Eon Altar is a couch co-op Action RPG by indie game studio Flying Helmet Games. The game takes you and your friends on a journey that is unique to say the least, each character traveling the same road, but at times with completely separate goals.
When I first discovered Eon Altar, I knew I had found something special. The game incorporates elements from modern RPGs, couch co-op games, and good old fashioned pen and paper RPGs. By its very nature, Eon Altar forces you to be social, interactive, and creative. This is something most modern games lack even when they try to emulate it.
The one thing that enables the game to accomplish this unique, interactive feel is the controller app. You read that right – instead of using a gamepad or a mouse and keyboard, you control your character with your smart phone or tablet. All the action is on the main screen, but your phone shows your inventory, resources, skills, upgrade options, and most interestingly – your character’s thoughts and dialogue. While all of the NPCs are voice acted, you have to assume the role of your character and verbally deliver the lines as if you are the character you are playing. There are times where you get to make the choice between sharing information with your friends or keeping it to yourself. The app works surprisingly well. I didn’t notice any latency at all, and had no trouble connecting several devices to the game and staying connected.
I think the visuals are the weakest point, but the game still looks pretty good. The story is interesting and changes depending on what character you and your friends select, and what choices you make. I won’t go into detail here for fear of spoiling the fun – but I will say this is one of the most interesting methods of storytelling I have seen in a game.
The only real issue I have with the game comes down to loot distribution. There is no player specific loot, and no rolling or round robin system. This means, if you are playing a ranged character, you better hope your friends are nice enough to share loot with you, because you’re never going to get to it first. Small things like this can ruin experiences depending on who you are playing with, and I would like to see at least the option to enable some form of loot management.
Eon Altar is being released episodically – there’s a lot of content that isn’t available yet, and I have only played the first Episode – but from what I’ve seen so far, I’m really going to enjoy it. This has honestly been one of the most fun, interactive, and unique gaming experiences I have had in a long time. I can’t wait to play the next Episode, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Because of the nature of episodic releases, this review currently only applies to Episode 1 – The Battle for Tarnum. I have reached out to Flying Helmet Games in hopes of covering the entire story start to finish. I will hold off on a final review score until I’ve played through the entire story, but I expect relatively high numbers.
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