If I was forces to choose the indie game that impressed me most at this year’s PAX East, it’d be One Step From Eden. Hidden among the games at the Indie Minibooth, I was initially a little shocked by it’s tagline of combining action gameplay with roguelike elements and…deckbuilding?
It’s a strange combination, but developer Thomas Moon Kang has manged to blend them perfectly and has created an adrenaline rush of a game, forcing you to think fast, move faster, and trust in your skill and your luck to get you one step closer to the finish.
One Step From Eden is a deckbuilding roguelike set in a bleak post-war world with one shining beacon of hope, Eden. The game is centered around relentless real-time grid combat. Cast powerful spells on the fly, battle evolving enemies, find game-changing artifacts, make friends or make enemies, just make it to Eden.
As I played the demo of One Step From Eden, I fell in love with it’s mechanical system. You start each run with a small deck of spell cards (presumably, this will grow as the game progresses, but for now we have one demo level). Combat is fast and furious, with you darting about, firing lasers, and cast spells drawn from your deck at random. Each time you defeat all the enemies in a battle, you get the opportunity to choose one of three random spell cards to add to your deck. Each card has a mana cost, different trigger effects and different damage effects, and there is a HUGE variety of cards and effects, which can make for some AMAZING combos.
Additionally, you gain experience at the end of each battle. Each time you level up, you get to select an artifact, which is a passive bonus to your character. Again, there is a MASSIVE variety of abilities and effects to choose from: Sometimes you may need to simply take +1 Mana to use some of the spell cards you’ve picked up, but other times you might invest in lifesteal or temporary invulnerability.
Combat is incredibly fast paced, and you definitely have to think on your feet, adapt and strike when you can. The word is again variety, because there are a lot of different enemy types, configuration and additions to levels. Sometimes, this is just a piece of terrain, that might block some of the enemies form a spell you’re firing off, other times it’s a hostage who will gift you with healing or passive buffs if you manage to save them (a.k.a. not kill them with AoE Effects).
While I’m not a massive fan of the anime aesthetic (which is still objectively very well done, just not my cup of tea), it hasn’t stood in the way at all of me enjoying the gameplay of this game. It’s that good.
One Step From Eden is currently scheduled for a release on PC and MAC in Q4 of 2019 and I cannot wait.