Eternal Hope — A Candle in the Wind

A lonely figure spends his life in isolation searching for his soulmate but an unfortunate twist of fate separates them forever and splinters her soul across the world. Tasked by an ethereal reaper with redeeming her soul you set out on a journey to set things right in action platformer Eternal Hope.

Immediately drawing parallels with indie classics Inside and Limbo, Eternal Hope presents a somewhat more colourful premise than the gloomy grayscale approach taken by Limbo and although the colour is welcome against the shadowy silhouettes of the characters the premise is unfortunately just as downbeat.

A lightning strike in a storm catches your beloved unawares and in addition to freeing her from the mortal coil unfortunately also splinters her soul across the realm. In mourning, the main character is approached by the reaper, Heliel. His purpose; in collecting souls and guiding them to the afterlife; has been altered by the event and displaced most of his powers rendering him rather useless. 

Searching for Soul Fragments

What power Heliel has remaining he offers to you to allow you to traverse the realms to find the soul fragments and guide your soulmate on to a happier place.

A 2D platformer with an emphasis on puzzle solving, Eternal Hope from Doublehit Games gives you direct control of Ti’Bi, a shadow-like representation of a young boy. Moving through the world is very simple with very few complex button interactions which are utilised to solve various challenges or blockers on your path to success. The usual actions are here in jumping and climbing in addition to the ability to grab, push, pull and carry certain objects. 

Later in the story Ti’Bi also gains the ability to glide or float which adds another aspect to the aforementioned puzzle solving but the most differentiating ability comes from Ti’Bi’s inherited ability from Heliel to traverse the realms at any time. The majority of the time this adds or removes obstacles, objects or platforms onto the playing field.

Meeting Heliel

Resolving most barriers to progress triggers a checkpoint and players have the option of going to any specific area in the story once its initially been completed and is generally used for returning to search and collect hidden soul fragments across the various areas. That said the checkpoints are extremely regular and given some hazards are instant death it’s welcoming that players won’t lose more than a minute or two of progress at any time

Graphically Eternal Hope is very clean. Screenshots of it can sometimes look like a game that would fit neatly into the Moon’s Ori series but potential players should be aware that its pacing is much more relaxed and not as action orientated. Great use of colour makes the simple but beautifully animated and illustrated scenery and characters pop from the screen and the high resolution artwork is extremely clean with bold lines and edges.

There’s a lot to like, but it struggles to differentiate itself in an established market. The puzzles are very rarely difficult and actual playtime is quite short once you get an established method under your belt of how the mechanics work. The more interesting problems you face could likely have been introduced a good third of the overall story earlier and progressed into something ultimately more complex and more enjoyable closer to the end.

The art style, although beautiful, also presents its own challenges where players may struggle to see objects which may be able to be interacted with as they either blend with scenery or must be actioned in some way and it can be very difficult to see where that interaction takes place.

An interesting premise somewhat let down by its own pacing potentially complicated by an under utilization of its unique mechanics, Eternal Hope is a fairly short game but a good experience that never really pushes any pressure on the player and has very few negatives to failure over losing a few minutes. Looking and sounding great it really needs to differentiate itself to earn a player’s hard-earned wallet share and that’s where it unfortunately comes up short.

Eternal Hope is available now on PC via Steam.

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