This combat-free third-person adventure introduces us to Mia Lorenson, a young female researcher employed by a science facility. After waking in a hospital, with only a hazy recollection of events prior, Mia begins to explore the empty wards and labs while slowly piecing together recent events. Her colleagues are nowhere to be found. In fact, the whole city is deserted.
Worry not, as this isn’t yet after riff on 28 Days Later, being more in line with Stranger Things, if anything from the world of television. Considering Edengate was developed during the 2020 pandemic, we should be glad that it isn’t rife with Tiger King homages.
The first half an hour or so takes place in the hospital. Mia is in reasonably high spirits despite suffering from amnesia, chuckling a few times at notes left behind and recalling her colleague’s odd habits. Selective amnesia, perhaps. It’s your job to follow a linear path, pushing boxes and wheelie bins out of the way, climbing onto objects, squeezing into narrow areas, and figuring out electronic door codes by scouring the environments for clues or documents.
Interacting with certain glowing objects commences a flashback sequence, helping to fill in gaps in Mia’s past. These are almost impossible not to miss – everything that can be interacted with is highlighted from afar, and there are some helpful pointers to assist with traversal.
Once outside, the game world opens a degree and a few more puzzle elements are introduced. Even so, nothing here should leave you scratching your head – clues are always close by, and the path ahead is always clear. There are some collectable items to look out for though – and you may have to return for a second visit to find them all – with the most notable being unique pieces of graffiti, again used for environmental storytelling.
It’s the story that carries Edengate throughout its 2-hour (approx.) duration. An unpredictable tale of loss, panic, and childhood drama – along with a few psychological twists. No horror elements, surprisingly. Without giving too much away, and also without wanting to set anybody up for disappointment, the ending is quite sudden and doesn’t make a great deal of sense. It could be a case of developers wanting it to be open to your own interpretation. It’s hard to say.
The presentation is generally good; a word I’d also use to describe the visuals. There’s a respectable amount of detail within the environments, such as discarded rubbish and desktop clutter. Mia is animated well, and the voice acting is above average. The Unreal Engine takes care of lighting, shadows, and similar effects – all of which are the standard we’ve come to expect over the years.
The 2-hour runtime, together with the £6 price tag, recalls the days of movie rentals. I’m glad that smaller ‘popcorn’ games like this exist; something inexpensive that can be blitzed in an afternoon, with lustrous visuals to take in along the way. I’m also glad that it didn’t try to be anything more than a short interactive story-driven adventure – adding combat or stealth probably would have been detrimental to the experience.
Edengate: The Edge of Life is a success in that it achieves what it sets out to do. A more coherent story would have made it a bigger success still, while also making it a tad easier to recommend.
HOOK’s Edengate: The Edge Of Life is out now on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.