A real-time, strategy, roguelike, deckbuilding action game. That is quite the mouthful. However this is exactly what Thomas Moon Kang’s One Step From Eden is. Confused?
I’d like to tell you that Once Step From Eden is a simple game to understand and play. That wouldn’t quite be true though, as what you have here is something that could seem way too overwhelming to start with.
Despite having a solid tutorial, the mix of different components can still utterly confuse you. Especially as it takes from many genres and melds them together. There are almost too many systems to work out, but there is something about it still that makes you want to carry on.
The old adage goes “simple to play, difficult to master’ and One Step From Eden laughs in the face of that. Well, sort of anyway. Because you can almost button bash your way through early levels with little regard to the strategy.
Maybe I should explain a bit more… oh and before I carry on. This is a really bloody good game despite what I say in the intro. Really good!
Progression in the game is done in a similar way to Slay The Spire. You are choosing a path to progress through areas, each one containing various types of events. Enemy battles, distress signals, hazards, treasures, shops and more. Paths are branching too, so you can plan the best way through.
There will also be a boss battle at the end of each area, plus possible mini bosses at points. Each event can earn you a chance to draw a card to use in battle. Again like Slay the Spire once you understand the game mechanics, it isn’t a case of taking them all. You’ll really need to consider what you need in building your deck.
So if this is real time action, what are the cards for? Well, they are still used in battle, but rather than playing them in a traditional manner, they represent attacks you can make. They will use sections of you attack meter which replenishes over (quick) time. Meaning you need to make sure you aren’t just spamming them.
Each card has a different effect. Some will deal damage, others will help heal, give AoE effects, buffs, etc. It is a lot to take in initially, lord knows I struggled early on. However it soon clicks and makes a lot of sense.
You’ll want to make mental notes on the various cards and how you can synergise them with you deck. Which is vital to latter progression and to help that, you can give your deck a focus, to increase the chance of finding the sort of cards you need. Not a guarantee of course, but it works well and is a welcome addition.
You can also manage you deck by removing or upgrading cards between each stage. There is a really nice touch too, where when picking a card, you can press the ZR button and preview the attack the card offers in a nice little popup window.
The battles themselves are all action and frenzied. You will struggle to comprehend the mechanics initially and you will resort to aimlessly throwing attacks at the enemy.
Once you step back and take a moment to understand the layout and how it all works, you’ll start to really get to grips with the whole strategic side of things. The grid you play on is small. A 4×8 grid with each player have a 4×4 area in which to move.
You move panel to panel on your own side. Attacks will go a certain distance, so you’ll need to make sure you get within enough spaces of the opposition to make an attack work. Whilst at the same time moving to avoid their attacks.
The meter you have is important to manage, but you do have the option of standard attack that can be used to compliment you card based attacks. Think of it as a way of jabbing in boxing. It can be vital in buying you time to ready another card based attack.
Battles are relatively quick, with some over in seconds, whilst other can take a bit longer. This will all depend on how well you have built you deck during a run. At no point though did I ever feel like I was getting bored, every time you play it feels fresh.
The roguelike elements work well too, as there a various different possible permanent upgrades and things you can get, as well as numerous characters to try. Leading also to added modes for game play.
Outside of the main single player campaign, there are also Co-Op and PvP modes. So you can team up with, or fight against another player on the same system. Early on it isn’t a great experience here, expecially if trying to play with some one new to the game. But as with the rest of the game, after a while it becomes a super experience.
There is a lot of flavour to the game, as you can keep track of your stats, or visit the library to see you collection of spell cards and artefacts. This may not be something for everyone, but personally I did enjoy looking through everything I had collected and always welcome that addition to a game.
Presentation wise, you have something that is futuristic, but deals with being in a world of magic. It does come together well to have its own identity and has a really good level of polish. It is a shining example of how far the Indie scene has come over the years.
One Step From Eden can seem impenetrable from the outside, but take your time to get to know it and you have a remarkable title that has an excellent twist on some tried and tested genres. A wonderful addition to any collection.