Eldritch Review: Triumphing Over Lovecraftian Horrors
During my time with Eldritch, I mastered teleportation, jammed a knife into the skulls of unsuspecting fishmen, and descended into the bowels of evil books; searching for the very souls of the Old Gods. While on my search for these souls, I encountered diverse landscapes, horrific beings, and shrines to foreign gods long since forgotten by man. Eldritch is a rich roguelike-inspired adventure into a Lovecraftian world, and while it is not a perfect experience, Eldritch is a game that oozes imagination and adventure.
Eldritch is relatively simple in its premise – players begin their journey in an occult library with little more to go on than journal entries scattered about the floor. Three pedestals block your exit and before you stand three strange books. It is within these three books that Eldritch’s strange adventure begins in full.
Upon activating the books, the player is transported into the living pages, thrown into the realm of different gods. Eldritch tasks the player with exploring the depths of these worlds, collecting artifacts and keys as they delve deeper and deeper on their quest for souls.
Eldritch’s approach to randomly generated levels ensures that no two runs are ever the same. The worlds encountered exude character, even with the game’s simplistic graphics. Each level is loaded with pickups, weapons, keys and health items. Finding and maximizing the use of each item is the key to survival when it comes to the world of Eldritch, as each death means restarting with nothing.
The roguelike mechanics of Eldritch carry on the tradition of an oldschool video game experience and does wonders to add a sense of urgency as the player trapezes through each area. As players learn the ins and outs of Eldritch, mastering the game’s movement becomes an absolute thrill – navigating the Lovecraftian levels with a unique blend of stealth, speed, slides and platforming has never been more entertaining.
Eldritch, despite its terrific atmosphere and level design, never really creates much of a challenge to the player. The wonderfully designed horrors that stalk each level do their best to pursue and harm the player, but few actually present any real threat. This is not to say that making your way through Eldritch is boring in any sense, however, because for each monster that the player can simply brute force their way past, stronger and more dangerous horrors lurk about as well.
Part of Eldritch’s charm comes from the game’s retro presentation. Block like and simplistic, yet still rich in personality, Eldritch perfectly captures the Lovecraft-inspired atmosphere it intends to. Similar to the haunting stories of H.P. Lovecraft, Eldritch succeeds in taking the player out of their comfort zone, throwing them into the bizarre, and expecting them to survive with only what can be salvaged.
Thankfully, what can be salvaged is often more than enough in Eldritch. As stated above, the game tends to slack on the difficulty aspect, and players never really have to feel like they are completely unprepared for unknown. While dying ultimately means losing everything the player has gathered, save for what has been deposited into the bank chests that are few and far between, quickly outfitting yourself is often easily accomplished.
Each level in Eldritch is host to weaponry and magical spells that can aid the player’s journey. Teleportation, levitation, and the ability to unlock doors are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to magical abilities and each skill is a blast to use. These abilities, coupled with a pistol and various other pickups, make navigating each level a breeze.
Eldritch is remarkably successful in creating an engrossing pick up and play formula. For its budget price tag, Eldritch offers near-endless replayability. The mysterious monsters, ever-changing landscape, and wondrous magical powers that players can uncover are sure to pull players back in time and time again. Even with its relative simplicity, there is much to love about Eldritch, arcane horrors and all.
[schema type=”review” name=”Eldritch | Review Summary” description=”The Awesome: Retro roguelike style adds tons of replayability, Terrific Lovecraftian atmosphere, Great mobility, Affordable price tag | The Not So Awesome: Many players will find the game too easy, Little variety in terms of weapons” rev_name=”Eldritch” rev_body=”Eldritch is a Lovecraftian roguelike filled with horrific beings that plays like a dream. With haunting levels and entertaining gameplay, Eldritch is a must for PC gamers looking for an engrossing – albeit short – experience” author=”Ray Porreca” pubdate=”2013-10-28″ user_review=”8.5″ min_review=”0″ max_review=”10″ ]
*The author recieved a copy of Eldritch for the purpose of reviewing
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