Koji is a loyal owl friend. So loyal that they’ll let you huck them into your enemy’s face. Way more useful than a certain avian friend some of you may remember.
A nasty deity has kidnapped Ichiro, and you and your owl pal are having none of it in Eagle Island. Not that I knew much of that going into the game at Pax East 2019, and I didn’t really have to. It was enough that I could hurl an owl at my enemies to hurt them. Forget guns or swords – an owl that works like a living Metal Blade is the best of weapons.
You can hurl Koji in eight directions, and they’re more than happy to clobber anything they make contact with. The thing is, you need to wait a moment for Koji to recover from a hit, which means there’ll be no attack spamming. You need to be sure of your shot as you wait for your buddy to get their bearings again. It’s not a long wait, but it’s enough that you want to be sure of your shot.
Well, there are workarounds. You can pick up various perk abilities that can adjust aspects of your health, grant you abilities, or adjust how Koji works (like letting you rapidly toss the poor bird, dealing with the aforementioned problem). There were a bunch of these already in the demo, allowing me to customize my aggressive (and clumsy) play style to better suit my skills. Thing is, these objects break after a time, so don’t expect to settle into one play style and wreck the game.
Eagle Island is also procedurally generated, so again, don’t expect to know exactly what to do when going in. You’ll have to deal with whatever situations and useful items show up on your run. It adds a nice replayability to things. Also, if the roguelike elements sound like a turn-off, there is a story mode that makes death a little bit easier to deal with.
The Pax East demo let me get a feel for fighting with Koji, which was instantly appealing. The customizability, the slight delay in attacking, and the flexibility in aiming the bird made each encounter quite satisfying, yet challenging. It didn’t hurt that the world is lush and bright, with many striking visual flourishes to movement and characters/enemies that gave the world a playful feeling. It’s definitely a place I’d like to explore more of in the future.