field and player field with each field containing a total of 16 spaces arranged in a 4X4 grid. Both player and foes are confined to their side of the field though certain attacks can temporarily shift you to the other side. For attacking, you’ve got a rapid fire gun which can be fired continuously without repercussion and your spell cards of which two can be equipped at a time. The spell cards require mana to activate and and can be shuffled out for new ones from your deck with the tap of a button. Mana is automatically regenerated once consumed and the amount of mana you have and it’s regeneration speed can be increased on leveling up.
Spell cards come in direct and indirect attacks, defensive walls, buffs and status effects with stuff like a wave of slime, poison darts, cracking tiles, erecting objects to block incoming fire etc. These spells can be deployed with the “Q” and “W” buttons and shuffled out using the spcebar. The “E” button controls your gun and it can be held down for infinite rapid fire. These four buttons along with the arrow keys make up the controls for the game in the demo.
The pace at which all facets of combat occur is lighting fast and will constantly keep you on your toes during battle stages. Though the speed is exhilarating, it can also hamper your ability to properly plan out an attack and often had me randomly throw out spells which put me in a disadvantageous position since I couldn’t really consider their implication. Speaking of spells, new ones can be added to your arsenal after every victory in battle and the equip order of the all the spells can be customized.
Each victory also grants you experience and on leveling up, you can acquire a upgrade for your character. However, since this is a rougelike, falling in battle will lead to all of them being lost. There are two bosses to face at the end of the demo, the Shopkeeper and “Her”. The Shopkeeper definitely gave me a whooping the first time around though once I learnt her patterns, victory was easily clenched.
“Her” however, proved to be a much more formidable opponent with one main reason being that you’ll have to face her at half your normal health. She’s also quite erratic in her design and even with knowing what was coming, I often failed to avoid her attack. I’ve tried a bunch of times so far, all ending in failure though the fact that I kept attempting despite of this, is a solid testament to the addicting nature of the combat.
And that more or less covers my experiences and thoughts on the Demo. From the information available on the game’s site, it looks like there’s a lot more in store for the final version including a full-fledged campaign.
While I did have my issues, the One Step From Eden demo was wonderfully enjoyable time and I’m hopeful the final game builds upon that great foundation. If reading all this sparked your interest, then give the demo a shot and submit some feedback for the developers. I’m sure they’d every much appreciate that and it would all help in delivering the best version of the game possible.