A downloadable game for Windows

A journey of a lonely wanderer through forgotten lands...

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A game inspired by games such as: Gothic, Tomb Raider, Legend of Zelda and Ico. Made for fun by a solo dev within a month. Full controller support, no saves. Average playthrough time: half an hour.

Controls:

Have fun.

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Follow Esothe on Twitter

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Update v0.0409 -> v0.0422 (hotfix):

- disabled VR plugins causing error with Steam VR, and Oculus Rift App

- minor bugfixes

- minor improvements

Update v0.0408 -> v0.0409 (hotfix):

- project migrated to a new engine version (UE 4.22) - performance improved

- added a selectable fps limiter in options menu

- minor bugfixes

Update v0.0405 -> v0.0408 (hotfix):

- proper movement controls in interiors

- fixed the game's logic bug after restarting game

- fields' theme music now properly fades out when player enters dungeons, a cave or dies

- minor bugfixes and optimization

Download

Download
Esothe_v00422.zip 517 MB

Development log

Comments

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Loved, loved, loved it. Perfect level of challenge, great variety of environments, intuitively connected in a beautiful landscape. I'd gladly pay for this.

Thanks!

(5 edits)

Hey there. Really a beautiful little game you've made and in such short time. Very impressive! The level design feels really intuitive, subtly guiding the player in the right direction, but still giving him the freedom to find his way and explore (except for maybe that underground area where you have to jump between those narrow, long "stone paths", i just couldn't find the exit).

I read through your dev blog entry aswell, awesome that you will continue to expand and enhance the game! Climbing is really needed as others have already pointed out. I have two other things I want to add:

1) From some preview screenshots it looks like there is going to be combat in future iterations of the game. I would suggest to keep this sparse however, because the game really lives from this all-alone-exloring-forgotten-ruins-vibe. Combat is a thing the new Tomb Raider games for example overdo compared to say the very first TR. Maybe you could add a non-combat exploration mode aswell for people who just want to do that.

2) I really like the overall design and the design of the protagonist. But one thing is a total immersion breaker for me: Why is she wearing those huge heels??? She is jumping, parkouring, climbing (hopefully in the future) and hiking around, it just doesn't make any sense. Please remove those awful heels!

Ok so much for my imput and keep up the awesome work! ;)

(2 edits)

Thanks for the extensive review!

I noticed that many people have a problem with finding a way out of this underground, I will try to fix it in the future updates.

1) Implementing animations of sword swings are easy to do, complete combat system with complex AI is a bit more complicated and, to be honest, it is possible that the topic has surpassed us, so non-combat exploration mode can be the only one ;)

2) Character model is a free model of space pirate from mixamo.com with only changed textures and hairs, I am not a character artist, and I don't know anyone who can help, so I can't promise anything in this topic.

Thanks for playing!

(3 edits)

Your're welcome. No combat? That's totally ok, because I think there are already more then enough games out there who are centered around some form of fighting (feels like 80% of all games are), so for me anything without it is a welcome change. 

Is it very complicated to work with character models? I guess just snapping off those heels isn't as easy as I imagined. You would probably also have to change all animation when doing that, and thats another pair of shoes (pun intended) additionally. But thanks for clearing that up, I was really wondering, why the model would have such a weird detail, while the rest of the world feels so consistently designed. I mean I've got nothing against some sexy boots in general, but it should make sense inside the game's world (like for example if you play as a secret agent or assassin infiltrating a brothel or trying to get to a target at a dinner party or something like that). It just bothers me when it doesn't, but maybe that's just me...

Hi, visually stunnning game. But it only plays at 720p. Is this intended or a bug?

If you hit fullscreen checkbox in the options or alt+enter, the game should change resolution to your system screen resolution. What is your graphics card / monitor?

Those spiders just do not care.  I looked up in that one dungeon room and NOPE.  NOPE to big spider.

Great game.  Can't wait to see what you do next.

(2 edits)

Thanks! 

I hope that in the next updates there will be more NOPE moments :)

I'd like to start by saying that this is a fantastic game, the level design is very well done and I like the way everything fits together to feel like distinct parts of the same world, it also has a great sense of scale to it. I like the scavenger hunt/exploration gameplay and the way it takes you through the world. The art style is visually stunning, it's like walking around in some medieval oil painting.

I only have two gripes, the first one is that jumping from one place to another can be a little tough, I found myself repeatedly missing a jump by just a small amount, some kind of ledge grab would solve this.

The other is only minor, when jumping the character animation 'snaps' back to standing, it'd be nice for them to blend together somehow.

Overall I really enjoyed the game, I'm excited to see what's coming in the future. For now I need to re-play it because apparently I missed some secrets. 

(1 edit) (+1)

Thanks! 

Animations are work in progress. I just wrote a first devlog post in which there is some information about the project and a lot of gifs.

I LOVE this game. This is what I imagined the next Tomb Raider to be, but they went  off in a different direction. I would suggest getting some other people to work with you and doing a kickstarter. I would totally fund you  as I am sure many other would. 

The landscape are gorgeous and I was stunned by the beauty of birds and deer springing out. The spiders scared the hell out of me. So perfect. 

One bug right in the very beginning where I tried to get across the log and got stuck when I fell.

Thank you for the kind words!

About that bug  - I know this place, already fixed, thanks!

So weird thing: this game automatically opens my Oculus Rift app, and if I close the Oculus App, it closes as if it were a VR game.  Maybe some flag you set in UE?

I disabled all VR plugins in Unreal Engine, it should help. Try to run the new version v0.0422.

Yes. that fixed it!  One more thing (you're probably getting sick of these): whenever I die, my inverted Y axis gets disabled until I go into options and turn it off and back on again.  But I appreciate you having it in there!  Many small indie games don't allow you to invert they Y axis and I understand the reasons but boy does it drive me nuts.


Love the visuals, by the way.

I did not test it right, thank you for reporting this bug, I will correct it in the next version.

Thanks for playing!

very nice so far, cant wait to see more.

Thanks!

Just wanted to let  you know I'm having a little trouble trying this out, as whenever I open it it launches Steam VR (but doesn't send output to the headset), and the game closes if I close the SteamVR window.  I found a similar problem reported for another game which suggested deleting the OpenVR folder, but that gives me a fatal error on startup.

I disabled all VR plugins in Unreal Engine, it should help. Try to run the new version v0.0422.

That did the trick, thanks!  Nice work!

Super cool exploration game. Thanks for making it. I enjoyed it very much! :-)

Thanks for playing!

What a brilliant gem. Like a mix of Ashen and that Tomb Raider fan remake. Completed it with all secrets found in an hour. Movement and jumping are great, has a wee bit of gothic jank but that's just charming!

For someone who'd like to get into making games, it's very encouraging to read that it's possible to create a neat place like this in just a month. Makes the whole ordeal seem less overwhelming.

Thanks!

(1 edit) (+1)

Thanks!

So that there is no doubt, I did not create everything myself from scratch, I used various asset packs from UE4 Marketplace, all animations are from Mixamo, just like the main character - I only changed her textures and added some attachments. Creating games (real games, not demos like this) is a journey through torment, but it's a topic for a longer conversation.


Such a pretty game! Love the architecture and interior design especially. Wish it had a photomode or a first person screenshot button though.

Thanks! Photo mode... I will think about it!

here's a quick review:

pros: 

-nice textures and depth of field 

-good lighting for the most part

-simple controls

-good atmospheric sound

cons:

-was a bit too dark in the beginning corridors even with lamp

-a climbing mechanic would be super useful for ledges

-lack of direction or instruction

-the platforming needs a lot of work and i cannot stress this enough. i had to stop playing after spending at least fifteen minutes trying to scale the ruins to  get to an orb. platforming games have to be smooth, or your players will not enjoy playing and just get frustrated. i tried hopping on so many different bushes and bricks to hopefully reach a certain point only to be pushed off every single time.

the game has potential, use the strenghts implemented in the game already to win people over. good luck in further creations.

Thank you for the review.

I will try to improve these things you mentioned in the next updates.

This is the first game I've played and reviewed on itch and I have to say - I'm extremely impressed! So, let's get to it.

Pros:

  • Impressive Overall Graphical Quality (Love character design!)
  • Great Soundtrack + Sound Effects
  • Smooth(ish) Animation
  • A World that Truly Feels Open even with the Game Taking Place within a Limited Area.
  • Love the Platforming/Adventure Aspect with light Puzzle Aspect
  • Interesting Level Design - I was for my whole 40 minute Gameplay Session
  • Amazing potential and a Solid Foundation for a larger game.
  • Intriguing Story Aspects touched upon briefly (at the very end).

Cons:

  • Some Environmental Textures could use some work - especially the foliage.
  • The Overall Gameplay requires more Direction and Development - it doesn't have quite the level of depth it really needs to in order to do the game justice.
  • Some tutorial/explaination initially would be nice.
  • The game is a tad too dark intially - though my eyes eventually adjusted to the lighting.

Final Verdict:

Esothe is an amazing game considering it is still early in development stages. It creates a solid foundation which can be built upon greatly in the future. The intriguing concept is unique and has loads of potential to make a solid, succesful game. What Esothe lacks in depth of direction - it makes up for with it's astonishing graphical quality and pleasing soundtrack/SFX. Overall, considering it's current stage in development,  I would give Esothe a solid 7.5/10. 

This game has so much potential - please do not give up on it! I'll be watching it's development closely as I genuinely am intrigued by what this game can become with some TLC.

Good luck! Looking forward to seeing how this project develops!

Thank you for the review, I'm glad you liked it.

I agree with all cons. I will try to improve these things in the next updates.

thank you

Also thank you.

Here's the link of my playlist for feedback
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ammK7rAx1lY&list=PLf-g3jFokid_mzR8Jhau2Ut_KURR6czuA

Hi, thanks for playing! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Thank you for the detailed exploration, I have seen many bugs that I overlooked. I will try to fix them in the next versions.

Thanks to you, if you join my discord i'll give you a dev role :) we are adding devs content creators and it's becoming a big hub..you are welcome maybe even if u need feedback for future versions of the game :)

I can only repeat what the others said, really well done graphis, audio and especially environment design. I played v00409, so mouse/keyboard controls where totally fine for me. Again, big praise for the game, and if this was done by one person in one month, it's even more impressive.

Now for the parts I didn't like (again, small gripes vs. the overall game):

1) In some places a small ledge is unclimbable/unjumpable. An example is an area to the left of when one enters the big 'open' area (after getting up the tower and finding the first sphere):


This happened in more places, and not necessarily where it would make sense to prevent the player from leaving the area.


2) I played roughly 1.5h and got 6 spheres. I know I'm not the fastest, but the average playtime of 30 min you gave is IMO not a useful measure how long someone new to the game will need. This is an exploration game, I'll look at things and will traverse an area multiple times to make sure I didn't miss an exit, etc. In other words, at least a basic save features would be appropriate. Maybe save which spheres have been found after a sphere is put into the big 'chandelier'.


Again, a great game, but especially point 2 is IMO something that should be tackled. Because redoing the same parts of the game again and again is not fun!


Best regards, and thanks for the really cool game!

(1 edit)

Hi, thanks for playing! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

1) Thanks for reporting the error, I missed this place, cliff should be higher there. I realize that there are more such places, some I could overlook when testing, the rest result from the necessity to limit the map. I think it is better to insert a stone wall than to make the fade out and the text "I have to turn around". In the next major update I will try to reduce the artificiality of barriers.

2) Save options are a bigger task, so I omitted it in the current version, but they are on my to do list. The current version of the game can be completed in less than 10 minutes, if you know where all the orbs and secrets are located.

Thanks for feedback!

This game was amazing and i cannot wait for what happens next.

that being said:

Pros:

  • visually stunning
  • loved the platforming
  • artstyle is amazing
  • main goal was presented early, along with what needed to be gathered.
  • no hud was a good choice
  • outside controls were simple and intuitive

Cons:

  • jumping was bit clunky, i think you go too high for how far you jump
  • inside controls were abyssmal. basically the exact opposite of what was expected

while this is game is a very bare bones one, i think it has wonderful potential between the artstyle and the simple yet addicting exploration, this could be something beautiful.

(1 edit)

Hi, thanks for playing! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I have already fixed player movement in house, and I'm working on next update.

Sweet work, really impressive work. I hope the combat update will make it so we take out those huge spiders. Keep up the awesome dev work! :)

(3 edits) (+1)

Hi, thanks for gameplay! I'm glad you enjoyed it. No fails and deaths - respect! I have already fixed this bug at the end of your video, and player movement in house, and I'm working on next update.

So, this demo absolutely blew me away. It managed to effectively communicate its goals, where to go and what to do simply through level and audio design, consistently rewarded player curiosity with challenges and progression all wrapped up nicely in a gorgeous and huge world. My only real criticisms at this point are that it can be a little difficult to determine if a jump is out of range, but my stubbornness won out on this point, and the indoor control swap was jarring and unintuitive. But both of those were minor issues in an otherwise astounding game that shines in its simplicity and seeming effortlessness. Amazing work, I cannot wait to see the later developments of this title. Even if I have no idea how to pronounce it.

(3 edits)

Hi, thanks for playing!
Interior controls and jumping sections - working on it.  I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for your walktrough, commentary and analysis, it gave me some ideas for further development. About a title - just read it like a word "esoteric" without "ric" (Myst is unfortunately already in use).

(+1)

Wow, absolutely taken aback, stunning game.

-The visual style is incredible, it makes everything look like a painting
-Audio is amazing, the wind in the fields and echo in caves gives the world a living feeling
-The ruins and structures look grand, makes you feel very small compared to the world, in the best way possible
-The atmosphere is spot on, the giant skeletons in the cells, runis and statues all over, once again the audio, the lighting, all of it
-Drawing from both Zelda BotW and the Gothic 1 & 2(Gothic is one of my favorite game series) there is something here not enough games do well, and that is verticality. Using the Z dimension well is something that I always appreciate

Now things that could be improved
-The controls inside the little house were a bit unruly, they pretty much did the exact opposite of what I thought they would, but that sort of fixed camera movement has always been hard to do well
-Though the movement feels good mostly, the jumping is a bit clunky. I kept just missing the ledge to which I was jumping or sliding off object that I thought I should be able to stand on. It would be great do add some sort of mechanic to be able to catch on to ledges that are close enough to you, as well as a "Hang on" mechanic, though I realize that would change the quite a bit.
-I know this is not easy so really it's just a thought, but a map would be nice. Not even a dynamic mini-map, I love the clean "No HUD" look, but maybe like the Gothic games have

This game really gave me a feeling of the old Gothic games, mixed in with a bit of Dark Souls (visually & atmospherically) and Zelda, and I would absolutely love to see more. Are you planning on leaving it as a platformer, or do you have any potential plans of making it more of an RPG (Quests, combat, lore, all that jazz)? If so, cause' of course you'd need funds to do that, I'd love to support any potential campaign you might make.

In any case, great game, fantastic job, 10/10 would do parkour in high-heels again

(1 edit) (+1)

Hi, thanks for playing!

Camera inside house - I agree, I will try to fix it in the next version.

Player movement - I plan to expand movement  system, add climbing, etc. but it will take a little longer time, right now it's just bare bones.

The map (gothic 1 style) is  on my to do list but in later versions.

About game future: this is my hobby project made for fun with no budget, so who knows. I would like to expand it a bit more (simple combat system, very simple quests, some puzzles, lore), but at the same time I want to keep it minimalistic so I will not bury myself in a project that I can not do alone or in a small team. 

Thanks for feedback, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I just finished recording an episode on this, but I can't contain my enthusiasm. This is amazing and I have so many questions.

Hi, Thanks! I like your videos, I can't wait.