One Step from Eden is one of those games developed for a specific audience with specific experiences. As a grid-based, deck-building action RPG, One Step from Eden follows the legacy of the classic Mega Man Battle Network series. This new title is sure to resonate with the many players who love Capcom’s classic games even to this day as it incorporates classic gameplay elements along with new ideas.
I never played Mega Man Battle Network, so when I went into this spiritual successor from developer Thomas Moon Kang, I did so effectively blind. Of course, this wasn’t the first time I’d played a card-based RPG or action game, and while I was generally familiar with One Step from Eden’s general concept and gameplay, I still wasn’t entirely prepared for what awaited me. I was especially unprepared for how much I’d enjoy it.
Given this background, it’s probably to be expected that One Step from Eden has surprised me at every step. For instance, when I think of games about building your deck, I think of meticulous strategies and slow, thoughtful planning in every battle. This is certainly not the case in Eden. Instead, you’re left to work with whatever semi-random cards that are dealt to you in the midst of battle. Oftentimes, you’ll barely have time to really think about your choices since battles move quickly and enemies are swift and ruthless.
That’s not to say that you have no control over your deck at all; in-between rounds you can choose new cards to add to your deck and determine which cards are more likely to show up in your hand during missions. Yet, when you do find yourself in combat encounters, all you can do is react to what’s in front of you and make use of the cards you have.
You’ll constantly have to develop new strategies, especially since no two journeys to Eden are ever the same. One Step from Eden is a roguelike, and in every one of my runs through the game I encountered a widely varying assortment of enemy encounters and missions that demanded different approaches. This kept everything feeling fresh, and I’m always excited to see what environments, scenarios, and cards I’ll discover in each playthrough.
This means the game often requires a different kind of thinking. It’s possible to strategize ahead of time, but you have to be ready to throw those plans away and work with what you’re given at a moment’s notice. Things move so fast that I often didn’t even notice what cards I was using. With how many enemies and projectiles can clog the screen at a time, perhaps it would be more apt to group One Step from Eden as a shoot’em up rather than a strategy or action game.
The more I played, the more elaborate my hand became. Even if I didn’t always know what cards I was playing, I would at least know that each and every one of them held unique strategic properties that all serve their own uses in combat. Each card holds unique abilities and feels extremely distinct from the rest. One card might set up a turret on your field, while another might strike an enemy with lighting, and another might grant you a shield. There’s a seemingly endless variety of different cards, resulting in a constant stream of new and exciting abilities to experiment with.
With One Step from Eden, I’ve been able to discover a whole new type of game. Its mix of strategy, uncertainty, and action is quite unlike anything else I’ve ever played, and this change is extremely welcome to me. I recognize that much of the core concept is derived from Battle Network, but even without playing it, I can see that its design is something new and unique altogether. Regardless of whether the gameplay is new or old, I’m hooked.
I can see myself spending many more hours chugging along my way to Eden, getting a little closer with every step. One Step from Eden is hectic, fast-paced, and immensely challenging, and just like the best roguelikes, it’s extremely easy to go for “just one more run.” Thanks to this, I’ve discovered a bit of what I’ve missed out on all these years without Battle Network, and I can’t wait to move forward on my way to paradise.
One Step from Eden releases March 26 for PC and Switch.