I’m surprised there aren’t more games like Eon Altar! There’s plenty of couch co-op games, but all of them require keyboards or controllers. Eon Altar makes the genre a lot more accessible by allowing people to control their characters via their smartphone. As long as you’re able to download the Eon Altar controller app, you can play the game with a friend.
Today, we’re specifically looking at Eon Altar Episode 2: Whispers in the Catacombs. However, this is my first time playing the game as a whole so I’ll also add my general experiences with the title.
When starting the game, you’ll get to choose between five characters on your phone. You’ll then control that character from your phone for the rest of the game, as well as upgrade their skill trees and armor on the app too. This game feels a bit like Dungeons and Dragons and they make you feel a real connection to your character as you give life to their voices. There’s dialogues you must read out to your teammates and information to convey that only you know. Your character may have secret motives and quests, and you can choose to keep these hidden from your team.
When I first started the game with my friend, we chose two characters that primarily did damage. Unfortunately, that meant we were both squishy. We ended up restarting the game because we decided the game would be much better if one of us were the tank. Please excuse my screenshots as my friend and I ended up playing the game off a Macbook so it was more portable. The developers did suggest that the game was meant to be played on a TV screen.
I’m actually really glad that I’m picking up the game at episode 2 since the cliffhanger from episode 1 was pretty big. For those of you who haven’t played episode 1, there will be some spoilers ahead.
At the end of episode 1, after you defeat the sellswords’ commander, Jormund, you find out there’s greater forces at work here. He tells you that the mysterious Lord Davian, who seems to be the person instigating the slaughtering of pilgrims and causing chaos throughout episode 1, is bringing the dead back to life for his army. The episode ends with a zombie appearing before it cuts to black.
Episode 2 takes your team into the catacombs to uncover the story of what happened a thousand years ago. Why are there so many restless spirits roaming the halls? Meanwhile, you’ve also got to stop cultists who are trying to wake spirits to feed Lord Davian’s undead army.
I must say that I’m a lot more intrigued by the story in Episode 2 than 1. Firstly, the ghost’s backstories are really interesting. They all seem to reference some sort of stronghold where they were hiding until they all died. You can hear the terror and regret in their voice as they hid while the enemies tried to hunt them down. They’re ghosts now, so you clearly know they all met an unfortunate end. For example, the master of coins reveals he has done something terrible that might have caused everyone to ultimately die in that room, but he’s an old man who truly thought he was right. He gives you one last request as you finish your first quest with him, and it’s that you tell his apprentice that she’s free to go. He’s worried that she’s stuck in the afterlife due to her loyalty. This really plucked at my heartstrings, because we did actually see her roaming the halls asking if we’ve seen the Master of Coins.
Personally, I found parts of Eon Altar to be slow. At times, I’d have to wait on teammates to upgrade their items and read through their new spells and you’re stuck there with not much to do. Usually if I’m playing a board game that took turns, I’d maybe fiddle around on my phone if there was nothing for me to do. But unfortunately, my phone was my controller and exiting out of the app pauses the game for everyone.
The most exciting parts are definitely the fights. There’s a lot of teamwork involved. I played as Muran and some of her spells do AOE damage— even if her teammates happen to be in that area. For my friend who played Marcus, he had to make sure he was relatively close to me so that if he needed to pull aggro, he’d be able to reach my character. If you mess up, you’ll find yourself having to restart from a save point.
Overall, there’s a really great story being told with Eon Altar, and it’s told in an creative and interactive way. I’m not usually one for strategy games, but I am definitely one for a game that allows you to feel like you’re actually in the story. If you’ve got a group of friends who would be down for a D&D-esque video game, try it out. It’s a new way to play co-op RPG games, and you only need to buy one copy of the game!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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