How ideas are formed for new games is a fascinating process. Some game designers work with locations they may have visited whilst on holiday, using those as a starting point, or a book they have read or a film they have watched. Others look to classic stories, hoping to modernise them or utilise present-day fables as their creation points.
In the case of DE:EXIT – Eternal Matters the inspiration behind the game comes about from the death of a best friend of the developer. And that means this game is one that explores the themes of mortality and encourages discussion about death, whilst being seen as a memorial to life itself. Most importantly it’s a very good game.
DE:EXIT – Eternal Matters has been designed using a voxel art style that is very pleasing to the eye. You play as a skeleton called Lux who is exploring the world, at least to begin with. You are as lost as the player, trying to work out your place and purpose in this world. Soon you meet fellow citizens and guardians of this new world, before being tasked with finding out the secrets and repairing the plane of memory. The story is one full of fantasy with some lovely characters ripe for meeting along the way. It’s part philosophical, part adventure, part high fantasy, but throughout the writing is solid and has some nice poignant moments pop up along the way.
Working as a third-person family-friendly adventure game, you move your skeleton around each area, exploring all the nooks and crannies. You start with just the ability to run, crouch in stealth mode and jump across and grasp onto ledges. There are puzzles to solve that are fun and intriguing, with some involving the moving of blocks and unlocking of doorways or activating of lifts. There’s a great level that sees you flying, navigating across air streams which is a lot of fun
Soon you get the first power which is a torch and the power of light. This can clear some of the darkness away; something which will kill you if you get into it. But also there are creatures in the darkness that you can’t see unless you shine a light on them. However, shine a light for too long and they will spot you; that’s game over. So there is a lot of tactical stealth work needed here where you will be guessing the invisible monster pathways and trying to navigate your way through the dangers.
As you progress through the story you have some more powers to collect, like the ability to wipe away obstacles with a tornado. There are also exploration elements to be had, as you walk about cities or settlements, talking to people and learning their stories. I think this game feels very original and unique in its concept and stories, however at times the action can feel a bit too floaty and there are some strange moments when things don’t work as they should. Personally, the camera feels too loose and not as responsive as it should be. But that doesn’t matter too much, because the adventure and world-building are so strong.
The visuals help in building this amazing and creative world. DE:EXIT – Eternal Matters’ voxel art style is beautiful at times, vast and strange. The level design is brilliant with different ways to try and tackle levels and plenty of secrets hidden away which completists will enjoy getting. Characters are charming and the way it reveals its enemies can be quite frightening at times.
There is also some great voice-over work that brings life to this world, with an incredible dreamy soundtrack that hovers underneath the action perfectly throughout.
DE:EXIT – Eternal Matters is a very pleasant surprise. The world on offer is brilliant, rich for exploration and complemented with relaxing gameplay. The story is good too, especially in terms of the writing and brilliant characters. You could also point at the simple yet challenging mechanics. And whilst there are a few minor problems with the camera and accuracy, it doesn’t take away the fact that DE:EXIT – Eternal Matters is such an original piece of work.