Eternal Hope Review – Are Video Games Art?

Developer: Double Hit Games // Publisher: Kwalee // Price: $9.99 (Steam)
Review copy received from publisher

There is a long standing argument centered around whether or not video games are art.  It is a highly debated topic that may never be resolved.  For every argument against the stance, a game can be used as an example to support the artistic angle.  For anyone arguing for video games as art, Double Hit Games’ first non-mobile game, Eternal Hope is an excellent choice to support that viewpoint.

Eternal Hope is a puzzle platformer that centers on a boy named Ti’bi trying to bring back the love of his life from the Shadow World.  Ti’bi is given the power to travel between his world and the Shadow World by wearing a mask, but he isn’t allowed to stay there for very long. On his journey, he must use his newly granted powers to navigate through both worlds as he collects the pieces of his girlfriend’s soul to bring her back to his world.

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Paint at Heart

The world that Ti’bi travels through during his rescue mission is a sight to behold.   The backgrounds of each area of the world are vibrant and detailed.  With the foreground completely in shadow, the backgrounds pop with color and become the focal point.  Each area of the world is noticeably different. Travelling through the world, I would sometimes stop just to admire the scenery, like the full moon rising above rock formations or meat hooks holding the next meal of a troll that was chasing Ti’bi.

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Choose Your Own Adventure

The story behind Eternal Hope is touching, but it only serves as a reason to move from puzzle to puzzle to the end of an area. There is even a plot twist in the story, but I saw this as a reason for additional puzzles.  The story could have been anything, like hunting for potion ingredients or chasing after a runaway pet, and it would not have been out of place nor would the gameplay have changed.

Watch Out for that First Step, It’s a Doozie

As a puzzle platformer, the puzzles don’t vary much.  The majority of them involve moving obstacles to open a path or timed jumping sequences.  Occasionally, a new element is thrown into the mix, like trying to avoid being caught by a troll or adding a new action, but this is a rare occurrence.  The puzzles themselves aren’t that difficult to solve (with the exception of a few puzzles near the end), but several times I was forced to attempt a puzzle repeatedly due to challenging controls. Quick changes in direction were difficult to execute which often resulted in death from falling or drowning.  I had to restart a number of puzzles because of this.  It was difficult to tell how far Ti’bi could fall without being mortally injured.  This was made easier near the end of the game with the glide action.  I wish it had been given earlier in the game. 

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Final Verdict

Eternal Hope is a gorgeous game.  The backgrounds are vibrant and contain interesting details.  The contrast between the shadowy foreground and colorful backgrounds brings focus the the scenery behind the action.  The controls can use some tightening, but in full disclosure, I was using a keyboard rather than a controller.  Perhaps the experience is different with a gamepad. The puzzles flow well throughout each area.  I was eager to see what was next, and the game never felt like a slog.  The puzzles may seem a little easy, but the reduced difficulty level makes Eternal Hope a good choice to fill a few hours on a weekend afternoon.

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