Eastward is a new RPG adventure from Chinese indie studio Pixpil.

You play as a hardworking digger named John (who kinda looks like Joel from The Last of Us), who discovers a mysterious young girl in a secret facility underneath a dig site.

John and Sam leave the quiet village and make their way through a decaying world filled with monsters and a “quirky cast of characters.”

After being exiled from his village, John must guide this girl through dangerous decaying cities, inhabited by hordes of monsters and a quirky cast of characters!”

You can immediately tell Eastward’s version of the not-too-distant future isn’t a very cheery one, thanks to the post-apocalyptic pixel design. The studio mentions the visual style is inspired by 90s Japanese animation, but that’s not the Japanese inspiration ends.

The gameplay is heavily inspired by classic games like The Legend of Zelda and Earthbound. True to its source of inspiration, this JRPG tells an emotional, “soft sci-fi” story.

For those of you who are interested in what goes on behind the scenes, the official release statement by publisher Chucklefish Games provides some intriguing information.

Apparently, Eastward is built on a completely original engine, developed in-house by Pixpil. That’s pretty impressive for a studio that started from three people in 2015.

The indie developer is a little bigger now, having recruited a few more people. Among them is composer Joel Corelitz, who did work on Hohokum, The Unfinished Swan, and Gorogoa.

I’m not usually a fan of JRPGs, but Eastward looks different than most. I mean, you can clearly see the old-school inspiration, but the animations, character design and real-time combat help the game feel more modern, which I really appreciate.

If the trailer and the screenshots have piqued your interest (like it did mine), you can follow development on the game’s website or official Twitter account.

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