Every once a while there is a game that defines the platform that it is launched on. A game that people will associate with that platform. Instant classics that will be remembered for showing off what’s possible at that point in time and that are so outstanding that they often even define the genre they stand for. Like Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo or Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64. Games that put the bar so high so that every subsequent game will be measured against this masterpiece. A system seller. Eclipse: Edge Of Light is such a game for Daydream VR. It is an outstanding achievement and the best game I have ever played on mobile VR. Period. An instant classic that everyone with a Daydream-ready phone must own and that should make those who have not yet made the plunge into Daydream consider to get their Daydream setup rather sooner than later.
Eclipse: Edge of Light is a first-person adventure game that has you explore a sentient planet that you crash-landed on. The planet seems to have had a dark past and the littered remains of a civilization point to an extinction event that must have taken place here.
You explore the planet equipped with a space suit and a jet pack that allows you to float through the air in short bursts until you have to land in order for it to recharge. Using the jet pack is a deeply satisfying means of transportation on this rocky planet and it allows you to explore areas that you could not have reached otherwise. The jet pack mechanism is masterfully utilized for platforming elements throughout the game, but the main focus of the game is exploration and discovery.
Early on in the game you find a mysterious artifact that bestows magical powers on you and that belongs to the ancient civilization that seems to have perished. With the help of this artifact you can open gates, have obstacles disappear and even move objects at will. The artifact will also activate portals that are scattered around the planet. Whenever you activate those portals, you will get a glimpse into the planet’s past through visions that appear right in front of you. These visions are puzzle pieces that allow you to put together what must have happened on this planet in the past and what role you as the artifact bearer might play in its future.
Next to activating portals with the artifact you can also learn more of the planet’s past by scanning littered remains of the past civilization using your space suit. Like this the planet reveals more and more of its dark past and your journey soon enough turns into a mission that you cannot escape from.
All of the above gameplay mechanics are taught to the player within the first 15 minutes after having crash-landed on the planet. Controls are intuitive and once you understand what you are capable of, the planet is yours to explore and you actually cannot wait to do so and uncover its mysteries.
As mentioned above, the focus of Eclipse: Edge of Light is on exploration and discovery. Area by area you are being sucked deeper and deeper into the mysterious story by using your new powers to solve puzzles and get deeper into the planet. These puzzles were left by that the doomed civilization in order to protect its secrets and unimaginable powers from the unworthy. During your time in the game you will feel like an intergalactic Indiana Jones that for the first time sets foot on an ancient planet that is filled with mystery and wonders that no man has seen before.
The mix of platforming and puzzle solving is deeply satisfying. All of those elements come together so well and drive the engaging story forwards to its inevitable climax that you will reach after around 4 hours. That of course depends on how fast you can solve all the puzzles and how quickly you are willing to move past the breathtaking views that you will encounter during your adventure.
Puzzles that you have to solve are always fair and none of them will have you get stuck in an area for too long. And if you should die because you fell off a cliff or were hit by deadly laser beams, you can start again in the same area without any major punishment.
At times your artifact will glow and pulsate which signals to you that you can explore the environment through a magic mirror that allows you a glimpse into another reality, revealing further clues and objects to help you reach your final destination. Eclipse: Edge of Light is an adventure that will get stuck in your mind even after you have finished and I am sure that you will go back for another playthrough just to admire the game once again.
Eclipse: Edge of Light is the best looking game on Daydream VR and despite the restrictions of the mobile platform the game can even compete with the most beautiful games on PSVR, Rift and Vive. It is breathtaking what developers White Elk Studios have accomplished here and from its visual perfection and the degree of craftsmanship it won’t come as a surprise to you that Lead Game Designer Jonathan Hawkins was responsible for the God Of War series before.
The love of detail that went into filling this world with a mysterious life of its own and thus making the player want to explore it until the very end is simply mind boggling. No matter if you have your jet pack propel you to areas within the skies that will give you unforgettable vistas of the planet and its surrounding moons or if you are deep within an ancient temple that reminds us of Egyptian mythology, your mind will be blown and sometimes you will find yourself just gazing at your surroundings in utter disbelief that this is possible on a mobile VR system.
During your adventure on the planet you will truly feel like exploring an unknown civilization and all its wonders that come with it. The game makes you feel like how archeologists must feel when they discover a whole new world that had never been explored before.
Every single detail of Eclipse: Edge of Light had been carefully crafted. Sound effects and background music build the groundwork for the game’s mysterious atmosphere and they are just as masterfully composed as the graphics are designed. Everything about this game feels like the AAA production that it is. I could go on and on about the little details like the visual projections of past events, the guardian statues that scan their surroundings with deadly laser beams or the moons orbiting around the planet. You simply have to experience Eclipse: Edge of Light for yourself to believe it.
Eclipse: Edge of Light is not only the most beautiful game on the system, it is also the most immersive. During my time in the game it was ME who was exploring this planet and *I* was there uncovering its deep mysteries. The game accomplishes this deep feeling of immersion through several means.
First of all, its control scheme is so well done that actions happen as naturally as if you had really crash-landed on the planet. The game mechanic of throwing your artifact at objects by flicking your wrist in a throwing motion for example, that’s how you would throw a ball in the real world as well.
As what locomotion is concerned, it does help immersion that you are actually moving from A to B like you would in a standard first person game, instead of having you teleport through space like in most other VR games nowadays. And floating through the world with your jet pack feels just as how I imagine it must feel like to have a jet pack strapped to your body and to float through the skies.
Then there is your space suit and especially your helmet that limits your peripheral vision. You can disable the helmet view in the options but I would discourage you from doing so because it actually dramatically increases immersion. Since your VR glasses also limit your vision to the maximum Field Of View that your Daydream headset can support and because you are also wearing it on your head just like a helmet feeling its weight, your brain will believe that you are actually wearing that space helmet. It is fantastic and I must repeat it again, it is the most immersive experience that I had in a VR game yet. After this, I cannot imagine to play a 2D game ever again.
You might think that making the choice of letting you move freely instead of teleporting yourself would bear the risk of making you feel sick. I can gladly tell you that of course the developers have also thought about that. Whenever you move within the game your space helmet will automatically move out blinders just like an optical shutter mechanism of a camera would decrease the aperture. Like this your peripheral vision will be decreased even further making you concentrate on where you are headed to which in term helps you not to get motion sick. During the whole game I did not have any problems concerning my comfort levels and at no point did I want to quit the game because I felt sick. In fact, I only left the game when I was forced to due to overheating problems of my phone. The mechanism used here to increase comfort levels works great and I would not be surprised if we saw more of it in future titles.
Eclipse: Edge of Light is a masterpiece and instant classic. It is one of the best and most memorable games that I have ever played, no matter on which platform. The game is a showpiece of how VR can enrich the gaming experience when done right and it will help the medium gain further traction all by itself. Deep immersion coupled with sheer beauty, masterful execution of gameplay mechanics that combine platforming and puzzle elements in order to drive the compelling story forward make this the most memorable time that you have ever spent wearing your VR headset. Google would be well advised to try convincing the developers to keep this a Daydream exclusive title, because this one is a system seller bar none. What are you waiting for? Get this game now!