Recently, we saw more news about the RPG Eastward from the creators of the video game Starbound. Given Starbound’s lukewarm response after a botched early access release, will Eastward go the same way?

Some of you reading this might be familiar with the animated tv show Gravity Falls. It follows a pair of siblings, Dipper and Mabel, on their wacky adventures with their great uncle, Stan. But the art style sticks out for its unique blend of cartoonish-ness and detail.

The latest video game from studio Chucklefish gives off some Gravity Falls vibes. This sci-fi RPG fuses Legend of Zelda gameplay with inspiration from Hong Moran’s pixel art.

What is Eastward and why will it be more successful than Starbound? Furthermore, will it play similarly to Stardew Valley?

What’s Different From Starbound and Stardew Valley?

The 2D scene opens with a cute character in the kitchen craving sushi for dinner. The synth-heavy soundtrack captures the tone as the characters romp through various locations. We see them fight bugs, monsters, and mutant robots.

And yes — it looks like the character from the beginning does, in fact, get her sushi fix.

Chucklefish has a history of producing two-dimensional video games. But Stardew Valley saw much more success than a game I backed in early access — Starbound.

image of Chucklefish community forums for article Eastward: a Gravity Falls Looking RPG From "Starbound" Studio
Chucklefish community forums

Fortunately for Chucklefish, it looks like Eastward will avoid the pitfalls of Starbound. Starbound, which was available since 2013 in early access, erased any save data with each update, frustrating players.

Eastward fuses aspects of classic title Legend of Zelda with Japanese game Mother/Earthbound Beginnings. The partnership with Japanese studio Pixpil uses visual inspiration from 90s Japanese animation.

image of Eastward RPG for article Eastward: a Gravity Falls Looking RPG From "Starbound" Studio
Chucklefish and Pixpil via PCMag

In the game, you follow John, a digger who finds a mysterious girl in a hidden facility. As it usually goes, John gets exiled and must help the girl navigate various places and fight monsters.

image of Gravity Falls characters Dipper and Mabel for article Eastward: a Gravity Falls Looking RPG From "Starbound" Studio
Gravity Falls via Wikipedia

If this reminds you of Final Fantasy 6 or many other RPGs, you aren’t alone. 

Still, the animation, inspired by Hong Moran, looks fantastic. The soundtrack will, undoubtedly, fit the ambiance perfectly.

The game should also play similarly to Stardew Valley…I think. But you can see from the above screenshot that the game bears a little similarity to the quiet, woodsy town of Gravity Falls.

It just happens to have whale carcasses instead of gnomes and zombies.

What Games are you Playing This Week?

Unfortunately, we won’t know more about an Eastward release date for a while. Until then, you can follow the game’s Twitter for more updates. But the website FAQ says “no release date has been set”.

In the meantime, you can play some other games out right now.

Scratch your JRPG itch with something like Legends of the Heroes: Trails in the Sky. Or get hyped for the new Tomb Raider game by playing one of the other games in the rebooted franchise.

You could always hop on the Fortnite train like almost everyone else on the planet, too.

Season four just launched today and I think there might be dinosaurs from space in it.

What are some of your favorite 2D, old-school inspired RPGs from recent years?

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