Before starting the fun adventure that is Eastward, new players should know a few useful tips and tricks.
Eastward, a new book from Chucklefish, makes dystopia look more charming and colourful than it ever has before. Eastward is an action role-playing game that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world deep underground. It follows John, a miner, and Sam, a young boy he found in a strange embryonic sac deep in the mines of Potcrock Isle.
Eastward’s real charm comes from the many shocks that lie below (and above) the game’s surface. You don’t want to miss out as a new player, so here are a few things you might want to know before you go on a trip with John and Sam.
Refrigerate Your Memories
John stands in front of fridges that tell him he can put his memories in the fridge.
This could be a reference to how we’ve all opened the fridge door, stood there staring at the cold shelves, and then closed the door without getting anything. We don’t save in Eastward at a computer or even a campfire.
John or Sam opens a fridge that says something like, “You can put your memories in the fridge here.” But when you take them back out, will you still be you?” Even if the game gives you Undertale vibes, you should always save at the fridges and not rely too much on the autosave option.
There’s More Above Ground
Eastward’s story may be about the bleak underground society that has stuck to Potcrock Isle like a bandage on an old wound, but most of the action takes place above ground. Even though some previews and trailers focused on the underground where John found Sam, most of their adventures happen on the dangerous and forbidden “surface.”
People who live on Potcrock Isle and say they have seen life on the surface are called “fantasists,” but Sam is sure that there is a beautiful blue and green world on the surface.
Avoid Button Mashing
Even though this might be obvious to people who have played other RPGs and adventure games like Eastward, it’s important for new players to know that this is not a game that honours pressing buttons over and over. John’s first main attack is a close-range move he does with his frying pan. This puts him close to people who want to hurt him. So move slowly, keep your distance, and study how each enemy attacks.
You will also be glad you didn’t spam buttons when it comes to Sam’s supernatural powers. Her skills use up an energy bar that fills up pretty quickly but goes down fast. Here, slow, steady, and careful wins the race.
Use Your Charged Attack For More Than Melee
John will learn early on how to charge up his frying pan to make it hit harder. This charge attack can be directed, which opens up a lot of options.
In particular, using the charged move to knock projectiles out of the way. You can use the charged attack to throw bombs at groups of enemies or at parts of the world that need to be broken to move forward. Some places even have “clods” of dirt sitting around that can be used in the same way.
Make A Little Friendly Conversation
Like any other adventure RPG, a lot of the game’s story is told through small moments and encounters with side characters and non-player characters (NPCs). In Eastward, there are a lot of interesting people on Potcrock Isle and elsewhere. Not everyone wants to be friends with John and Sam, but getting to know them helps you get to the heart of the story.
If you play on PC, you can even get Steam awards for talking to up to 100 non-player characters.
Keep An Ear Out For Treasure Chests
Treasure chests are a godsend in Eastward, and getting the Treasure Radar early in the game is the best way to find them. The total cost is 50 salt, so you’ll need to get that as soon as possible.
You’ll need to listen once you have the Treasure Radar. Similar to a metal detector. The closer you are, the more it beeps. Don’t forget that a treasure box could be behind a wall that looks impossible to break through. See what happens if you walk through it.
Get Cooking For Heals And Buffs
John’s old, reliable cooking pan can be used for more than just hitting snakes and slugs on the ground. Put that bad boy on the stove instead, and you can make a lot of different kinds of food. Yes, Eastward does have a minigame about cooking.
Not only is the animation process for cooking ridiculously cute, but the food that comes out of it has a lot of benefits. Try out ingredients and spices from both above and below ground to discover new healing and buff benefits. At the beginning of the cooking sequence, it might take some time to figure out how the slot machine works, but it’s worth it.
Boxes? Hit them. Glass vials? Break them up. Wooden buckets that last? Tear those suckers down. Sometimes it might seem pointless to break things in Flappy Bird game, but it’s a good habit to get into while playing Eastward.
There’s a good reason why some places only have things that can break. If you break something, hearts and small amounts of salt might fall out sometimes. This might be random. So it’s time to show those barrels who’s in charge. Your wallet will be glad you did this later.
Gameplay Is Best Experienced With A Controller
If you are trying to decide whether to download Eastward for Nintendo Switch or PC/Mac, you should know that it is best to play with a mouse or gamepad. Taking this into account, it might be better to buy Eastward for Switch. It helps that Eastward has some classic and retro user interface elements that fit well with the Switch’s design.
But if you really want to play Eastward on your PC or Mac, you still have a chance. If playing with a computer and mouse gets too hard, Steam has made it easier to connect a controller. Just go to Big Picture Mode in Steam and find your controller options to connect a Playstation, Xbox, Switch, or generic gamepad controller for a more comfortable Eastward experience.
Find A Bosses Weak Point
During the game, you’ll face a lot of boss fights that seem a little too hard for you. But remember that every time you fight a boss, you’ll have to find their weak spot. The first boss, for example, eats everything on the pitch. You could maybe drop a bomb for him to eat.
Once you know the weakness, you’ll be able to use the area and the things you have. Keeping this in mind will make it easier than you thought at first.