The stories of Eden have painted it as a paradise of paradises for generations. What lies within this mysterious land has been on the minds of many, tempting them to pay a visit, even if it means life or death. How far would you go to get to this distant land? Would you slay your enemies who stand in your path or show them mercy as you continue to climb your way to the promised land?
One Step From Eden is heavily inspired by the MegaMan Battle Network series, yet is different in its own ways. Instead of a solid storyline, an explorable overworld, and the malicious dark chips, you have the seemingly impossible road to Eden and superb determination. While it may not sound as great on paper, the execution of this idea is handled extraordinarily well.
Getting the hang of things right off the bat may prove to be a problem; however, it’s not too difficult to pick things up along the way. Starting with the default character, Saffron, and a small set of spells and an artifact, you must choose a path to Eden through various worlds. Throughout runs, additional spells and artifacts are earned to help you progress further through the game and make it to Eden.
Combat and Difficulty
It doesn’t take long to build up an addiction to the gameplay. Each utter defeat only adds to your determination to climb higher, as it immerses through the body with the more unsuccessful runs. Every decision affects how far you get on your journey to Eden, whether you choose to let emotions take the reigns and become ruthless or invoke a rational mindset and consider mercy to those on your path.
Players jump straight into the bullet hell madness on a grid-based battlefield right after selecting their character and route. Battles are short, fast-paced, and can get brutal; not disappointing to its bullet hell and roguelike elements. As the calm passes away, the storm emerges, as bosses will surge in difficulty while you struggle to maintain composure. Paying attention to what’s on the screen and making decisions optimized for your playstyle such as choosing the right spells will be crucial to runs.
Unlocks and Replayablility
No run is made in vain. Each run will unlock spells and/or artifacts that can be used in future runs. It’s a grind to unlock them all, but will it be your intention? It certainly won’t feel that way for the majority. Depending on how far you get and your achievements, you’re even able to unlock characters and new costumes. It isn’t easy though, especially if you’re not good at the game.
There will be many failures on the road to Eden. As you struggle through the set amount of worlds, you will often find yourself starting over from the beginning. All progress made will be undone, with only the new unlocks (eg. spells) for future runs to show you even made an attempt. Despite the seemingly endless time you can have with runs, repetitiveness never becomes an issue, with procedurally generated maps and rotating bosses creating a different experience for each run.
Spell Variety and Artifacts
The game has a large variety of spells and artifacts that allow for all types of playstyles. The occasional references made toward other series are exciting to discover and never a bore to read. Obtaining these spells and artifacts are random, however, the game offers an option to increase the chances of collecting specific categories to help build up your deck the way you want it.
Each run is associated with a specific seed. These seeds can be used to revisit the set path to Eden, allowing players to plan ahead and make better moves to improve their chances of accomplishing their goal. They can also be shared among the community in its number format. Unfortunately, the game does not do a great job of explaining how it works or instigating it’s optional for a player’s first run, as some players might go as far as entering custom names into it.
While some players might see it as a useless mechanic, people accustomed to roguelike games will have no issue quickly adapting to it. Observant and curious players will still have to look outside the game itself to fully understand and use this mechanic.
Graphics and Soundtrack
The game looks great visually with each character sufficiently detailed to work in a grid-based battlefield game, movement and attack animations run smoothly, and the fast-paced multi-event gameplay is clear on the Nintendo Switch.
The soundtrack also fits in well with the type of game One Step From Eden is. It doesn’t disrupt your attention from the gameplay and it never becomes annoying to listen to or repetitive after constant attempts at making it to Eden.
Multiplayer and Content Updates
Multiplayer gameplay is present in the game, however, as of writing this review, it’s limited to local play. If you have a friend who lives nearby and an extra controller, you can buddy-up and play together in either co-op or pvp mode. Co-op lets you try to ascend to Eden together with a friend with a catch – health is shared between both players. It feels strange and may take some time getting used to, but two heads may turn out to be better than one. PvP, on the other hand, lets you fight against a friend locally. Immediate accessibility to content would have made the experience better.
The developer has made it clear that he plans to release new content in the future for the game, therefore, there is hope for an online multiplayer update, which would be a drastic improvement to the longevity of such a game. Collecting spells/artifacts, trading them, and fighting against others over Wi-Fi would give fans what the MegaMan Battle Network series failed to deliver.
One Step From Eden may seem short in theory, but it offers many hours of gameplay from its harsh difficulty and replayability. It’s been designed in a way where it never feels repetitive, no matter how many runs you go through. In addition, it succeeds in filling the void of the lack of a new MegaMan Battle Network game to a certain degree, however, it may not appeal to everyone because of its unforgiving difficulty.
One Step From Eden gets a 9/10.