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One Step From Eden goes crowdfunding with a challenging demo

Bullet hell is on the cards

Build decks, sling cards, dodge hundreds of bullets - One Step From Eden feels like a clever, twitchy little hybrid of excellent card-battling roguelike Slay The Spire and Capcom's Mega Man Battle Network series. Developer Thomas Moon Kang has taken his deck-building roguelike shooter-thing to Kickstarter, accompanied by a surprisingly difficult and replayable demo on Game Jolt here. Four quick runs through the demo and I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it, although it demands a level of focus that I probably need more caffeine to muster. Check out the trailer below.

For those who have never played a Mega Man Battle Network game before (and you can be excused if you haven't - they were Game Boy exclusives for the longest time), think 'Hearthstone in real-time'. You hop your little character around a grid-based battlefield, dodging where enemy attacks would land and trying to corner your target with the biggest spells and summons in your deck as they're drawn. One Step From Eden takes that formula and goes much faster. Some combinations of enemies can leave few tiles safe to stand in, and bosses have complex, rapid attack patterns.

Cover image for YouTube video

What makes One Step From Eden especially interesting is that it pairs that combat framework with the far more immediate and compelling structure of Slay The Spire. Starting with a small deck of cards, you build up your arsenal as you fight your way through a branching roguelike map. If you came out of one fight at full strength you can try for another fight and more loot, or you could stop by a campfire to recover at the cost of long-term growth, for instance. The demo only gives a brief taste of this, but I'm excited - the non-combat parts of MMBN were always the weakest.

The demo features one zone, started fresh each time, with you picking a new card and sometimes a character upgrade item after each fight. There are apparently three bosses in the demo, although the second has beaten me every time - I'm slowly starting to get a handle on her melee-heavy attack patterns now. The current demo is clearly a work in progress, with some overlapping text on cards and some meme-laden dialogue that I'm hoping is just a placeholder, but it should give you a good idea of how the game works. Just be prepared to dodge bullets from the moment you start.

You can see a bit more of One Step From Eden on its official page here, Steam page here or its Kickstarter here - the initial funding goal seems easily within reach, with the stretch goals looking increasingly ambitious. The demo is here.

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Dominic Tarason