Invading dragons have razed the Earth, human civilization has collapsed, and survivors have taken to living out the remainder of their days in capsules in outer space. This is the bleak scenario painted by Cleaversoft for their upcoming, procedurally-generated runner game EarthNight, where you take on the role of either 14-year-old high schooler Sydney or freelance photographer Stanley to scavenge for resources, collect power-ups, and slay dragons.
From what I played, the gorgeously hand-painted EarthNight does not present itself as “endless” like other automatic runners—there is a definite end to the game, but the challenge lies in surviving the fall back to the surface of the planet.
Once you skydive from your capsule and land upon the back of a dragon of your choosing, you’re immediately thrust into the action as you take off running to collect treasures and defeat monsters. The pull of gravity in the game is weak, so every jump you make will be very floaty and has to count, but you can easily make up for your floatiness by hitting down on the controller, thus “anchoring” your character and falling faster.
I didn’t last very long as Stanley, who was meant to be the newcomer-oriented character, but I finally got a hang of the game’s controls by the time I tried Sydney. The two do control differently from one another: Stanley is more basic with a double jump, but Sydney can triple jump to potentially reach higher paths. I do stress “potentially,” as the direction of her extra jumps are angle-oriented, though these are thankfully color-coded by an ethereal trail to give you an indicator. The goal is to reach the dragon’s head and slay it before it throws you off, and once you succeed, you can skydive down again and choose your next stage by directing your character during free-fall towards another dragon.
Power-ups are also scattered about the field—one turns you big and invincible, and another I encountered drew the camera back for extra visibility, for example—and you can combo your jumps and enemy kills to rack up some returning health. Don’t bother remembering enemy placements and stage layouts, as each dragon road is procedurally generated (albeit split into beginning, middle, and end chunks) and will make each playthrough of the game different than the last.
If you’re looking for a challenge and really want to test your auto-running and platforming mettle, look no further than EarthNight once it launches on PlayStation 4. The game is expected to release within early 2018 for the PS4 as an early exclusive, and it will later be coming to PS Vita, mobile devices, and Steam for PC and Mac.