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EarthNight Preview: Rhythm & Run

/ Oct 18th, 2017 No Comments

EarthNight Preview

The line between an indie game and a big studio game is becoming finer. What largely separates the two types now is the size of the team involved; it certainly isn’t the time involved in making the project. Indie games just happen not to be afforded the luxury of secrecy. Indie developers need to get the word out early and continually build excitement by showing off the game they’re pouring their lives into to keep people excited.

There is scrutiny with visibility. Gamers treat indie games like trivialities, ignoring the hard work and sacrifice that goes into making these games. It is a good thing that people want to play these games, but with such an ease of contact with indie developers, the desire to play can be seen as derision.

EarthNight has been hotly anticipated since Cleaversoft first showed off the game. Between its smooth gameplay and gorgeous graphics, gamers have been eager to get their hands on it. Once you do, you’ll be treated to a delicate dance of running, jumping and anchoring as you try to slay dragons.


Many have posited apocalyptic scenarios since we could fathom our own destruction. Whether it was God’s divine intervention or our own worst impulses and baser nature that lead to it, we’ve been fascinated by how the world will end.

None of us predicted dragons. Yet, here we are. Dragons have taken over the Earth and humans have fled to space with little hope, except for a 14-year-old girl and a freelance photographer, Sydney and Stanley.

EarthNight Preview

Jumping and anchoring are essential skills you need to master levels.

Since there is no government or military left, Sydney and Stanley embark on a terrifying journey to destroy the dragons and make it planet side. Will these two be enough to keep humanity going? More than that, can they possibly save the Earth?

Running with the Dragons

Whether you play as Sydney or Stanley, your run always begins in space, where you take that first leap on your journey back to Earth.

Stanley is perfect for beginners. Advanced users may want to take advantage of Sydney’s double jump, but it requires precise timing.

Regardless of your skillset or who you choose, as you dive through the sky, you must hitch a ride on the back of a dragon to further your trek. This is where things get interesting.

EarthNight Preview

Running is the quintessential skill for EarthNight, but running alone won’t allow you to slay a dragon.

Every run is a test in reflexes and skills. Whether you prevail depends on whether you can master the game’s relatively simple mechanics of running, jumping and anchoring. EarthNight is an endless runner, so you’ll be constantly on the run. Where skill comes in is in how you choose to jump and anchor.

Jumping allows you to avoid the rush of creatures living on a dragon’s back that aim to stop you from your goal of slaying the dragon. You can avoid them or stomp on their heads to kill them and gain some momentum.

Anchoring takes you back down to the ground to regain your footing and plot your next jump. While the surface is inviting, the real exciting stuff is above the dragon’s back. The majority of the level design in EarthNight is contained above the dragon’s back. Only by smartly jumping and anchoring will you be able to ascend to the greatest heights waiting tantalizingly above.

Staying off the ground also helps aid in helping find secret power-ups and the three dragon eggs hidden in each level. Finding these power-ups unlocks them for the rest of the game. Gathering the dragon eggs improves your attack power making your goal of slaying the dragon much more successful.

EarthNight Preview

If you’re timing is good, you’ll make it to the end of the level where you can slay the dragon.

EarthNight is a difficult game to master. It takes several runs before you can say you mastered the basics, and much more time before you can explore the neglected heights of the game. It is like a symphony in many ways with your jumping and anchoring acting as punctuating notes of the underlying dirge of running.

Like any rougelite, EarthNight challenges you to try again after defeat, to keep besting your previous run by trying to gain all three dragon eggs or unlock new power-ups. It has the addictiveness necessary to make you continually come back and try harder.

Skies Full of Dragons

One of the cool aspects of EarthNight is its hub world. It is a sky full of dragons. You select the dragon you want to slay by falling through the sky and dropping down on its back.

The different color of each dragon determines its difficulty. Black dragons are the toughest ones to slay. To beat these dragons requires a lot of skill and a solid understanding of the game mechanics.

EarthNight Preview

You literally dive out of the sky and land on top of the dragon you want to kill.

Procedural generation has gotten a bad wrap recently because it has become synonymous with not being hand-crafted. EarthNight’s levels are procedurally generated, but don’t lack for being hand-crafted.

Every run you make in EarthNight will be different, but that doesn’t mean the levels are thrown together. Rather, each level is partially procedural. Hand-crafted sections are stitched together in unique ways to create a different experience each time you play.


EarthNight has been a project of passions for the last five years for Cleaversoft. Between working day jobs and showing it off at tons of cons, there has been a meticulousness to finishing this beautiful, hand-painted game.

While it isn’t quite done, it is closer than it has ever been to coming out. There is truth to patience being rewarded. When EarthNight finally comes out it’ll have been well worth the wait.


Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs

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