One step beyond
I wrote a little bit about One Step From Eden last week. It’s safe to say I was enjoying it then. It’s even safer to say that at this point I’m besotted with it. The main part of One Step From Eden is the combat, which takes place across two 4 by 4 grids, one representing your side and the other your opponent’s. Your aim is to reduce your enemy’s health to 0, so fairly standard stuff there. Your attacks are dictated by the deck you have, with each card offering a new attack.
As you defeat enemies you gain new cards, these all come from different factions, with those cards often synergising somehow. While the cards you get are random, you can also up your chances of getting specific factions by choosing to do so in your deck menu. This allows you to aim for a certain kind of build. This really helps once you’ve unlocked other characters too, as many of those are inherently built in a way that benefits specific card types.
There are nine characters in total, and each of these has a couple of different starting builds to unlock as well. On top of that, you also get different artefacts as you play through the game, and you even unlock new cards and artefacts for future runs whenever you level up your profile. This is, undoubtedly, a lot of variations to track, and it allows for a genuinely fresh experience in each run.
The game is split into worlds, with each one being comprised of a few normal rooms before a boss fight. The bosses grow depending on when you fight them. For example, if you fight Gunner in the first world, you might have an easy enough time of things just dodging their beam attacks and bombs. If you fight them in the fifth world though, not only will they have new attacks, but they’ll be faster, have far more health, and be far more hectic with their attacks. You get stronger, of course, but so does everything else.
Perhaps the coolest feature in this very cool game is that you can choose to spare or kill the bosses. If you choose to spare them, then they heal you right there and then, and can occasionally pop up in later rooms to help out. They all do different things, and if you spare every single one in a run, you’ll have a small army turn up occasionally to just wreck whatever you’re fighting against.
If you prefer to kill them, then you’ll get no health or help, but you will get another artefact. It’s an interesting bit of design that allows you to choose whichever option will benefit you the most. I ended up opting to spare nearly everyone and sometimes, the bosses returned the favour. The first time a boss turned around and spared me, I was in awe. You just don’t expect a boss fight to end in you losing but still progressing.
Shall we dance?
There are also a few semi-hidden mechanics in the game too. One boss has you dancing in time with the beat of the music if you want to avoid taking massive damage. There are little rabbits at the campfires that you can kill if you don’t want your luck to increase. Luck is good normally, but the luck stat in One Step From Eden seemingly represents both good and bad luck. You see, while you do get better rewards with a higher luck stat, you also face stronger enemies.
I could legitimately go on for weeks about how good this damn game is. It’s been invading my brain when I’m not playing it. I’m a couple of runs away from seeing grids everywhere I go, and I still can’t get the music out of my head. It’s just an astounding example of how good games can be. I have a fondness for the Mega Man Battle Network games, and while they played incredibly in my memory, I’ve no doubt they wouldn’t hold up as well now.
One Step From Eden takes my memories of the Battle Network games and turns them into a fully-fledged and incredibly stylish roguelike. It is quite simply the best thing I’ve played all year. It might even be one of the best roguelikes around at the moment, and there’s definitely a lot of competition there. I can’t say enough good things about this nigh-perfect game, but I can say that you should stop whatever you’re doing and go and buy it. You’ll not be disappointed.
[Reviewed on PC]
Jason is the Editor of The Indie Game Website. He’s a lover of roguelikes, soulslikes, and other kinds of likes. He basically spends a lot of time getting beaten up in games and seems to enjoy it.