By Josh Speer / September 1st, 2017
One of the things I love about indie games are that you never know quite what to expect. They tend to defy general classifications and widely range from one genre to the next. However, one thing I do love consistently are platformers, so when I heard that EarthNight is a hand drawn, procedurally generated endless runner with running, jumping and dragon slaying, I was intrigued.
When the demo starts, you get to choose from two different characters – a young black woman and a more grizzled dwarven looking gentleman. While the basic controls work the same for either of them, they have unique quirks which differentiate them. Though the dwarf man was apparently the easier to grasp of the two, I had much more fun playing as the girl. Mostly this was because she was capable of executing double and triple jumps as well as dashing forward. Her moveset was dependent on the color of her contrail as she leaps through the air, which I thought was a cool touch.
Levels all took place on the backs of massive dragons, and involved lots of running (sometimes in loop the loops), jumping, crashing enemies and avoiding spikes. You can even pull a Tetris and make the character drop vertically down by holding the down button on the d-pad. If you get wounded in stages (and being an endless runner, you will), you can heal your player in a unique way. By successfully defeating multiple enemies in sequence, you’re rewarded with some healing. This is far harder to do than you might expect, but I’m not complaining, as that helps push you to master the mechanics of EarthNight.
At the end of every stage, your player reaches the head of the dragon whose back you were scaling, and you use your weapon of choice to pummel them until they perish. Then, in one of the most inspired visual moments of the game, you sky dive through a intertwined mass of dragons, choosing whichever one you desire, and that ends up being your next stage. Best of all, the game has mild rogue elements, and by collecting enough swag, you will unlock new features, such as moves and more.
I was quite impressed with EarthNight. It’s a challenging, beautifully drawn indie that should appeal to veterans and new players alike. It’s easy to grasp but hard to master, much like many of the best games. I know I’ll be looking forward to playing it when it hits Steam, PS4, Vita and mobile platforms.
CleaversoftEarthNighthand drawnIndieplatformerprocedurally generatedroguelite