EarthNight, hunting dragons – First Sip Review
EarthNight is an auto-runner/2D platformer game. Both developed and published by Cleaversoft. EarthNight is the first game by Cleaversoft, a company founded in 2008. However, the team was put together in 2012 and the development of the ideas and adding new members to the team took time as well.
The Story of EarthNight is pretty simple and pretty imaginative and fun. Essentially Dragons went to war with Earth and the humans lost. In losing the humans were banished to space. The game takes place after this Dragon Apocalypse and focuses on two humans who are fed up with the status quo. Those humans are Stanley and Sydney, and they are going to take the Earth back. These heroes skydive from space down toward Earth, even though there are so many problems with that. However, EarthNight is a fantastical adventure so things like “skydiving from space”, a lack of spacesuit or any typical skydiving equipment and of course not burning up on re-entry, are all acceptable.
The game also contains some further lore in the scrap collector that remains on the heroes’ ship. As a post-apocalypse story, water is the main commodity and all the scrap you pick up (or dragon parts you carve out) are exchanged for the precious resource. In conclusion, the story isn’t super-complex or even all that new, but it is super fun and the particulars like giant space dragons do make it stand out.
Wow! EarthNight is an absolutely gorgeous game, the art is what stuck out to me to begin with. And it’s really what makes the game so special too. The art of the game is handled by Paul Davey AKA Mattahan. If you haven’t heard of him, you’ve still probably seen his work around. He has made all sorts of work for various mediums including some art for FTL. His art is incredibly dynamic and has so much personality.
Honestly, EarthNight has to be one of the best looking 2D games out there. Everything from the character designs to the color choices is simply amazing. In particular, the views of space and the Earth in the distance are simply jaw-dropping. I feel like backgrounds sometimes don’t get the recognition they deserve. Most of the time they are coincidentally (or not), just in the background, subtly there to fill in the world without people really taking notice without parallax and movements. But the space scenes in EarthNight are absolutely gorgeous to look at.
The gorgeous art of Mattahan is certainly the selling point of EarthNight. But, that doesn’t mean the game doesn’t have more to offer. Rich Siegel one of the founders of Cleaversoft and the lead developer seems to have both an eye and an ear for talent. Perfectly complementing both the visuals and the gameplay itself, Paul Weinstein AKA Chipocrite’s soundtrack is phenomenal. A multi-instrumentalist, Chipocrite is incredibly talented, playing guitar, programming drums and of course one of the first instruments most people think of, the original Gameboy.
The sounds created by the Gameboy give the music such a retro and nostalgic feel. Naturally, they fit incredibly well with the game as the gameplay is fairly retro at heart as well. But what takes the music to the next level is the full sound created by merging the chiptunes with other instrumentation. However, if you came for the retro beats only, well there is an option for it. You can select Full Band, Chiptune Only or a random mix of the styles. It’s phenomenal stuff and well worth a listen even if you’re not interested in the game. You can check it out and purchase it in various places such as Bandcamp.
I have been gushing about the music a lot, however, the sound effects are incredibly solid as well, it’s an all-round incredible sound performance really.
The gameplay in EarthNight is pretty straightforward (especially with all the running). However, it’s not just another auto-runner. But even if it was that wouldn’t be that bad. A lot of auto-runner games have sort of tarred the genre by feeling like soulless mobile cash grabs. But I think people forget about some of the genuinely fun runners out there like Jetpack Joyride.
In EarthNight you choose a character, either Sydney a brave and sometimes scary little girl. Or Stanley a middle-aged or older man who seems to have dropped his afro to his chin as a beard and forgotten about the top of his head having hair. I initially chose Stanley because he had less moves so I figured it would make his gameplay more simple. You don’t have to worry about running, as auto-runner implies you automatically run. But you do have to jump, you can also hold down in the air to come down faster for various reasons. Stanley also has a long-jump as well as his standard one, and you can move more to the right to increase your speed and jump distance.
Sydney has additional moves in her skill-set. She doesn’t have the long jump, however, she has a double-jump, air dash and a downwards air dash instead.
Either character you choose the objective is the same, run from the dragon’s tail to its head to kill it. On the way, there will be tons of scrap to collect to trade for water. There are also tons of enemies on the dragon’s back. Jumping or landing on their heads classic platformer style works in defeating them. And if you are able to chain together kills without touching the ground you’ll gain bonuses.
In between dragons, there are segments where you will skydive toward Earth. In these sections, you move in a 3D x and y-axis grid and can choose to land on specific dragons if you can manage it. Or try to avoid dragons to get to Earth itself. It’s a really fun addition to the gameplay and it feels great.
Landing on particular dragons is helpful because each color will give you a different item when you kill it. These items unlock upgrades from the appraiser on the ship. Or if you collect enough scrap you can buy them without beating the dragons.
EarthNight is a game I had not heard of at all before playing it. And it really impressed me right out of the gate. The talent of the team is obvious, from the artists and the musicians to the programmers themselves. EarthNight is an assured title and makes Cleaversoft a company to really keep an eye on now. If they can maintain or somehow manage to exceed the level of quality already on display they are sure to become the indie darlings they obviously deserve to be.
In Coffee Terms
EarthNight in coffee terms is like finding a cafe that was purchased years ago but hadn’t opened. Then one day it opens and you tentatively order their signature blend. It looks amazing, but looks can be deceiving. You take a sip and the rush of flavors come over you. A smile breaks out on your face unprompted by your conscious thoughts. You start to realize why the cafe hadn’t opened earlier. Instead of serving watered-down drinks that could barely be called beverages let alone coffee. They chose to hone their craft and release a blend that makes the big chains look like the hacks they sometimes are. All I can say is, another cup please, and if the quality is the same well take your time.
EarthNight Review Summary
One half of the YouTube brother duo, The Game Bros with Sirhc and Ar0n, Chris is a lover of games, movies and other great things you can do from home.
Coffee of choice: I like the sweeter kinds, mixed with chocolate, coconut, caramel etc. but I won’t turn down a flat white or a straight black either.