What is Eastward? The Perfect Zelda RPG?

eastward game vs. zelda
Eastward is basically the perfect Zelda RPG... | © Nintendo & Pixpil

Eastward is a brand new game from Chinese Developer Pixpil that pulls a lot of its inspiration from games like The Legend of Zelda. In fact, you could almost call it an old-school Zelda RPG, and a good one at that. From the pixel-art to the role-playing style of gameplay, Eastward is possibly the Zelda RPG of our dreams. Here's why...

The first thing that drew the keenness of my eye was a simple fact: Eastward is published by the same blokes who published Stardew Valley. That's a game worth its weight in gold. Hell, no, it's worth more than its weight in gold. It is an incredible must-play experience that's also unbelievably cheap. I'm going off-topic, though. Unsurprisingly, the Publishers of Stardew Valley – Chucklefish – have released another top-shelf game: Eastward.

The appeal and elegance of Eastward is its immediate charm, with its two main protagonists, John and Sam, quirkily embarking on a treacherous journey, equipped only with a frying pan and Sam's supernatural bubble-baker. That journey takes them to a devastated surface world, a beautifully rendered landscape that contrasts with the drabness of their previous underground-home. Honestly, it's breathtaking.

I get a real Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker vibe here. The world reminds me of that juxtaposition between the surface, and the depths of Hyrule's lost might. It's just... reversed. Below the surface of Eastward's world is their home, and above is a world in ruins. It's eerily gorgeous, and a whole lot of fun to explore throughout the experience.

Why is Eastward the Zelda RPG of Our Dreams?

Hinting even more towards that Zelda-like experience is the gameplay's insistence on a dichotomy between clever puzzle-like gameplay, and combat. While the puzzles are hardly the trickiest in video gaming history, they have a pure sense of satisfaction, and provide a much needed pace-change from the game's combat and exploration.

In a very Breath of the Wild-esque way, Eastward is also introducing a cool new cooking mechanic, something that Nicole Carpenter over at Polygon noted as "one of [her] biggest joys" in her raving review. The game is looking to pay homage to the pixel-games of old, the classic RPGs of our youth, and the Zelda games that died out with Breath of the Wild.

To be honest, the whole thing seems insanely reminiscent of Octopath Traveler. That's an unbelievably good thing, and thus I am going to give you my pitch: Eastward is a Zelda-like, with elements of classic Final Fantasy, some fantastic gameplay, a beautiful and fascinating world, and everything you could possibly want from such a game. You can pick it up on Nintendo Switch and PC on September 16. We can't wait to sink our teeth into it, that's for sure!

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