EarthNight is the Auto-Runner I Don’t Hate
EarthNight is a 2D auto-runner game that launched on Apple Arcade and made me forget how much I hate auto-runner games!
I know that’s a weird opening line, but hear me out. When auto-runners first appeared on the App Store they were the typical swipe left and swipe right, basically Tinder. Well, the team over at Cleaversoft basically said, “Forget that! Let’s make the Bumble of auto-runners.” Okay, I doubt they said that, but who knows? Moving right along. Let’s dive in and get into how this game plays and looks, because oh, man, does it look pretty.
To be honest and transparent, I suck at this game; that’s why I’m only doing an impression. I couldn’t get too far, but one of the joys of the game is that didn’t matter to me. It was so fun, vibrant, and some dope jams were playing throughout the game.
You take control of either Sydney and her entity friend or Stanley with his sword, each with their own unique feel, and you basically dive-bomb toward Earth, taking out some dragons along the way. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, that’s because it is! The better you do, and the more dragons you slay, the more items you earn to unlock equipment to help you take down some of those harder dragons and all the crazy creatures on their backs. Oh yeah, forgot to mention, each dragon basically has an army of creatures that you have to get through before you can slay him.
I played this game two different ways: The iPad Pro with touch screen and with the iPad Pro synced with an Xbox One controller.
First takeaway: Much prefer playing this game with a controller. It definitely helps with the flow of the game when every action has a designated button. With the touchscreen, I could think I’m hitting the right part of the screen, but get a different command input due to slight height of my placement. To be fair, I doubt the people at Cleaversoft assumed any person would try to play this touch screen with the 12 inch iPad Pro, so I’ll throw the blunder there on me. I assume the touch controls work much better while playing with a phone.
Random thought: An iPad Pro and an Xbox controller might be the best portable gaming setup ever.
I don’t know where to start with this. It’s beautiful. There’s nothing much more to say, but I will say more ’cause word counts and what-have-you. The visuals were painted by Paul Davey, a.k.a. Mattahan, and he painted over 10,000 frames… Good work, my dude. The game looks like its own world. Each character, creature, dragon, and just the space they inhabit feels like you’re traveling through the best cartoon never made. I truly believe the art is what keeps me coming back to this game.
Again, one of the amazing things about this game, and it’s hard to express the atmosphere this music brings to the game. Paul Weinstein, a.k.a. Chipocrite, produced an original soundtrack for the game. I don’t know how to properly express the way it sounds. It makes sense. Each song feels like it belongs and helps flesh out the world that this team created.
The gameplay is fluid. It almost feels like you’re riding the flow of the music—that’s if you’re not messing up. It seemed the better I was doing the more in line with the soundtrack I became. The slight difference in characters’ play styles is felt. There is a different weight to Sydney and Stanley that kind of determines how you’re going to handle each level. I love the direction Rich Siegel, head of Cleaversoft and lead developer on EarthNight, went with this choice for gameplay. It makes you forget you’re playing an auto-runner and makes you feel like you’re in control the whole time.
From what I played it seemed like Sydney was more adept at handling the auto-running with being able to traverse the levels with her double jump. Meanwhile, Stanley seemed to give me an easier time slaying the dragons. Now, that could be because Stanley seems to play slightly slower compared to Sydney, and that allowed me to find his rhythm easier. Either way, it’s rare to feel a noticeable difference between characters with games like this, but there was. I think Stanley is great when you’re learning the game and Sydney is great if you want to master the game.
It’s All About the Flow
I keep coming back to the flow of the game, but I don’t think there is any better way to describe it. While you’re going through the hectic, creature compact, back of a dragon, you’re finding your rhythm. Each jump feels like a beat, and the faster you go, the quicker the beat. You become more and more focused on the gameplay. Then when you jump off the dragon and fall through space you’re given a reprieve. A moment to just see the beauty and be taken away by the atmospheric music.
I don’t know why I keep thinking of these comparisons, but while you’re playing it feels like a Chance the Rapper track. Because you get hit with the fire bars and beat and then as soon as the track ends you get a hymn. So yeah, EarthNight is the Chance the Rapper of video games. Heard it here first, folks.
Should You Play This Game?
Absolutely yes! With it being on Apple Arcade, you can give this game some love for the $5 entry fee, and I think it’s safe to say this game is definitely worth more than that. It’ll be coming to Steam, Nintendo Switch, and PS4 later this year. My suggestion is give it a try on Apple Arcade, and if you fall in love like I did, give this game a purchase on your preferred platform when it drops.
Did you get a chance to play EarthNight yet? Do you prefer it on the console, or the iPhone? If you have an iPad Pro I strongly suggest that method! Do you wish you could slay dragons? If so, keep following WotN for your very belated game impressions of awesome games!