Eastshade is a simple yet beautiful game about making art, slowing down, and smelling the virtual flowers. It’s a sentimental tale traversing an island of anthropomorphic animals living in small towns, much like the Elder Scrolls series and other famous action RPGs.
You’ve sailed to the island of Eastshade to fulfill your mother’s dying wish: go there, visit her favorite places and paint them. This premise sets the tone and signifies what we should expect from the pacing of this game. If you are looking for a game to slay dragons or race around a track, this game is not it.
Many games focus on the grand, like the war between gods, alien invasions, or ancient forces set free. The focus of Eastshade is on the beautiful, everyday humdrum of life. This ordinary scope, however, contributes to a level of realism that games can often overlook. It’s a fresh feeling to be a part of a peaceful world and participate as a regular visitor and not “the chosen one.”
The mystery of the abandoned tower is a great example. The intrigue is there, and everyone in the town of Lyndow is curious about what is going on. Why is there a lantern on at night? Who/what resides there? Could it be a runaway or a ghost? Once you’ve bought yourself a coat and made your way to the coast for a midnight stroll, you’ll find the answer to be fitting and satisfying but far from awe-inspiring.
Going from town to town, taking commissions to paint things, and completing small quests for profit make you feel like a starving artist. What I love most about this gameplay loop is that it plays right into the artistic desires of a gamer (and I think we all undoubtedly have them, even the most hardcore Call of Duty players among us). A significant part of why we play video games is the visual spectacle. People have been screen capping games and turning them into desktop backgrounds for years. Eastshade takes that innate desire in every gamer and runs with it. I love this and applaud any game that adds a picture mode for its player base.
Being an artist and living in a simple world evokes a sense of discovery akin to our everyday human experience. I find this to be both warm and inviting, and it’s what keeps bringing me back to the Isle of Eastshade. If you take the time to stop, appreciate and look around, every view has the potential to be picturesque.
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