Doublehit Games‘ Eternal Hope: The Prologue left me wanting more with its striking resemblance to games like Inside, Far: Lone Sails, and most of all – Limbo. Pleased by its minimalistic art-style, dark storytelling, and logical platforming, I was curious to see how the team expands upon this idea. With the release of Eternal Hope, I now have the answers that left me with further unresolved thoughts. Let’s dig into it further.
The Unrelenting Tale of Ti’bi
Eternal Hope tells the tale of Ti’bi – a boy lonely throughout his life. Ti’bi’s overwhelming loneliness comes to a halt when he meets the love of her life – only to have her killed during a godforsaken storm. Helpless and grief-stricken, Ti’bi sees her falling to her death- back is his days of seclusion. A glimmer of hope appears when he crosses path with a Soul Demon. The demon makes a pact with the helpless Ti’bi – he must gather the soul fragments of his beloved and in return, the Demon shall bring her back to life. To overcome this seemingly impossible task, the Demon lends him his mask that bears his powers. Seeing this as his last resort, Ti’bi clings to his eternal hope of reunion with his beloved and sets out on this harrowing ordeal.
Speaking of the narrative, with its dark tone in its narrative and blissful montages – it’s hard not to say the storytelling is compelling. It sure has moments of clumsiness but in the later chapters, the pacing is more subtle and the tone keeps on getting darker by the moment. Think of it as going from Chapter 1 to Chapter 6 in Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2. But I do have some mixed feelings about the ending. It sure ups the ante but leaves much to be desired. The entire game is a bit on the short side and can be beaten in two hours or so. The demo itself is about 20% of the game by comparison- which is a bit of a letdown.
Gameplay and Mechanics
Puzzling and Platforming- Two Worlds Co-existing in One
The most lovable aspect of Eternal Hope is its graciously designed levels. Demon’s mask comes with realm-switching powers allowing for a more logical take on platforming. Two worlds co-exist – realms of the dead and the living. This allows for some intricate platforming sections – there are hidden objects, platforms, and secret passages all over the place similar to Guacamelee 2. Simultaneous switching between these worlds allows you to move through the world with ease. At times the way forward may be seemingly impossible- but its nothing too overwhelming. Things do get a teensy tricker by the end though.
Since Ti’bi cannot fight his enemies – a large portion of his survival relies on luring his enemies away and fleeing from them. For this, you have to effectively use every tool at your disposal as well as the environment. Moving objects and baiting enemies leads to some cool out-of-the-box moments. For example, I really liked the Troll-chase part. Fleeing through falling debris and dodging Troll’s swings was quite fun. Everything seems to fall at the exact same place during such moments in the game. It certainly reminded me of the classic moments that I had with Limbo years ago.
Traversal – Sloppiness in Mechanics
As I mentioned, the levels are tricky and challenging at times. Still, it remains fair for the most part. I’m afraid I can’t say the same for the mechanics that rests upon its platforming. Jump and running feels irresponsive at times and Ti’bi feels more of a blob – dude can barely jump 3-5 feet high at most. What adds to the frustration is how even low altitude falls prove fatal for him – the same thing could be noticed in its free demo. Clinging to ledges is slightly improved from what we saw in the demo. Still, there’s quite a bit of room for improvement. The game’s sloppiness in its mechanics can be a nuisance at times.
Visuals, Performance, and Sound
Intricate Art-Style with Vibrant Look
From a visual standpoint, the minimalistic art style featured in the game is quite picturesque and beautiful to look at. The art-style utilizes three planes for all animations. The closest one features blurry assets moving at a fast pace. The second plane consists of a silhouette-like visual aesthetic similar to Limbo. All the main action and actual gameplay happen here. The third one may not significant gameplay-wise but it does bolster the visual aesthetics of the game. It is filled with colorful sprites – creating a vibrant but dark look.
Performance-wise, the game is flawless – holding up a stable 60 fps at all times. There were no stuttering or freezing issues as well. It’s neither heavy on the hardware as well- pretty much any GPU can handle this game. I did not encounter any serious glitches in-game, so no complaints there.
As for sound, I found the background score to be a bit monotonous during the early chapters. Surprisingly, they did bring out the big guns by the end. As the platforming got tougher and the musical score got pretty catchy. During these moments, the game’s sharp background score keeps you responsive to handle the intricate platforming it throws at you.
Eternal Hope‘s dark take on its storytelling is quite compelling even though the ending was a bit of a letdown. The realm-switching feature allows for some intricate platforming that is tricky and challenging With more responsive in-game mechanics and a slightly longer campaign, Eternal Hope could certainly be better than it already is.