Eternal Hope is a 2D Puzzle Platformer brought to you by Double Hit games, released August 2020 for Steam PC.

From the get-go, you are presented with our protagonists, a lonely young boy named Ti’bi, a boy who has spent all his life alone and isolated. This is explained to you very quickly in the opening moments of the story that all he ever wanted was somebody this quickly changes, however, when during a seemingly typical day for our hero (spoiler alert it isn’t). He suddenly encounters another person, a girl, a girl named Hope.

“Our hero meeting Hope for the first time”

After a cutscene showing the passage of time for the two, the friendship quickly develops into love unfortunately for Ti’Bi this was not made to last after waking one morning during a horrendous storm he finds his beloved missing. You quickly head towards the place of their first meeting finding her pinned under a tree but before you can get to her lightning strikes and sends her falling to her death off a cliff. You encounter The Keeper of souls shortly after and he explains that it’s his job in this world to collect souls, but Hopes soul shattered into various fragments and have weakened The Keeper making it difficult for him to perform his otherworldly duties. In return for your assistance recovering these fragments, he offers you a small amount of his power and the promise to return Hope to the world of the living. Our distraught protagonist with this small ray of hope sets off on a journey now with the ability now to swap between the land of the living and the shadow realm seeing you don a mask for about 10 seconds that has a striking resemblance to The Keeper himself. It also allows you to see An’Mu, non-hostile harmless creatures that inhabit the shadow realm, while in their realm the protagonists can use them by jumping on their heads or bodies or interacting with them in different ways to often reach new areas or often as solutions to the puzzles presented. The shadow realm along with these creatures also occasionally changes the environment by presenting platforms and the like.

The colour pallet really makes the characters pop against the background and is all visually quite striking throughout.”

This plays a big part in the puzzles being your main ability at your disposal other than jumping, climbing, and pushing or pulling various objects. You also obtain Hopes scarf later in the game which allows you descend from greater heights without dying, while enjoyable most puzzles are fairly easy. For the most part, while the puzzles are simple, they are presented well and I generally found them enjoyable. However, with no combat strictly to speak of aside from running or using the environment to hamper the progress of enemies an example being a Troll that had captured me that I then had to flee from. You will be more at danger of the 2 metres are hero can fall at the start of the game before falling than anything else which is one of my main gripes when you do die. Often when you do die it is due to the controls not being as tight as I’d like for a platformer on both keyboard (there being no mouse support even in the menus) and on the controller which it feels more geared towards, you will be fighting the controls on occasion. Which wouldn’t be so much of an issue if it were not for the six to seven seconds loading times in between that can make it more frustrating on occasions. Particularly with no manual save at hand and only autosaves you’ll find yourself replaying sections of puzzles you’ve already done and with the frustrating load times instead of instantly spawning to allow you to try again I found it broke the flow for me on more than one occasion.

You’ll quickly get into the loop of doing the same thing you were doing in the first half-hour by late-game too only adding variety by the puzzles you encounter, which is a shame as combat could have been used as an avenue you to explore. The option of you taking souls for the sake of someone who means something to you at the expense of others or something along those lines. Unfortunately collecting the shards of Hopes soul boils down to you walking up to a flower and picking out the shard.

Luckily for Eternal Hope, it’s short and I mean really quite short in the grand scheme of things only took me around 3 hours with deaths less if you can do it without, so glad it never becomes stale or overstays its welcome only containing 12 chapters in total.

“Even in the Shadow realm the game looks great! And I can’t help but think of No Face from Spirited Away seeing An’Mu.”

On the other hand, Eternal Hopes presentation is great heavily reminding me of games like Limbo or Inside which in no way is that a bad thing! With an almost layered paper look to it, while in the world of the living the environments will be a lot more alive looking with bright colours presented in the background creating a nice contrast to the silhouetted appearance of the foreground and characters much like Limbo. On the other side in the shadow realm, the colour pallet is presented in a much more sombre and muted tone creating a great contrast between the two. On top of this, the sound is very minimal and used effectively especially given the tone of the game and its story. The music that is here is enjoyable too with some nice piano and orchestral pieces although at times these pieces are re-used which somewhat diminished my enjoyment of them although still overall pleasant.

While minor gripes such as loose or unresponsive controls, lack of mouse support, load times and no chapter select, or manual saves did affect my enjoyment a little for the most part I enjoyed my time with Eternal Hope. Its story not taken as far as it could have been taken in my opinion it is however still enjoyable and is a nice premise for the journey of our hero and one, I am sure we can all empathise with. The puzzles on offer while easy are all presented well and make good use of the Shadow realm mechanic as well as your abilities while very limited.

Review code provided by Bope