Narrative driven platformers are games that immerse players in beautiful scenery and storytelling that speaks volumes above their simplicity. It’s immersion and beauty that captivates players in the Studio Ghibli-inspired Eternal Hope: Prologue from Brazilian developer Doublehit Games. Having been voted “Best Brazilian Game” by IGN at Brazil Game Show (BGS) 2019, this simply beautiful game pulls out emotions at every level.
Eternal Hope follows the story of Ti’bi, a boy who must travel between two dimensions in search of his lost love’s soul. Embarking on a journey filled with undying love and unwavering hope, players will use intuition and quick-on-their-feet thinking to find clever ways to overcome the many obstacles and puzzles in their path. Ti’bi is on a highly unusual journey — one that he hopes will bring his cherished girlfriend’s soul back from the Shadow World, a purgatory-like realm. Granted the ability to travel between dimensions, he will use this power, along with a few helping hands from otherworldly beings, to solve puzzles that will ultimately lead him to his love’s final resting place in the great beyond. Visiting the Shadow World is no easy feat, however. With corrupted creatures inhabiting this mirror dimension, Ti’bi will make friends — and many enemies — along the way while unearthing ancient secrets, none of which were meant for the living to discover.
With only written dialogue, Eternal Hope dives into grief as you move through each chapter (read level). The charm of the game comes from its whimsical art style which utilizes a black shadowy foreground against a vibrant background. This offers dimension to the world as you side scroll through it. Additionally, your switch from the real world to the Shadow World is seamless. It also offers a stark contrast in design, moving from vibrancy to a muted palette with shadowy monsters assisting and attacking you.
Now, the mechanic itself does offer some challenge. Pressing “w” pulls down a skull mask and the world around changes to the Shadow World, which alters the landscape. This reveals hidden creatures, passageways, and more, but it only lasts for a small amount of time, which pushes you to complete the puzzle before time runs out.
Without a tutorial, like most other narrative-driven puzzle platformers, the progression through the story is pushed by trial and error. Fortunately, the game saves as you approach each puzzle, allowing you to test each way to solve the puzzles. Additionally, none of the timed elements of the puzzle are ever too hard to complete, even if it does take some testing on the player’s part. That said, each subsequent puzzle utilizes elements you learned previously. While the controls are simple, jump, forward, backward, down, with a pull and dimension switch thrown in, the choice to not detail every mechanic makes sense. While I fell to my death multiple times, I eventually realized I could lower myself down, and after a few failed jumps, I realized that I could us vines to move between platforms. Trial and error is the name of the game in Eternal Hope in a way that fuels curiosity in the level design and not frustration.
Finally, as you move through the world, you learn secrets about it with every progression through the story. These secrets detail the world, but also push Ti’bi to confront parts of himself. Without spoken dialogue, Eternal Hope relies on its score to build emotions and payoff in the story. This isn’t something new to the game type, but the developers at Doublehit have done an amazing job of matching score to scene to drive an emotive experience and facilitate an even-paced narrative progression.
All in all, Eternal Hope: Prologue isn’t a groundbreaking game. It’s beauty and use of shadows is executed well but similar to other games in the genre. That said, its vision shifting mechanic and storyline do stand out with enough uniqueness that fans of narrative-driven puzzle platformers will want to pick it up for a short but fulfilling game. It will take you on a trip through love, grief, and hope. And, since its absolutely free, there is no reason to hesitate to play this game.
Eternal Hope: Prologue is available on currently Steam for FREE.
Eternal Hope: Prologue
Eternal Hope: Prologue isn’t a groundbreaking game. It’s beauty and use of shadows is executed well but similar to other games in the genre. That said, its vision shifting mechanic and storyline do stand out with enough uniqueness that fans of narrative-driven puzzle platformers will want to pick it up for a short but fulfilling game. It will take you on a trip through love, grief, and hope. And, since its absolutely free, there is no reason to hesitate to play this game.