We had a chance to check out a pre-Alpha build of The Land of Eyas, courtesy of developer Happy Square Productions. After several hours of slobbering over the fantastic art style, solving gravity-based platforming puzzles and doing a not-so-good job of avoiding hazards, I absolutely cannot wait for an official release. But you see, that’s where you come in!
Part Where the Wild Things Are, part Super Meat Boy and part mind-bending gravity platform puzzle, The Land of Eyas is the creation of indie developer Happy Square Productions. It’s currently seeking funding through their Kickstarter page as well as trying to gain momentum through Steam Greenlight, so if you’d like to lend a hand with making this project a reality, those are two good places to start. You can also check in with Happy Square Productions on Twitter @mdkiehl and @HappySquareProd, so any questions you have you can toss them their way.
So what is The Land of Eyas about?
You play as Eyas, a cat-suit wearing little boy who is trapped in a world with two opposing gravities. Being guided by tree wisps, your task is to overcome various gravity-based platforming puzzles to navigate maze-like zones and collect “annuli”; golden shards that reveal secrets and expand the worlds in The Land of Eyas.
I know I keep tossing around the term “gravity-based“, so let me explain how that all works. The Land of Eyas is split with the top half of the level having normal, downward gravity, while the bottom half has an opposing upward gravity. So where platforming may seem straightforward in other games, The Land of Eyas forces you to think outside of the box in terms of puzzle solutions and planning out how to reach your objectives. If you’re still confused, this image from their Kickstarter page sums it up perfectly.
The first thing I noticed with The Land of Eyas was its gorgeous art-style, courtesy of Matthew Kiehl. I love the graphical approach that Happy Square is going for, mixing the level design of Fez with Kiehl’s own unique art style that really shines through in the tree wisps and various designs throughout the game. The platforming brings back fond memories of dying repeatedly in Super Meat Boy, and is also similar to, although not as chaotic and random as, Cloudberry Kingdom. The Land of Eyas definitely presents a world that I can’t wait to explore with a full release, especially on a console.
We got to check out the pre-Alpha PC build, but the official website does mention an Xbox Live Arcade release (although doesn’t specify Xbox 360 or Xbox One). Navigating the world with a keyboard took a little getting used to, but became easily manageable after playing through a few zones. I’m sure it offers controller support, but I wanted to check it out how it was presented to me in-game. A game that requires this much precision will definitely benefit from an Xbox controller (or the PC controller of your choice), but if you’re stuck using a keyboard it’ll just take a little practice.
Since we’re just working with a pre-Alpha build, we were informed that it would be missing major story elements and certain game mechanics, but what we did get to taste we found to be pretty damn delicious.
Graphically, I’m impressed with the level and character design so far, although I hope the final version has a little more polish within the earlier level’s textures. While I was really in to the design of the main level hub, some of the earlier levels are just a tad bland, although their designs were great and really eased me in to the gravity-based puzzle mechanics.
Here is some actual gameplay footage featuring a walk-through done by the game’s programmer, Stephen Hoskins. This gives you a much better feel for the gravity-based platforming and Super Meat Boy comparisons.
Eyas, the main character, has a memorable design courtesy of Mac Kerman — a professional animator who you may know from his work on The Black Panther, Motorcity and Superjail. You can check out some of his personal work over at his YouTube channel, but so far his animation in The Land of Eyas is coming along swimmingly.
One thing that caught me off guard with The Land of Eyas was the soundtrack. I played the pre-alpha for a few hours and found myself whistling the level theme later in the day while I was at the store. I even caught myself humming along with the music while I was tabbed out, chatting about the game with Mileson over Facebook. It immersed me a little more in to the world and I can’t wait to see where the finished product goes musically.
Overall, I think it’s safe to say that we both enjoyed our time with the pre-Alpha version of The Land of Eyas. So far it effectively combines classic platforming, a rock solid artistic foundation, a memorable character and a world that I can’t wait to explore in the full release.
If you’d like to learn more about The Land of Eyas, check out the links below!
- The Land of Eyas Official Website
- The Land of Eyas on Steam Greenlight, so go vote for them!
- Their official Kickstarter page
- Programmer Stephen Hoskins’ YouTube channel, featuring level walkthroughs
- Character animator Mac Kerman’s YouTube channel
- Artist Matt Kiehl’s YouTube channel and official blog, featuring lots of artwork used inside of the game itself
Bradley Keene is an avid gamer & freelance blogger from Baltimore, MD who typically handles news and reviews here at What’s Your Tag?. If he’s not knee-deep in an RPG or some form of Nintendo game, he’s usually watching terrible horror films or listening to Gwar. Follow him on Twitter @amgfail_WYT, or contact him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bradley and Mileson, thanks so much for your feedback!
No problem at all! Thanks for giving us the opportunity to check it out! We’re definitely looking forward to the official release.
No problem at all. I really enjoyed the concept and artwork in Land of Eyas and really look forward to one day playing a finished copy.
Holy smokes! This is the best review ever! Thank you guys! I’m posting this as an update on our Kickstarter page! =D
Wow, I’m glad you liked it so much haha. I had a blast with the pre-alpha and wanted to go in to as much depth as possible to help spread the word. I really can’t wait to check out the final version at some point. Good luck to everyone there working on it and congrats on passing 20% funding the other day.
Many many thanks! We’ll make sure that we do not disappoint! =)
Keep us posted when you toss the link on to your Kickstarter page, that way we can make another post redirecting people your way.
Reblogged this on Matthew D. Kiehl and commented:
This is one of the best reviews of our video game Project: “The Land of Eyas” – Currently on Kickstarter- http://kck.st/OGdgZD