Eitr, A Viking Themed Isometric Soulslike

Eitr combines Souls-style combat with the ultra-dark isometric dungeons of the original Diablo. Not sold? The world is Norse-inspired, with a nameless, shieldmaiden protagonist who’s birth was tampered with by Loki, causing all light to be drained from the world in the process. Not sold? There’s a new trailer below, showing lots of in-game stuff, and I’ve had some hands-on time with a preview build and will tell you about it below.

Combat is careful. It’s about positioning yourself at the right distance away from the enemy, learning attack patterns to effectively counter them, and carefully monitoring your stamina. If you don’t, death is quickly dealt by all but the most basic enemies. Rotting rats run at you with unpredictable movements but have low health, making charging them down an effective strategy. The undead shamble along with shields and spears, and blocking and counterattacking are the best methods to avoid being struck by a deadly combo. The 2D plane makes combat simpler than the Souls games, but also removes some of the frustrations implicit in navigating a 3D space. Even at this early stage, it feels great.

Saving locations being fireplaces is another obvious reference, though with most systems currently unimplemented, whether this will stretch beyond an aesthetic choice is unclear. Death flashes up a roulette wheel with a selection of negative effects including XP loss, before respawning you at the last fireplace visited. How crippling that will be isn’t obvious, again due to the pre-alpha state of the game, but it’s an indication that classic, extreme difficulty is the design goal.

What I most loved was the look of the dungeon I was in. It’s a grim place filled with blood and death, bright spots only serving to contrast with the rest. Tables lined with golden plates are sat next to long-dead corpses splattered against the wall. Right up to the cleaver-wielding boss being named ‘Gertha the Mad Butcher’ the initial areas of the first Diablo are clearly brought to mind.

Eitr is also its own game, of course. The mythology is a part of that, magic being another. My favourite part of the demo was the ‘Snowflake Guard’ it gave access to. This is a timed block that operates sort of like a parry, but also freezes the opponent in place. It quickly became obvious that learning to time this properly was superior to holding block, which often still let damage through. It added a pair of new considerations, first in learning new timings for each enemy attack to ensure I was defending in time, and secondly in how to then perform a maximum damage combo.

The two-man squad of Eneme Entertainment, comprising artist and game designer David Wright and coder Tobi Harper, have only been working on the game since August. They’ve been documenting the entire thing in quite a lot of detail over on the TIGSource forums. I’m already excited for what I assume will be a 2015 release and think they’ve got a shot at something special if they continue along this path.

From this site

36 Comments

  1. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Looks interesting. I hope there will at least be some lore found throughout the game if there’s not a full-fledged story. If only to enhance the atmosphere.

  2. Zallgrin says:

    It was love from the first sight. Diablo was my childhood, while Dark Souls only recently conquered me… yet combined, they are just an unbeatable combo.

    Also, that female protaginist! I’m fangirling all over this game. The devs promised NPCs you can talk to and a lot more weapons. They were also very interested in the idea of smaller puzzles, which unlock hidden rooms!

  3. alexheretic says:

    It does look lovely, keep us posted

  4. Wowbagger says:

    Looks lovely; right up my alley – has a slight Hyper light drifter aesthetic to it.

    • jonahcutter says:

      That’s what I was thinking as well. A medieval, dark-fantasy flip side to Drifter’s techno post-apocalypse. Great atmosphere and animations in both.

      The combat looks similar too. In the forceful feel of the melee swinging, specific ranged shooting and dash move.

      Drifter’s protagonist could very well be female as well. The two games do feel a bit like alternate universes echoing each other.

  5. tonicer says:

    Looks kinda good but isometric? hmmm

    A game like this but in first person with FBA is one of my dreams.

    edit: FBA = Full Body Awareness *sigh*

    • Cockie says:

      What’s fba?

    • Borodin says:

      Umm, wouldn’t that be Dark Souls?

      And what’s FBA?

      • Suits says:

        Dark Souls is third-person. Dark Souls 2 recently had a First Person mod made, however it’s not that great of a camera angle for these kinds of games obviously

    • slerbal says:

      “FBA”? Are you making up TLAs?

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Full Body Awareness? Not that that wouldn’t be interesting, but Dark Souls meets Dark Messiah seems like kind of a leap to make from a Diablo-esque pixel art dungeon crawler.

      Kind of ceases to be “a game like this” at that point.

    • UncleLou says:

      The return of the isometric/top-down perspective – after it was nearly extinct for a decade – is the greatest thing that has happened to gaming in recent years, imo. A change of perspective (literally) in gaming often means a bigger variety than a change of genre.

  6. Infinitron says:

    “shieldmaiden protagonist who’s birth”

    Oh no you didn’t

    • Josh W says:

      A shieldmaiden who became the embodiment of birth through Loki’s meddling, and so drained all light from the world. A strange premise, but certainly mythological.

  7. Turin Turambar says:

    Looks good. Btw, do we have a name for the pixellated & lanky artstyle?

  8. Cockie says:

    Looks really neat!

  9. Dys Does Dakka says:

    Looks more like Dark Souls’ arguable ancestor, Moonstone, to me. And that is not a bad thing at all.

  10. Halk says:

    Looks nice

  11. Myrdinn says:

    Looks more Diablo than Diablo 2 or 3.

  12. RedViv says:

    Acceptable. *sips from skull mug*

  13. Kaeoschassis says:

    The more Norse inspiration we get in games the better.
    And for that matter, the more of this ultra-pretty pixel art we get in games, the better.
    And the more rpgs that go back to the style of the first Diablo. And the more combat with a focus on timing and tactics. And…

    Gosh. They really are making my perfect game, aren’t they?

  14. Jamesworkshop says:

    feels a bit like light crusader being based on positioning

    needs a jump button and some puzzles

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    DantronLesotho says:

    This; I want this. I love the idea of it. I hope there are multiple classes to play as, but I’d be satisfied with this either way. I hope it gets finished!

    • skyturnedred says:

      I hope there aren’t classes beyond choosing your starting attributes/gear. I want to build my character as I see fit.

  16. skyturnedred says:

    I’m not a huge fan of pixely games, but I’m very interested in this one.

  17. KevinLew says:

    This game looks great, but since stamina is one of the most important features in combat–to the point where you live or die based on it–it needs to be put near the center or the bar made much larger so the player doesn’t have to keep looking in the corner.

    I know that there’s this universal hate for Diablo for some reason, but the reason they used giant circles for health and mana was so players could see it without having to look away from the action.

    • skyturnedred says:

      I 100% agree. Even in the video on small player I had to keep checking to corner to see how the player’s actions affect the meters.

  18. Piecewise says:

    There character creation or are we just going to be stuck playing as what appears to be the offspring of The girl from Brave and a Traffic cone? Her clothing is modest and all but I’d think she’d want something more protective then a dress.

  19. Blacki138 says:

    This looks really awesome. Will keep an eye on it!

  20. Shieldmaiden says:

    This may be relevant to my interests.

  21. DavidMG says:

    “Soulslike”, “Team Fortress 2’em up”, “Spy’em up”. What happened to “influenced by Dark Souls”, “reminiscent of Team Fortress 2” and “spy-themed”? Why are you guys so keen on these absurd word formations that nobody has any use for? It’s ridiculous to abuse such cheap codification. You guys are great writers, why muddy up your often excellent articles with those tasteless improvised terms? If it’s a joke, I get it. But when a joke becomes a trend, it’s gone too far and it’s time to kill it. You’ve been doing it for a while now and I’d be sad to keep seeing these eyesores popping up in your articles. Please keep it tasteful.

  22. chargen says:

    This looks a great deal like Serpent in the Staglands, though that one is more Darklands-like where Eitr is Souls-like (apparently; the gameplay looks a lot more Diablo than Souls).

    I gotta say I like the graphics in SitS better, but they both look amazing. Freakin RPG renaissance we’re in.