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What happens when you mix MegaMan Battle Network‘s combat system with Slay the Spire‘s mechanics? You get One Step From Eden, a roguelite deckbuilding game developed by Thomas Moon Kang after a very successful Kickstarter campaign.
MegaMan Battle Network was probably one of my favorite franchises back when I was a kid, and I’ve been waiting for it to be ported into the Switch for god knows how long now. Cue One Step From Eden, a game that I just happened to find through my Steam Discovery Queue during the 2020 Summer Sale.
What caught my eye was a screenshot that showcased its vibrant art style and a familiar, yet very different playing field. The game features a 4×4 grid—a huge upgrade from Battle Network’s 3×3—and an incredibly fluid, but also insanely frantic, combat system that rewards quick reflexes and smart deck building.
Unlike its spiritual predecessor, the game doesn’t give you a second to breathe and while choosing your next set of cards. Instead, you randomly draw a pair of random spells from your deck, with the option to shuffle whenever you please (which you can actually build around, but we’ll get to that in a bit).
The game features nine unlockable characters, each with a selection of very distinct loadouts that changes not only your starting artifact and deck, but also your main weapon.
For example, Gunner’s Manafire loadout features a piercing beam that restores mana on hit, while his Bullethell loadout starts the player off with only one spell in exchange for a very quick scattershot weapon that costs nothing to fire.
With every finished run, win or lose, you’ll earn EXP that goes towards unlocking new content (as of writing this, I still haven’t unlocked everything after over 15 hours of gameplay), opening up new possible spell and artifact synergies that’s sure to keep you coming back for more.
My personal favorite strat at the moment has to be running a poison-focused deck as Reva, the shieldmaiden who gains shield stacks by simply moving across the board. It turns boss fights into hilarious battles of attrition as I passively deal enormous amounts of damage while I focus on dodging all sorts of attacks being thrown at me.
Similar to Slay the Spire‘s Ascension mode, the game’s Hell Pass difficulty levels that offer additional modifiers for those looking for a challenge. These can vary from simply giving enemies small buffs to starting you off with a max HP of only one.
One of One Step From Eden’s unique mechanics is the ability to spare or kill each world’s boss (who happen to be the playable characters, by the way). Your decisions do have an effect on the final level, with genocide runs being the hardest but arguably the more rewarding and challenging way to play through the game. There are three different routes, with the neutral path requiring you to execute at least one of the bosses.
This is a bit of a spoiler but it’s worth noting that killing all the bosses on the way to the final world will result in a unique boss fight where the entire playing field is open for both sides, meaning you’re free to run towards the enemy’s side, and vice versa. If you manage to defeat her, the game loops, bringing you back to a harder version of the first world.
Whenever you spare a boss, they’ll heal you for a few hundred HP before leaving and becoming an ally who will occasionally pop in at the start of battles to deal damage or summon allied structures. Sparing every single one of them will lead to a fight with a certain boss who you can also spare for an even happier ending than you would have otherwise gotten.
You can also unlock the shopkeeper by fighting her in a cleverly implemented optional boss fight. Hitting her a couple of times in a shop node will trigger a very challenging fight, and beating her will not only make her playable, but also open up the true genocide ending of the game (which means no loop after the final level).
There’s really not much else I can say about the game since I really think you should experience it for yourself to see just how amazing it is, which is why I’m classifying this as a Rapidfire Review.
With Steam Workshop integration, fanmade characters and spells add an extra layer of replayability to this already content-rich game. It’s offers a lot of value for what it’s worth, and anyone who’s a fan of the roguelite genre will undoubtedly enjoy this relatively hidden gem!