Eastward review - beautiful Zelda-like RPG captures the spirit of the Japanese classics
A strong love for storytelling and the feel of games like Earthbound makes Eastward shine even where the gameplay flags.
With so much competition out there in the world of games, those first few attention-grabbing screenshots have maybe never been so important. Without wanting to sound cynical, Chinese developer Pixpil sure knew what they were doing in that regard - the first time I saw Eastward back in 2019 it immediately seared itself into my brain. A giant house, seemingly completely built out of driftwood, framed by nothing but the purest cerulean sky. There is so much detail to this one house - the discolouration of the wood, its crooked windows, boards sticking out left and right. Of course good visuals don't make a good game, and yet this attention to detail tells me so much about Eastward.
Eastward is never a copy, often a homage, something that extends to its twists and turns that I won't spoil here - though I will say that the post-apocalyptic setting is more than window dressing, and be warned the story does go to some dark places. The pacing to get there might be a little off at points, but there's so much to recommend besides. I came for the beautiful visuals, and I stayed for the type of kind, warm game not many developers make anymore.