Eidolon

I traverse vales and hills, nursing an infected bobcat-inflicted wound and I am close to passing out. I'm finding it hard to keep down the handfuls of blackberries that I am eating to keep starvation at bay, and I'm so tired that I can't run anymore. I decide to light a fire, close my eyes and hope I feel better in the morning.

It works, for now. The wound is still infected but I feel a lot better, and can eat. In hindsight it was probably a mistake to take on a bobcat with a bow, especially as I'd only previously managed to kill a fox and startle a couple of deer. Finishing off the last of my blackberries, I set out once again into the forest.

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A nomad in a Washington long reclaimed by nature, I pass my time collecting the journals of the lost, piecing together the stories of a civilisation that came before.

Welcome to Eidolon. Described as a 'nomad simulator' by the developers Ice Water Games, the world is presented with very little fanfare. You open your eyes, and stare out into the world as if newly born. You carry with you only an empty journal and a cryptic device that seems to offer little more than a record of your health status.

A few other basic tools can be collected from around the environment. You can fish, hunt, use a compass and binoculars. Foraging for berries and mushrooms will keep you alive when you are far from a lake. Everything else is up to you. There are no instructions or waypoint markers. You set out into the wild, and make your own story.

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The aim of Eidolon, if it can be called an aim, is to collect scraps of journals abandoned by the inhabitants of the area before whatever fate befell them came to pass. Collecting these stories means crossing vast swathes of western Washington that has been taken over by nature. Vast forests, lakes, and hills take the place of the city, although there are some scattered remnants, barely recognisable, hidden throughout the land. The stories themselves are varied, some connected, others not, and together they will give you an idea of what happened before you awoke.

The game presents the world wonderfully. A forest at night, with only a small campfire and a sky full of stars is both beautiful and melancholy, while running carefree along a lake shore in the early morning mist fills you with hope. It is possible to surprise a flock of birds resting in a bush, discover a half submerged pylon in a forest lake or see a deer scampering down a ruined highway.

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All the while, Michael Bell's elegantly simple music fades in and out, and varies depending on the area that you are in. Haunting fingerpicked guitar, violins or feedback driven electric guitar serves to accentuate the wonder of the environment.

I have played the game for quite a few hours now, and I am happy to just wander around, taking screenshots of lovely moments, and trying to discover more about the story. It's been a while since a game with no pressing objective has drawn me in quite as much as this game, and really, I don't want it to end.

If you fancy losing yourself in a desolate but beautiful exploration game, Eidolon is perfect way to do it.

You can pick it up here or here.