While at E3, we were invited to check out the latest game from Cleaversoft known as EarthNight. If you’re unaware, EarthNight is a procedurally generated auto-running platformer, inspired by classic arcade platformers. The twist with this game is in its art style and the objective of taking out an onslaught of dragons that fly throughout the Earth’s atmosphere.
You can tell EarthNight has a ton of heart and that the team at Cleaversoft has poured everything into it, simply based on its aesthetics, style, and amount of content. But luckily, it feels satisfying to play, too. Each level takes place on the back of a dragon, with a series of procedurally generated obstacles and enemies to face. You’ll find a number of power ups to collect that change the way the game plays, like one that makes your character super sized, or one that increases your multiplier.
The gameplay consists of almost rhythm-based platforming that tasks you with bouncing off enemies to gather a multiplier and other power ups. However, since the enemies and everything else are procedurally generated, each level is unique and requires twitch-based skill and reflexes to overcome. Once you finally get to the head of the dragon, you’re tasked with more timing based combat that changes depending on the dragon you’re facing. At first, it seems like it might just require simple button-mashing, but there is actually nuance to the timing, especially on later dragons. Luckily, Sydney is equipped to handle whatever is thrown her way.
On the topic of the game’s character, you’ll probably fall in love with the concept of the protagonist. The main character, Sydney is a 14-year-old Jamaican high-school photographer with one goal in mind: killing dragons. The inspiration for Sydney is drawn from the artist, Paul Davey’s sister, who is Jamaican in real life. This idea is something Cleaversoft is proud of, as there aren’t many games that include a character like Sydney.
The art is awe-inspiring, with vibrant colors and high contrast to catch your eye. You might notice Sydney’s exaggerated features, like her eyes and feet, giving her a sense of personality. It’s simply incredible that the art is all hand drawn, touting over 10,000 frames of art and animation.
E3 2019 EarthNight Preview – XYZ
Along with the gorgeous aesthetics is a catchy soundtrack, consisting of uplifting chip-tunes that quickly get you in a dragon-slaying mood. In fact, at certain events like PlayStation Experience, one of the game’s musicians would perform a live playthrough of the game’s soundtrack on guitar while you try out the demo. It’s the little things like these that prove that Cleaversoft really cares about delivering the best product it can.
Cleaversoft has noted that it wants to “change the way you think about auto-runner games by designing on a much grander scale,” which you can clearly see, even in a short 10-minute demo.
After going in depth about the characters, art, music, and design, I had a chat with Rich Siegel, head of Cleaversoft about the game’s trophies, which is something he was extremely proud of. I confirmed that, yes, EarthNight would in fact have a Platinum trophy, but earning it will apparently be challenging and rewarding. Without spoilers, I was advised that trophy list would require you to complete all the dragon fights, gain a high multiplier, and find some of the game’s most hidden secrets.
It’s a topic that I could tell Siegel was passionate about, which is a great way to sum up how the team feels about their upcoming game: passionate. With so many games that feel like a copy of others that lack innovation, it’s relieving to find something like EarthNight that feels so authentic and memorable. It won’t break the mold of how we perceive video games, but it doesn’t need to. A little passion goes a long way.
EarthNight is currently scheduled for a 2019 release on PS4 and other platforms.