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Review: Eastward – A Creative Zelda-Like Adventure With Absolutely Killer Art

East? I thought you said Weast.

The line between an homage and a copycat can often be a blurry one, and it feels like all too often that new games borrowing ideas from old games fall on the wrong side of it. Instead of offering creative new takes on favored concepts, these games are more content to prod you with a sharp elbow as they say “’member?” over and over. Eastward is not one of those games. The inaugural release from Shanghai-based Pixpil smartly integrates gameplay and story ideas from beloved classics while still managing to feel like an original and well-executed adventure.

Eastward follows the story of John, a gruff man of action not words, and his companion, Sam, an energetic and white-haired little girl who he found underground. The two live happily together in a small subterranean village and enjoy a quasi father/daughter relationship, but things quickly take a turn when certain events lead to them arriving at the surface that they were told is such a dangerous and awful place. It turns out that things aren’t quite as bad up there as they were led to believe, although there’s a mysterious force called miasma that’s slowly rolling over the land and destroying everything in its path.

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