Eastward is a shining gem in modern pixel RPGs, with artwork, world building, characters and a soundtrack that will keep you coming back for more. Despite being set in a distinctly more worn-out world than our own, this game feels nostalgic and immersive.
If you enjoyed your time with Sam and John and feel you still need more, take heart and enjoy the many other games out there that carry the same essence and feel of the East in their own special way. Whether it’s the art style, the story, or the gameplay you’re still longing for, these titles should hit the spot.
10/10 Little witch in the forest
When you take on the role of Little Witch In The Woods, you explore a world full of wonder that is both relaxing and fascinating at the same time. This game brings you in for its charming world, questing and potion mechanics, but it really holds your attention with its lovable characters and lexicon.
Despite still being in Early Access, the world already feels rich and full of side quests that make it feel more alive. It also doesn’t hurt that the soundtrack sets the cozy atmosphere perfectly.
9/10 Hyper Light Drifter
Hyper Light Drifter establishes a fascinating aesthetic and a world dripping with its ominous yet colorful atmosphere. The visual appeal of this game is a testament to the great stylistic choices one can make with pixel graphics.
There is a lot of mystery in the game as it encourages you to slowly uncover the lore, but the striking level design and soundtrack do a good job of encouraging you to keep exploring. It shares enough similar elements to draw in players who enjoyed Eastward, but still establishes itself with distinctive gameplay and art choices.
8/10 Potion permission
If you enjoyed Eastward’s cooking system, combat style, and cozy but run-down environments, you’ll probably get a kick out of Potion Permit as well. Here you are a chemist from the capital who helps the citizens of Moonbury by healing them. There’s plenty to explore if you like to discover everything, and you can enjoy a variety of activities such as fishing, diagnosing symptoms, brewing potions and petting your adorable dog.
Make no mistake – this is not a farm-heavy sim, despite what the premise might lead you to think. With the various gameplay elements present, this game is meant to be enjoyed slowly, like a cup of hot chocolate.
Moonlighter does a fantastic job of blending very different elements to create a fully realized narrative that you feel compelled to see through to the end. During the day, you tend your shop and improve your skills as a merchant. At night, you travel through the dungeons in search of items, best creatures and other challenges.
Despite the comforting vibe throughout the game, it’s challenging enough to keep you on your toes. There’s something to be said for titles that literally encourage you to choose the hardest difficulty to experience it as intended. Hack, slash, loot and create companions to aid your journey through this beautifully animated game.
6/10 Crossing souls
If you love the era of big hair, neon, parachute pants and TMNT, Crossing Souls is the love letter you want to get into. Certain levels can be punishing, but it’s rewarding to see the switch every now and then. At its core, this game doesn’t seem to have any overly lofty goals beyond giving you a fun experience – and with that, it delivers.
Twists and turns aside, the overall narrative is interesting, nostalgic and actually heartfelt. Plus, who doesn’t love a great soundtrack and some solid ’80s references?
5/10 Chrono Trigger
Chrono Trigger is a classic entry in the pixel RPG genre, with a story that old fans and new players alike can enjoy. The story is a timeless treasure that, yes, has multiple endings that are tempting to peek into. Some of them are even exclusively obtainable by starting a new game plus.
Although certain mechanics may feel a bit dated, the latest PC release has been remastered so that the graphics and controls are easier to adapt to. It is an epic tale that has a lot of depth, especially for its time.
Unsighted takes place in a future where humans are long gone, and dwindling resources threaten your sentience. The world feels fully realized, with different routes you can take depending on your playstyle. Time is ticking and your choices matter, so it’s a tense experience trying to complete your missions before things go wrong.
Of course, the beautiful art and rewarding exploration perfectly balances out this tension as you try to not only survive, but save your friends from grim fates. It also has a queer main character (and side characters) who actually feel like a fleshed out character.
3/10 Owl boy
Owlboy differs from other titles here by being a platformer (mostly), but it also has a bustling world that feels like it’s alive even when your character isn’t around. It’s billed as a story-driven adventure, and it definitely lives up to that as you go through the whole thing.
While it has certain flaws in its combat mechanics, the story and world are still worth going through the less awesome parts. For what it’s worth, Owlboy is also truly fantastic when it’s in its element – delivering humour, touching moments and a gorgeous world that’s fun to platform through.
2/10 Cross code
CrossCode combines the best aspects of modern and retro gaming to create a title that is expansive, engaging and hard to put down. It’s a spectacularly polished adventure that actually earns how massive it is. The story, the world and the gameplay complement each other well, and tasks almost never feel like a chore to complete.
Whether you enjoy fighting or solving puzzles, there’s something for you to enjoy in CrossCode. It’s impressive to see what indie developers are able to come up with these days, and this game is on top of the mountain.
1/10 Earth bound
It’s hard not to see the influence of EarthBound when playing Eastward. The latter plays like a more mature version of the classic RPG game, while bringing the best parts of the sensibilities. The playable Earth Born in Eastward is even a pretty clear homage to this title.
Right now, unless you have the original game and console, you can only officially play EarthBound using your Nintendo Switch Online membership. It’s worth exploring to bask in the nostalgia and enjoy a game that sharply straddles the line between cheerful wonder and impending doom. It’s fascinating how good this game is despite the initial marketing failing to build on its initial success.
Next: Things everyone missed in the east