Game: Eclipse: Edge of Light
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PC, PS4, Mobile)
Developers|Publishers: White Elk
Price: US$ 14.99|AU $18.75|CA $ 19.94| £11.29|€ 12,49
Age Rating: EU 16+|US T|AU M
Release Date: 30th January 2020
Review code used, with many thanks to White Elk.
An Eerie Setting
Eclipse: Edge of Light (by White Elk) is a game which focuses on exploration and an unsettling story. The story of the game involves you, the protagonist, crashing on an odd planet. There are disturbing messages everywhere that you can reveal through scanning objects (a function that I found oddly enjoyable). There are intimidating statues around that seem influenced by Ancient Egyptian art, and various references to some sort of fictional religion. I won’t get into the details too much, as I wouldn’t want to ruin your experience, but there is an eerie setting and your understanding of the situation develops as you progress. I wouldn’t call it scary (and I have a low tolerance for scary material, I’ll note), but it certainly has moments of real creepiness.
You move around using the left analog stick and the right stick allows you to move the camera. Holding ZL triggers your jetpack, which gives you the ability to ascend a fair amount and travel through the air, but there is a meter that stops it if you use it for too long in a single session. I enjoyed moving around using this jetpack, although the meter did frustrate me at times. Movement in general is fine, but also quite slow, to the point of annoyance now and then.
The ZR button gives you the chance to use one of the most important things in the game, a very versatile tool that can scan things, break and levitate some objects, slightly morph surfaces and so on. This item is not only key to gameplay but even to the plot. It looks like a little sphere in your hand, and you can throw it far away only to summon it right back to your hand by tapping ZR twice.
There is no real combat to engage in; you slip past traps and security and think your way out of areas. Getting through the game isn’t too tricky for the most part, although at one point I was very much stuck until I finally looked up the solution. (In all fairness, it’s something that I probably should have worked out, not something that was unfairly tricky.)
Connection to Internet Needed
The visual area of the game is a bit tricky to summarise, because in some aspects it can look a bit crude and reminiscent of an older generation (the opening area made me think of games that I played years ago), and at other points there are some lovely looking places. My favourites were one area involving trees with pink petals and another with a creepy atmosphere shining with green light — you can see the second of these in the image above.
On that note, atmosphere is where this game is probably at its best. There is a real unsettling feeling that it captures throughout, and even when I had finished with the game I still felt a little nervy as I walked down the stairs in my house during the night. The official page for this game on the Nintendo site mentions that the soundtrack is by an ‘award winning composer’, and I feel a little guilty, because the soundtrack didn’t make any significant impression on me. When I think back, I can’t really remember hearing much of it at all.
The game needed me to connect to the internet as soon as I started it — which I find puzzling, as this is a single-player game. It didn’t seem to be installing any kind of update either, unless this was hidden. It simply wanted to connect for reasons that I don’t really understand. This isn’t a big deal, mind you, but it’s just a small thing I found unusual.
This isn’t a game with much replay value. Once you finish it, I don’t see many reasons to try it again, but the one time that I did play felt like a decent experience. The actual game runs smoothly and seems like a solid port; I didn’t encounter a single serious bug. If you like atmospheric exploration type games, and don’t mind something that isn’t very replayable, this game may interest you.
Final Verdict: I like it