There’s been a common trend in gaming in recent years of taking a well-loved classic from years past and creating a spiritual successor of sorts. There are games like Mighty No. 9, Yooka-Laylee, and the (as of right now) upcoming Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night looking to recapture of spirits of Mega Man, Banjo-Kazooie, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night respectively. However, for years I’ve been dying to see a reboot or a spiritual successor of one game: Mega Man Battle Network. The spin-off series starring the Blue Bomber was one I grew up with. I remember spending countless nights shining a light on my Game Boy Advance playing Battle Network 3. The RPG/card battling system featured in the series was something so fun and unique that it had 11-year-old me, who hated card battling games, hopelessly addicted to the formula. However, since the series ended in 2005 there’s been a void in my heart where Battle Network combat should be. Fortunately, it looks like One Step From Eden can fill that void!
Being developed by Thomas Moon Kang and his team, One Step From Eden is an indie-made deckbuilding roguelite, with combat heavily inspired by the Mega Man Battle Network series. Obviously the biggest difference between this and Battle Network is that while Battle Network is an RPG with a large story and an overworld, this game is all combat all of the time, and if you die you start from the beginning. There’s also a few other key differences, like the size of the playing field, but nothing that really takes away from the fundamentals of Battle Network style combat. The game is still in development, but I was able to find the demo and spend some time playing it.
The game uses a pixel-art style, and it’s done well with nice animations, but the biggest standout aspect of the game’s presentation is the sound design. The music is really good and well suited to the type of game this is, and the combat sound effects are just so satisfying.
The game takes place on a 4×8 grid, with you and the enemy each having free reign over half of the grid. Each character has a starter deck of cards that cost a certain amount of mana to play from your hand of two cards, with the ability to pick up more cards for your deck after each battle. You can also find items that provide a passive effect to your character, which can create some cool synergy with cards. The combat itself is fast, hectic, and it rewards fast reactions and good pattern recognition. The controls feel super tight and responsive, but after using keyboard controls and a Dualshock 4 I definitely felt that it was better suited to be played on a keyboard rather than a controller.
The cards themselves are pretty varied with a number of different themes available for building your deck, such as frost or poison. It’s been pretty cool experimenting with different cards and seeing which cards have synergy with one another, and which ones have synergy with certain passive items. The current demo version as of right now has one main area with two boss fights, one secret area with a third boss fight, a secret playable character on top of the starting character, and an unlockable Hell Mode. All of it was enough to keep me busy for about three or four hours while completing the objective checklist the demo gives you.
I’ve adored what I played of One Step From Eden, and it’s reignited feelings in me that only Battle Network was able to give me before. I absolutely cannot wait for the full release, and I honestly believe that it could be one of the best games of the year if all goes well. According to the bullet point list on the game’s website, we’ll be expecting 8+ playable characters and bosses, 25+ enemies, 150+ cards, 100+ passive items/artifacts, life or death choices and alternate endings, and local co-op play and PvP! The game is slated to release in January 2020 on PC and Nintendo Switch, and that time could not come any faster.
Check out the demo on Steam, or click here!