A mysterious first-person adventure.
Eclipse: Edge of Light is the type of game more aptly referred to as an experience. Its more traditional game mechanics mostly take a back seat in favor of visual storytelling, eerily beautiful ambiance, and a quiet sense of mystery. While this VR game turned portable journey may step on its own toes occasionally, the net experience is a short but engrossing adventure.
You awaken on a strange planet, with absolutely no backstory for who you are or where you came from. The only option before you is to move forward and slowly piece together the world around you through scanning objects in your environment. Eclipse is played in first person and while the structure is by no means metroidvania, it almost certainly takes influence from Metroid Prime. Fans of exploring and scanning will find plenty to satisfy that particular urge here. Beyond scanning, your only other special abilities are a small spherical artifact you carry with you and a jetpack for doing some very casual platforming. The artifact can be thrown to break pots and certain walls and will also transform into platforms when thrown against certain surfaces. As the story progresses, the artifact will have its own history revealed and gain a few more functions. That's about it for traditional gameplay. This is not a difficult game; it’s more about taking your time and seeing all there is to see than surmounting a tough challenge.
Eclipse was originally released as a VR game, and a few oddities from its origins bleed through into the Switch version. Most of these, such as your character being nothing more than two floating arms, don’t really affect gameplay. Unfortunately, there is one area that may hamper your experience just a little: your character moves incredibly slowly. When exploring some of the more expansive areas, the movement speed can start to get a little infuriating. This also applies to your jump and fall speed, making the whole game feel a bit like its underwater. One could make the argument that you’re on a different planet with a weaker gravitational pull, but everything else you encounter moves normally. It makes sense in the context of VR where a developer may wish to avoid motion sickness, but on Switch it's ultimately just annoying. While by no means a deal breaker, the one other oddity worth bringing up is that Eclipse does not support the Switch Pro Controller. It can only be played using the Joy Cons despite using none of their unique features.
Visually, Eclipse has solid art direction that works out most of the time. The world is presented as somewhat abstract and low poly. Occasionally, this can veer from artistic into just looking bland, but the majority of the time the art is effective. Despite the low poly nature of the visuals, I did encounter minor frame rate issues throughout the experience. Plenty of people will never notice them, but for those sensitive to frame drops, it’s worth mentioning. On the audio front, however, Eclipse is a consistent and unrelenting knockout. The music knows just when to make that subtle shift from vague ambiance to something a bit more intentional. Every emotional hit is highlighted with a perfect yet consistently subdued musical wave that compliments the world of Eclipse perfectly.
Eclipse: Edge of Light is a very engaging story that I found myself more attached to than I was expecting. Though it only lasts a few hours, that time yields a rich experience. I do wish there was more to it, but what is here is solid. While the Switch version perhaps carries a bit too much of the original release with it in terms of design choices made for VR, the core adventure will still be rewarding for those who are patient.