More times than not, it is very difficult to make a game that stands out in the action-platformer genre. Eagle Island tries really hard to separate itself from the pack and actually does an admirable job in their attempts.
Eagle Island: The Land of Lost Friends
This journey begins as you join Quill and his two owls, Koji and Ichiro, at sea when suddenly a raging storm appears and leaves the players shipwrecked on an island unknown to the lost little boy. Now if you pause right there and think back to a certain game series you may recall the similarities between this game and Link’s Awakening in their opening sequence. This island is guarded by an eagle named Amraura, a bird that loves to ruffle up some feathers by kidnapping birds from others and holding them hostage. And what does this bird do when Quill arrives? It kidnaps Ichiro, leaving Quill and his feathered companion to rescue these birds from captivity.
The game’s story is delivered primarily by characters dialogue in the form of text boxes within the hub-world and a few at the end of specific levels. There is also a bit of visual story-telling within the environment and some rather impactful instances of in-game scenes that are noteworthy. The game’s narrative is rather minimal with the focus being on the gameplay. However, the limited story does provide solid objectives, some light plot twists, and some emotionally impactful scenes that are entertaining enough to hold the story together.
During my first bout of combat, I thought “poor bird must have a skull of steel”. You attack with your bird aiming in one of eight directions and releasing to shoot from your hand to hit the target. Quill’s arsenal of solo moves consists simply of running, jumping, and the occasional ledge grab – keeping to its classic 16-bit inspirations. To further build upon this mechanic there is also a combo system which is exceedingly satisfying when performed correctly. When a hit is successful your owl will return to you almost immediately allowing for you to quickly follow up with another attack. If you land four of these attacks in quick succession you will be rewarded with a heart piece, which you will most definitely need in order to overcome many of the challenging levels. Also, at the completion of a level, you receive powers and attack upgrades for your feathery friend that aide in beating down enemies. Three abilities you can earn through progression are lightning strikes, a combustion attack which explodes on contact, and a mystery attack. In some levels, there is the option to ride in a minecart throughout the stage, reminiscence of Donkey Kong Country. Which brings another level of complexity to the game. For example, as you’re on the cart, you still need to attack the enemies but you have to think 3 steps ahead and prepare your bird ahead of time to attack.
Simply put, wow. First off, the attention to all the little details is a defining factor in how Eagle Island stands out. You can tell so much time went into making sure Eagle Island would look as stunning as possible in any angle …