When I heard the upcoming platformer Eternal Hope by Brazilian developer Doublehit Games was inspired in part by the works of Studio Ghibli, it immediately caught my interest. The game is scheduled to launch on PC on August 6 and Xbox One later this year, and was voted “Best Brazilian Game” by IGN at Brazil Game Show 2019, and it’s not hard to see why – the visuals are striking, and it looks like it will be perfect for those who like puzzle platfomers.
I had the opportunity to try out the prologue, which is available for PC for free now ahead of the game’s full release on August 9. While I don’t generally tend to love platformers, I’ll play anything with the right kind of charm, and I can’t stop having good things to say about the Rayman Legends series, so I wasn’t going to let my sometimes (read: often) frustrations with platformers get in the way of checking out Eternal Hope!
The Eternal Hope prologue immediately conjures up comparisons to other games – be it Limbo, Heart of Darkness, or Shadow of the Colossus. You play as Ti’bi, who embarks on a journey to bring his girlfriend’s heart back from the Shadow World. To do so, he’s given a mysterious power to shift between realms, and there he finds friends that will aid him on his quest, as well as a fair share of enemies.
Aesthetically, the game is a treat both visually and audibly, and it’s easy to see Ghibli comparisons to some of the creatures. While there weren’t any super difficult puzzles in the prologue, I enjoyed using Ti’bi’s power to switch between realms to figure out how to advance through an area. It was always a delight to see what kind of creature was hiding in the Shadow Realm! And since Ti”bi’s power is limited, there are some fun ways the developers play with the limited time you have to switch between realms.
Unfortunately, however, I found Eternal Hope‘s premise of “boy is all alone, boy meets girl, boy falls in love, boy loses girl, boy goes off to save girl” to be rather trite and just not something that gets me excited to play a game, read a book, or engage with any other kind of media, to be honest. The way the story is laid out t through voiceless, storybook-like cutscenes feels like it was intended to move players, but instead, I wanted to skip it and get straight into the action.
Eternal Hope also seems to go for a type of platforming trope (if you can call it that) that I’m not a fan of, which I’ll call SUDDEN DEATH. For example, you play through the same area twice at the beginning of the prologue, and the first time you traverse it, you have no problems at all. However, on the second time though, all of a sudden for no discernible reason, Ti’bi can no longer traverse through water and is assaulted by random deadly rolling rocks! (Ok, to be fair, there was a bad thunderstorm…? But that doesn’t explain why he can no longer swim.)
While you do get used to the fact that swimming just isn’t an option and every so often a rock will appear out of nowhere to smush you, sudden, unexpected/unpredictable death traps are not my preferred platforming experience. The controls also felt a little sluggish, particularly for jumping, which made the more time-sensitive movements such as avoiding boulders more frustrating. For what it’s worth, I played on my laptop on medium settings with an Xbox One controller.
I don’t think Eternal Hope is doing anything particularly new or revolutionary, but not every game needs to, and Eternal Hope is pulling from a lot of great media for its inspirations. If puzzle platforming is your thing, and you don’t mind a few random deaths here and there, I would keep an eye out for the full version of Eternal Hope. In the meantime, there’s absolutely no reason not to try out the prologue for free and see for yourself if this game is for you.