Let’s get this out the way, Eternal Step is hard. Almost Dark souls hard. Its takes the brutality of rogue-likes such as Binding of Isaac and Rogue Legacy and ramps it up a notch. One of the features that adds to this, is that you only see your health bar when you take damage, and your potions are visible on your character model, but not in any form of HUD, so going into battle with one of the many different enemy types means pre-planning and often playing very defensive. Aiding you in this is a vast array of skills tied to each weapon, and multiple ways to evade and block.
The main aim of the game is to get to the “end boss” at floor 100, of an ever changing tower, gaining loot and slaying monsters and bosses alike upon the way. A very simple button layout is shown on the title screen, and after a brief tutorial, you’re thrown knee deep into a randomly generated map, where each floor is different each play-through, though i have had multiple occasions where i have the same level spawn in the same run, sometimes within a few floors of each other.
The game features a surprisingly deep weapon customisation and loot system. Enemies drop loot cards upon death, but they can only be kept when completing the level. When going through the new loot, you get to choose to either equip the new gear now, save it for a later run, or even steal one of the skills the new gear has to use on your current equipment. On starting a new run, you get to choose between using old collected gear, or trade old, used gear for new, better equipment. This helps to add to the grindy, repetitiveness of the game, running just to get loot to get better gear for your next serious run.
The music and sound in the game is pretty on point. Creepy and atmospheric during basic levels, and fast paced and frantic for the boss fights and those tense, low health moments. Your footsteps echo through the hallways, and each swing of your sword feels meaty. The only let-down of the game is the visuals. The seemingly hand drawn graphics seem to take away from the deep loot system and heavy risk reward gameplay. The animation is very fluid, and the way they handle vision is very clever, though the cartoony sprites don’t seem to dangerous then kill you in two hits, and landmines are hard to see, leading to seemingly cheap deaths.
Overall Eternal Step is a fun and addictive dungeon crawler, with deep customisation and great risk reward moments, though it is let down by the visuals and repeated level design.
I give Eternal Step a 7/10
A review copy of the game was obtained from the developers free of charge. My thoughts and opinions are however totally my own