Eon Altar is a couch co-op turn based role playing game available on PC and is played using your smart phone, only one person needs to own the game and your adventuring buddies are able to download the free Eon Alter controller app free from your respective app store but sorry Windows Phone users, there’s no app available for your devices.
There are five character available to you to play as, Baryson, Silent Thorn, Muran, Marcus and Shasek. Each other these characters come with their own backstory, personality, beliefs and skill sheets; or in other words the these characters each represent a paradigm or class from other games of the same genre. Respectively: Paladin/Crusader, Ranger/Assassin, Mage, Tank and Thief/Asshole.
This is the game which is going to test your relationship with your friends or loved ones as NPCs are fully voiced within the game, however YOU are the voice of the character. When any dialogue is happening between characters, your screen will be filled with the thoughts and opinions of your character on the situation and once you’ve made your choice the NPC will react accordingly however the only way to know what is being said is if you read aloud what is being said – this didn’t happen for the first few hours of my play through and I had to read directly from the screen of my coop partner.
The development team, Flying Helmet Games, have stated their deep love of Dungeons and Dragons and the effect this has had on the game. It feels like you’re actually playing a session of the popular fantasy tabletop role-playing game and are being guided through an inspired campaign. This is amazing, if you’re into that type of experience!
I’m a newcomer to the franchise; the first time I got the chance to play this title was when given episode 2 which came with the first episode and if like me, the idea of using your Smartphone as a controller seems daunting or off putting and when I began my first play through, it was.
The App Controller deals with everything, the movement of your character, your abilities in battle, the management of your inventory and the distribution of your stat points across your character sheets; when it comes to an off screen experience, this the daddy when it comes to managing and levelling up your character as it really is as easy as tapping on the ability you want to unlock or the numerous healing items you’re going to drown your character with.
While controlling your character can be cumbersome in the opening section of the game, you eventually become attuned with movement. In the centre of the screen you have a small circle which when you move will move a curser on the screen which will be mimicked in the game world, after you let go your character will walk or interact with whatever it has landed on. Alternatively, to be able to move your character in the free roaming section of the game, all you need to do is drag your finger on the screen and your character will move in that direction, like any Smartphone twin stick shooter.
Combat consists of two phases, enemies turn and the players turn. Multiple character can take their turns at the same time, which means that you can work strategically or carelessly as you like – throughout our play through we ended up hurting each other as we weren’t communicating clearly in the beginning as and were standing in each other’s area of effect attacks such as cleaves and magic blasts.
As a lover of turn based role-playing games, the combat within Eon Altar was satisfying. While in combat, your movement is restricted and the way which you control your character is limited to the dragging your curser over the enemy or the area that you want to move to. As you drag your curser over an enemy, you’re screen presents you with the actions you’re able to use; basic attacks or abilities and those which require ability points to use – Ability points are gained by performing basic actions, like attacking or going into a defence stance!
Throughout the game, you’re going to come across a lot of loot which comes in the form of consumables, Godstones, Common, Precious and Remnants. These are the resources which you use to upgrade your abilities and equipment and depending on who you’re playing the game with can completely change the game for you. Anyone can run up and pick up these resources and they can choose to empower themselves or they can share them with the rest of the group – allowing you to balance out everyone’s strengths and weaknesses.
My play through consisted of a two players: Baryson and Muran. This allowed us to get close and personal with our enemies, nuke them from a distance and to heal in and out of combat. Healing is important, there is no way to rest between fights or is there any active regeneration so you’re restricted to healing using items or abilities.
Episode 1 – The battle for Tarnum is the longest offering between the two episodes which are available at the moment, consisting for three chapters, the first of which is a tutorial. The whole episode serves as an introduction to the world, characters and enemies of this world. Your characters journey has led them to Tarnum, where you find yourself fighting bandits and trying to free the fortress from the guild members which have it locked down. Throughout the campaign you find that there is more happening then you originally thought – If I was to say anymore, I would spoil the first chapter however just know that you will be slaying a lot of bandits and there is one hell of cliff hanger at the end of the episode.
The first episode started really easy, being an introduction to the game it would have to be however as you progress throughout the chapter you feel as if there are more and more enemies being thrown at you and if it wasn’t for the fact I had a coop partner joining me, I feel as if I wouldn’t have been able to get through this myself.
EPISODE II – WHISPERS IN THE CATACOMBS kicks off straight after the cliff hanger from the first episode. You’re asked to descend deeper into the catacombs to investigate the evil that is haunting Tarnum. Throughout the episode, you combat the undead, necromancers and various monsters – An improvement over the first episode where you only fight a handful of enemy types.
The second episode doesn’t introduce any new mechanics or improvements over the first episode, there is just more. More enemies, more rooms to explore which breaks up the linearity of the episodes, more dialogue between characters and NPCS – which I loved.
Eon Altar has been an experience, there are times that I found this game to be really easy and vice versa; I love it. It does feel however that the experience was short lived, as we clocked in 5-6 hours of game play, an hour of which was me running around on my own trying to come to terms with the app controller.
The role playing elements have been something that I’ve loved and while my coop partner wasn’t completely into it herself, it was something that I enjoyed and something that we laughed about, It really feels that I’m playing a tabletop RPG, just without my imagination twisting the everyone’s vision.
The combat and the mechanics of the game have been well implemented as I’ve enjoyed the whole package that is Eon Altar but if there was something that I would have to pick out that has somewhat annoyed me as a player is the following; While I have already described that there is a lot of loot to be collected throughout the campaigns, some of these come in the forms of locked chests. There is a skill check that has been put into place here, you are a slave to the dice roll at this point and if you fail you’re able to re-perform the role but to do this, you have to take your curser and walk away from the chest, to then walk back up to it to retry… I feel that there should be a retry button put in place here – something that would have saved me time!
Overall, the game looks and plays great! As with all indie titles it feels that it could have used an additional level of polish as there is clipping textures which are causing flickering which takes away from the overall beautiful aesthetics that the game presents.
Eon Altar is currently £4.99 per episode or £10.99 for the whole season. While my playthrough felt short, the game feels as if it’s meant for multiple playthroughs with different characters of bringing in new players to tackle the story in a different way than previously. There is also a combat arena which is released with each episode that features the same monsters and environment which was within that episode.
Reviewed by Colin Head