Hope you enjoyed our last Eastward blog about the scrumptious snacks you’ll be cooking up. Today we’re giving you a first look at how combat works in Eastward and how it changed over the course of development.
Beating up baddies in Eastward is all about teamwork 💪
Similar to dungeon areas where you’ll be switching between John and Sam, separating and uniting them to solve puzzles, in combat you’ll need to use their strengths to overpower and overcome enemies. Initially you’ll be using a mix of Sam’s telekinetic powers to stun, while John finishes the job by swinging his trusty frying pan or blasting at foes with his ‘bang bang’ gun. As you progress you’ll inherit unique skills and cool weapons.
Things weren’t always this way. In the early days of the development process, John was the only character with the ability to fight, but after trialling the gameplay in the prototype phase, Eastward’s Game Designer, Robert Zhu, explained that the flow just wasn’t working out like they’d hoped;
“Even though John had multiple choices of weapons to utilise, it didn’t feel like the rhythm of the combat changed much throughout the course of the game. Continuously smashing the ‘attack’ button was the only interactive method of fighting – so the rhythm of combat felt kind of drab.”
“We then started thinking about what extra combat options we could provide for players, for example, some sort of support magic energy field. But how could we use that in battle? The answer we figured out was to get Sam involved in the battle!”
Sam has multiple special skills which you’ll be able to unlock throughout the adventure, alongside Sam discovering more about herself – but to keep things spoiler-free we’ll just focus on Energy Bubble today. This skill allows Sam to constrict enemies, by shooting out a bubble to freeze enemies for a short while, for example it’s helpful against the ‘Caba Fly’ monsters you’ll find in earlier dungeons, which attack without a clear hit recovery time. By freezing them John will get the chance to attack normally, charge attack, detonate a bomb or escape the fight altogether.
When Sam uses one of her powerful skills it drains her Blue energy meter, whereas her standard energy attacks use up the Yellow energy meter. The yellow bar slowly refills over time, so you’ll need to keep an eye on it during combat. If you are caught in a pinch, Sam can use the natural environment to her advantage, borrowing energy from special glowing plants to speed up the yellow meter refill. Sam’s blue bar doesn’t automatically refill, so you’ll need to collect blue orbs to top it up by defeating enemies or smashing pots, barrels, glasses and other containers dotted around the world.
John’s arsenal of weapon oddities are fully upgradable as you progress through the world, and each brings a whole new flavour to combat. For example a charged frying pan attack allows you to catapult bombs across the environment to burn up vines, trigger switches or cause mass destruction against a group of enemies. You can also use the wonderfully named Sceptre of Flame to a similar end, spewing a wave of fire and generally looking pretty badass while you do it. There’s another strange and (rather lethal) weapon which we won’t reveal just yet, but we hope you’ll enjoy getting to grips with when you discover the game for yourself!
John also carries various bomb types that can be used both in combat and to solve environmental puzzles. His backpack is upgradable, as is his bomb and ammo box to add additional capacity – handy during tricky boss fights! You can purchase these upgrades at local shops, such as Johnny’s Emporium, owned by the eponymous robot, at the southern end of Damhill city.
We’ve only just scratched the surface here, there’s so much more to talk about and secrets to discover… We’ll leave you with one last thing – you might have also spotted a cute little red and blue robot floating in a few screenshots. It’s called ‘Sonic Punk’, and was invented by Alva, a rocket scientist from Damhill City and has a few secret mechanics up its metallic sleeves which might prove useful in battle…
As ever stay tuned for some more Eastward updates as we hurtle ever closer to the launch period later this year. (We promise we’ll share a more specific indication as soon as we’re ready to!)
If you haven’t already, make sure you add Eastward to your Steam wishlist to get notified about the latest developments!
If you’re a streamer and keen to get early access to keys when they’re available you can request access by filling in our Content Creator form. You’ll also find answers and basic info about the game in our handy FAQ.
Lastly, if you’re as excited about Eastward as we are, come join the community discussion over on our Discord or Reddit, and follow us on Twitter for more Chucklefish gaming news.
Until next time!