Shanghai developer Pixpil is an indie developer that has recently seen great success through one of its titles. Pixpil’s Eastward is an indie action-adventure RPG that has managed to garner the attention of RPG fans as of late. The action-adventure RPG genre is quite saturated with great titles to explore, but Eastward ranks among the hottest of them all right now. While it’s worth checking out for RPG fans in general, fans of The Legend of Zelda series, in particular, may want to take a look.
The term Zelda-like is often thrown around in gaming, but Eastward’s retro 2-D art style really summons memories of classic Zelda titles. Additionally, everything from the protagonist’s frying pan (which can be used to cook health-renewing meals) to the game’s puzzle-filled dungeons will be familiar to fans of The Legend of Zelda series. These similarities, in combination with Eastward’s own merits, make it a game well worth playing for fans looking to relive that classic Zelda experience.
What is Eastward?
Eastward is a story-driven game with a JRPG art style. The player assumes the role of a miner named John and a child with special abilities named Sam as they venture through the world of Eastward, a society that is on the brink of collapse. It is here that Eastward’s story begins, helped along by a cast of NPCs and dungeons to keep the player entertained. The two protagonists embark on an adventure to discover the source of Sam’s abilities as well as the cause of a toxic presence that’s making the world on the surface of Eastward uninhabitable.
As the player sets out on their journey, they may take control of either John or Sam depending on the scenario. John is very much the heavy class in Eastward and will be carrying out much of the combat, while Sam’s powers come in handy to light up pathways or stun enemies. Like in classic Legend of Zelda games, the combat system of Eastward is quite easy to get a hang of. Attacks are tied to one button, and the player has the option of a basic or heavy attack if they hold the attack button down. Using this, the player can launch bombs or swing John’s frying pan at oncoming enemies. Eastward takes around 30 hours to complete, so there’s a lot to explore in the game, including puzzles, dungeons, and boss battles.
Why Zelda Fans Should Check Eastward Out
The parallels between Eastward and The Legend of Zelda series are fairly clear just from looking at Eastward’s gameplay. Sure, Eastward’s 2-D retro-style graphics are the most obvious similarity between the indie title and The Legend of Zelda’s early offerings, but there’s more to the comparisons than that. Like in the Zelda franchise, exploration is rewarded in Eastward, as the player can uncover hidden treasure and items to make their playthrough that bit easier. In addition, Eastward’s 30-hour run time is padded with plenty of characters for the player to speak to, each with their unique quirks that give the game real character along with The Legend of Zelda’s trademark charm.
Eastward is more like a classic Legend of Zelda title than Beath of the Wild, and with the current hype around retro gaming, that may not be such a bad thing. Like older Zelda titles, Eastward is filled with dungeons to explore and complete. Players are faced with many puzzles, which will require them to make use of both of their playable characters. While these puzzles are simple, they provide the player with diversity in gameplay, which is just as appreciated by fans in Eastward as it is in Zelda. As is the case in many Zelda titles, players are offered further diversity in gameplay through boss battles, which provide a welcome challenge to the player and an opportunity to make good use of Sam’s abilities.