After a successful Kickstarter in mid-2017, Eagle Island is due to launch later this year. The platformer crossed with a Metroidvania, focusing on falconry and exploration, and so far it looks like it’s in great shape. Eagle Island takes an increasingly populated marketplace, and finds a unique entry into it.
Procedurally generated levels are combined with scripted boss sections to give Eagle Island a real sense of variety. Better yet, the procedural generation also appears to do a great job by making levels unique while not too random or messy.
The Kickstater campaign that funded Eagle Island was refreshingly honest about the possibility of things going wrong; with a clear warning about what could go wrong, accepting that game development is not always simple as funding pages make out. Despite this, it does seem to be making its original target for PC and Mac release. A demo build of the game has been available at events and to backers for a while, from this it appears Eagle Islandis shaping up nicely.
Metroidvania or Platformer?
Eagle Island takes influences from Metroidvanias to build the world around it’s platforms. The bulk of the game is spent searching the levels for the chests and nooks, rather than going from point A to point B. These exploration aspects keep the game moving foreword. Despite the procedural generation, this gives the levels a more crafted feel.
The platforming aspect of Eagle Island play and handle as well as something designed. Enough rules seem to be at work in the generation to make each tangent of the level feel a natural development rather than a random quirk of code. The variety of biomes stops the game becoming an endless crawl of identical variations of the same units.
The enemy variety visible in the demo is enough to make it stand out. Each has an attack style that you’ll probably recognise, but how you deal with these attacks is quite different. Your eagle companion handles attacks. You aim it in a direction to deal with enemies, doing a few in sequence builds up a combo. This places the emphasise on speed in these sections. The Eagle uses various power ups which bring some variety, but each extends these basics.
Aiming the eagle while jumping lets the player stay isolated in the air while aiming their shot. This is helpful, but it also adds challenge to taking care of the enemies quickly enough to work up bonuses. This bonus is necessary if you want to open up all of the loot in each level. This means you can play slower and exact with aiming, or go fast and try and rack up combos while exploring.
Eagle Island Has a Solid Foundation to Build On
These mechanics formed the basis of an enjoyable game. The boss fights and a proper system of progression should elevate this to make a fantastic edition to the Medroidvania genre. Eagle Island’s pixel art and soundtrack also help to serve this up in an enjoyable package. The current build lives up to the potential of its kickstarter.
The Falconry aspect livens this platformer up considerably. The procedurally generation and boss fights also creates a truly unique experience. It does this without creating an unfulfilling build half the time. If Eagle Island can expand upon this before release, it should be an exciting title.