A whale on top of a building

Dongjin Review

In a world where humans are attached to the pockets of civilization, Eastward draws inspiration from old RPGs and movies such as Earthbound, Zelda, and Studio Ghibli to create beautiful desolate locations full of puzzles and a mixture of action. Although it looks like a pixelated old-fashioned RPG, it is very gorgeous and every environment is full of details, just like a Ghibli movie. This is a tribute to the famous Japanese animation studio, and you can find a version of Hayao Miyazaki himself in the starting town Potcrock Isle.

need to know

What is it? A modern tribute to JRPG classics
Estimated payment: USD 25 / GBP 22
Developer: Pixel
Publisher: Clownfish
Comment time: Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel HD Graphics 620, 8GB RAM
multiplayer game? No
go out: now
Association: East Game Network

Eastbound follows John, a silent miner, who cooks and beats people with a frying pan, and Sam, a little white-haired girl (that’s why you know her mysterious). The two developed a father-daughter relationship when they were making a living in the underground town of Port Croke Island, but when they were banished to the wasteland of the surface world, they found that the above things were not what they thought. It takes a while to start, but when you leave the first area and introduce deeper mysteries, it really starts to take off.

(Image source: Chucklefish)

These puzzles are very similar to the Legend of Zelda—place heavy objects on the platform to keep the door open, throw bombs in the gaps, separate the characters into one another to clear paths—and are both challenging and not too irritating. Strike a balance between frustration. Some parts do feel a bit repetitive, especially the part where you have to solve the puzzle quickly to avoid being consumed by the spreading miasma. Let me leave for a second to calm down. It’s not that the puzzles themselves are difficult, but that there is not enough time to evaluate and complete them before death. Repetition and frustration destroy the tension, but fortunately, this kind of thing is rare in the East.

The monsters are cute, like staggering mushrooms and bomb-spitting duck plants, and they can usually be removed with a few pans. The bosses all have some kind of gimmick to solve first-coax them out of hiding, or let them stand still, so you can beat them hard.John’s reliable frying pan has a satisfying Nail in But it can be difficult to aim, and switching between aim and gun will slow you down, which causes me to relax my vigilance in more situations than I am willing to admit. However, the exchange between John and Sam uses her energy to explode very quickly, helping to keep the sense of freshness.

(Image source: Chucklefish)

What makes Eastward truly outstanding is its atmosphere. It somehow crosses the boundary between the retro feel of pixels and the modern feel of detail and lighting. New Dam City is a highlight. Japanese houses and alleys are crowded together, but there are still potted plants and electric wires everywhere. Other areas are disturbing, and as you learn more, this anxiety will gradually spread. When you are exploring a beautiful forest, the eyes of the next robot will follow your every move. Eastward also did some interesting things through the vibration settings on the controller-simulating the feeling of passing a train track or the feeling of heartbeat at a tense moment.

Even after I stopped playing, the music continued to bother me. This is a Chiptune love letter written to games in the 90s. There is no doubt that it will enter many “lofi chill beats to study to” playlists. The text design is also great-during stressful moments, speech bubbles will tremble in surprise or ticking slowly. This is a master class on how to give a character personality without dubbing.

(Image source: Chucklefish)

Eastward is full of unique characters, and even those NPCs who have just lived through their lives will shine. The downside is that when everyone in the room is weird, no one really stands out. It feels like being hit by a wall of constant chatter, it is difficult to say what is important, because everything is given the same weight. In addition, real understanding of certain characters is just to keep them from being mentioned again, which means that it is difficult to develop attachment to anyone.

Relatively early, John attracted an admirer named Uva. The romantic element was suddenly and simple. A group of grandma intervened in it. Everyone needs their own “position” as part of the comedy. They are unnecessary and overbearing-without this, the story would be better. Regrettably, the cast are excellent, but they must compete with each other to get your attention. John’s perseverance, because he is the only one who never speaks.

(Image source: Chucklefish)

In addition to the main story, there are also terminals that allow you to play an old-fashioned 8-bit RPG called “Earth Born”, which features the classic turn-based combat in the early Dragon Quest game. It is surprisingly deep, and various characters are full of enthusiasm for it during the journey, which makes the world that Sam and John explore more real. Cooking and finding new recipes to make healing items is another interesting pastime. It has cute and flexible animations, just as joyful as the animations in Breath of the Wild. However, there is hardly enough space in your backpack to store your cooked food or enough stove to cook, which makes it hard to heal in the dungeon.

As a tribute to the RPG in the 90s, Eastward is great and has an atmosphere worth savoring. However, although the central mystery is very fascinating, it does not completely put all the different clues together, leaving some plot holes in the end. It is also difficult to keep up with the momentum, and the character sometimes feels covered. I like to bask in the sun-dappled forest and hide in abandoned subway stations, but I am also willing to accept certain things. Eastward will never reach the same height as its inspiration, but it has made a commendable effort.

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Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.