Eternal Hope is a 2D, puzzle platformer from first-time indie developer Double Hit Games. Which, despite being slightly misnamed, is pretty good. You play as professional sad boy Ti’bi, who’s sad, which is bad. But then he meets a girl, and that’s good! But then she dies, and that’s bad. And then a giant, skeletal, hunchbacked stag-demon with a soul lantern offers you a chance to find the lost pieces of her soul and return her to you, and that’s… good?
Feel’n the Hope, yet?
Eternal Hope plays like a fairly standard side-scrolling puzzle-platformer. You have an ability to enter a different dimension in order to make your way through a dark, post-apocalypse, piece together what happened to the world and find the shards of your girlfriend’s soul.
Immediately upon opening the game, I was struck by how… pleasant it was. The main menu’s audio is the sound of rain against the forest canopy. And on starting the game, I quickly realize that Eternal Hope has quite a charming feel to it. From the classic, Disney-style layered backgrounds and foregrounds, to the simplicity of the visuals. It’s just a pleasant game to be in.
I do have a few gripes, though. You can’t move backwards during a jump, which is something I didn’t know I would hate until I couldn’t do it. (If you misclick, or just make a hasty decision, you can’t recover at all.) And sometimes, because of the charming simplicity of the visuals, it can be difficult to tell what’s part of the map, and what’s important for solving the puzzles. Once I only solved a puzzle because my dead body careening across the map bumped into a box I thought was just part of the background. And there were a few puzzles that, when I solved them, I was more irritated than satisfied. Thinking, “Really? That was the solution?” But I’m prepared to accept the blame for overthinking everything on that one.
I do wish that they’d give us the glide ability first, as Tibi has an interesting relationship with gravity. Sometimes it feels like you die if you jump off a mildly tall rock, while other times the solution to a puzzle is to fuck’n atomic elbow the ground like Macho Man Randy Savage wrestling Gaia herself.
There are some moments that made me sit back and appreciate the game, though. Trying not to get into spoilers. There’s a moment when you’re after the Villain’s heart, and in a room, you can hear it, Tell-tale beating, through the wall. And the “boss fight” was pretty well done too, a series of puzzles to solve while a giant monster tries to murder you. It was an interesting idea, that was implemented well.
My last nitpick does involve spoilers, so if you don’t want the very end of the game spoiled, don’t read this. The game is called Eternal Hope. Right? So you might expect it to have a happy, or maybe bittersweet ending. But no. You die, and the credits roll over your Girlfriend weeping over your grave, in the rain. Alone. (and then the world disintegrates? I dunno, it’s a little unclear.)
Having said that, I did like it. And if you’ve got $11 kicking around I think it’s well worth it for a few hours of entertainment and to support a talented group of indie developers. The game is available exclusively on Steam. Go check it out.