Call your game a runner and immediately one thinks of sleep deprived middle-aged men tapping away at their phones in the middle of a bus ride.
And so Cleaversoft seems to have gone to great lengths to make EarthNight set itself apart within the genre to the point that, after some five years, it’s now more rapid action platformer than anything.
It’s sliced up dragons into chunks; no, not for a Cantonese soup silly, but to give you near endless variations on what could potentially be your most meticulous runner experience yet. It’s the dragon apocalypse and with mankind exiled into space, one photographer and another 14-year old student are all we have in terms of military might.
So Stanley and Sydney opt to open the hatch, skydive back to earth and rip every flying serpent they meet en route to its surface. Yes, EarthNight does have an end level despite being a runner, and it’s called EarthNight.
There are six lovely hand-painted levels of atmosphere in between, and the skydiving sequences previewed in the trailer serve as level selects; players pick one of 17 dragons, run across their backs battling with more than 40 enemy types from tail to head in 2D side-scrolling fashion, before moving on to the next if victorious.
Each dragon is divided into three segments of an end, middle and front of five variations each that are procedurally spawned. I don’t know how good your math is, but that makes for 125 possible variations for each dragon and a total of nearly endless level-variations across the entire game.
The mechanics are far from blatant run and jump as well; there’s speed control, anchoring, stomping, power ups in the vein of vicious weapons and even scraps to collect – the last of which you may take back to your ship to trade with a very Jabba The Hutt like goon.
Neither do Stanley and Sydney feel the same, the former being geared towards beginners while the latter boasts of potent run-and-dash abilities, while the game progressively grows in speed to the point where you’ll barely have time to stop for a snack at its end.
EarthNight’s coming to the PlayStation 4 first early next year, and yet its Steam page is barely a couple of hours old at the time of writing this article. A closed beta begins in a few weeks for which you may express interest right about now as per this thread.