That whole Covid-19 pandemic really was a bitch, eh? Edengate: The Edge of Life from developer and publisher Hook is a title that uses that whole pandemic as a major influence to tell its story. That’s all well and good, but does a worldwide killer virus make for a good video game?
“Mia Lorenson, wakes up in an abandoned hospital full of questions. What happened to her? What happened to the world? Edengate: The Edge of Life is an interactive experience reflecting on feelings of uncertainty, isolation and hope in the face of devastation.”
While not based directly on Covid-19, the many deaths, lockdowns, isolation and everything else, Edengate: The Edge of Life is clearly inspired by it. You get that feeling from the opening few minutes but just in case you missed that, the end credits certainly make it very clear. So, what is Edengate: The Edge of Life all about then?
You play as Mia Lorenson who wakes up in a hospital suffering from amnesia. The hospital is completely empty and not a single soul in sight. With no idea who you are or what has happened to everyone, you set out to learn exactly who you are and why everyone has disappeared. Essentially, Edengate: The Edge of Life is one of them there walking simulators. You know the genre, you walk and have some very slight interactions with the world. I’ve never really liked the genre myself and of the various walking simulators that I have played, I can probably name only one that I genuinely enjoyed. What Remains of Edith Finch.
The problem that I have with the walking simulator genre is that the gameplay is so light, that the thrust of the titles rely on the story and characters to keep you interested. If the game doesn’t have a strong narrative, there’s really little point in playing because the gameplay is pretty much non-existent. Unfortunately, Edengate: The Edge of Life is one of those games. The story here is instantly forgettable and I don’t mean by the time you reach the end credits, I mean as you play. There are items can find to flesh out the backstory, not that it helps any. The story here is just so trite and bland that I lost interest by about 20 minutes in.
The gameplay here is also pretty pointless. This is a walking simulator and, as I already mentioned, they’re not known for their depth of gameplay. But, with Edengate: The Edge of Life, the gameplay is stripped back even more so. There are puzzles here but they are completely redundant as the game tells you how to solve them, even if you don’t want it to. As an example, an early puzzle had me having to use a periodic element table. Now, I had already worked out what I need to do. However, Mia, the character you play as, suddenly starts talking to herself and directly spells out how to solve the puzzle anyway. From a gameplay point of view, that makes no sense. What is the point of having puzzles in a game if the main character is going to tell you, the player, how to solve them?
Another ‘puzzle’ had me operating a film projector. There were plenty of buttons to press but you had to press them in the right order. Do you know how I worked out which buttons to press and when? Did I have to use clever deduction, did I have to piece together a series of clues? Nope, there are instructions literally inches away from the projector on how to turn it on. Again, what’s the point? There are parts where you have to drag a dumpster in place, so you can climb higher. As soon as you touch the dumpster, there’s a highlight that tells you exactly where you need to place the dumpster. This is a major issue with Edengate: The Edge of Life, everything is signposted and there is so much handholding that it renders the very little gameplay here completely pointless.
Edengate: The Edge of Life is a short title, I didn’t time myself but I don’t think I spend more than 2 hours playing before I saw the end credits. Still, the shortness of the game is reflected in its price of £6. As I already said, I’m not much of a fan of these walking simulator titles as they lack any real gameplay. Even so, this is easily the most gameplay-redundant walking simulator that I have played. If you’re a fan of this genre, you may get a bit more out of this than I did. Otherwise, if you’re curious, just watch a playthrough on YouTube and save yourself £6. Still, the graphics and voice acting are good.