Eon


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Rating: 4/5 (89 votes)
| Comments (15) | Views (12)

KyleEonIn the space themed puzzle game Eon by Fucrate (Michael Boxleiter), you take on the role of a daring, exciting, dashing... um, space miner. Okay, maybe it doesn't sound too daring or exciting, even if you do manage to cast Bruce Willis in the lead role (which isn't the case here), but Eon does manage to provide a beautiful puzzle experience that is as elegant in its technical design as it is in its pixelated visuals.

Your mission is a seemingly simple one. You must harvest the unnamed matter from gas planets, siphoning the colorful "stuff" (that's the technical term for it by the way) from the planet's atmosphere and directing it into the same colored energy absorbers placed about the star field. This is accomplished by placing a limited number of gravity wells on the board and moving them about as necessary until you are able to maintain at full capacity all of the absorbers in the level.

Like I said, it sounds simple, but as you soon learn, this can be trickier than it sounds. Long distances require a high level of accuracy, while multiple streams will force you to make delicate adjustments. Sometimes the trick is manipulating one stream without hindering the path of other streams, but more often than not you will need to get multiple streams to act in concert even while going in opposing directions. Further, as you progress you will also have to contend with the massive gravitational pull of black holes as well as cope with melding the matter from differently colored planets through mixers to make completely new streams of stuff that also need to be shepherded to their rightful places.

You'll cultivate and employ your gravity manipulating abilities over the course of twenty-seven progressively challenging levels. If that's not enough for you, don't worry; a level editor and unlimited user generated content await all who simply can't put this game down.

EonAnalysis: You can't really talk about Eon without doing so in the context of the popular Auditorium with which Eon is uncannily similar. Both games are about indirectly manipulating the direction of flow. You aren't allowed to directly guide the subject matter, so instead you must operate the tools that in turn manipulate the subject matter.

Where Eon and Auditorium differ is in the nature of the supplied tools. Auditorium grants you a variety of tools that have a direct impact on the streams you wish to control. Eon, on the other hand, only offers you one type of tool and it effects not merely the streams but the very nature of the playing field itself. Every adjustment of a gravity well minutely shifts the physics of the entire board and all the matter in play. Thus Eon is at once simpler and potentially more complex than its spiritual cousin. Simpler in providing only one tool, but more complex in the implications of that tool on the playing field as a whole.

Thankfully, what Eon also has in common with Auditorium is a wonderful grace. This is because the very nature of playing Eon is a practice in organics and ergonomics. There is something exquisite behind a puzzle concept where your role is not to manhandle the pieces on the board so much as to coax and nudge, to guide and cultivate. It is like a digital bonsai tree; you clip and prune around the edges and let the puzzle solve itself, and while this might imply a lack of control it in fact gives the game a wonderfully natural feel.

The visuals support this inner elegance with a beautiful dichotomy of their own. Like many flash games, you are treated to big and blocky pixels, but the true aesthetic triumph here is how they move with such fluidity. Eon busts through a contradiction by taking the hard, sharp lines of squares and through motion giving them curves and flexibility. The downside to this kind of puzzle is that there's no such thing as a specific solution. You can often have the general shape of a level's solution but could spend seemingly forever making minor adjustments, sometimes to no avail. As a result, especially when you get on in the game, a good measure of patience is practically a necessity.

What makes Eon such a pleasure to enjoy is watching everything come together. Like a conductor overseeing an orchestra, you use your baton-like mouse to govern the forces of gravity, and when you have finally managed to guide all the streams correctly to their specific absorbers the symbiosis between mechanics and aesthetics fall into harmonic place.

Play Eon

15 Comments

stargate525 February 26, 2010 12:44 PM

Grargh, another one at newgrounds. That's blocked at my college, dangit!

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The gravity doesn't feel right at all. There's a range limit to it and it feels like they used a linear force instead of a second order.

The "par" scores can rarely be achieved even by the 10th try, as tiny variations effect everything.

It's neither intuitive nor forgiving, I didn't like it.

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Stuck at 14, but I'll get back to it...

While the gravity does seem a bit weird, I don't think it affects the puzzle-solving aspect of the game.

My only quibble was that an explosion at the end of each level seemed out of place with the relaxing nature of the gameplay.

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How can there be a par 0 for number of wells used? That's just silly.

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Blade Runner ambience + gravity/orbit simulation perfect match!

Too bad gravity feels unnatural for a gravity/orbit simulation fan it feels really weird.

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Newgrounds. Rating-g. In no way. Just in no way. Warning: the following link contains offensive words including the f-word.

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2lbckg3&s=6

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@raddaya
Admittedly, you do have AdBlock on, which JIG is in no way responsible for. That's kinda like complaining about getting hurt on a Unicycle, while riding it blindfolded.

Regarding Eon:
It looks pretty, but while Auditorium felt like you could explore and work your way through the levels, by the third level I felt like I was just guessing in Eon. Because you had to control starting point of the stream or streams, there are just too many options.

I guess I just want a little guidance at the beginning of a level.

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Firomactal February 27, 2010 8:50 AM

@OverZealous (/ raddaya)

On the contrary, I think it's more like riding a unicycle with a helmet and then hitting a piece of tripwire someone deliberately strung across the road so they could watch people with helmets fall over backwards and laugh at them.

Newgrounds is particularly hostile in this regard. I would not be averse to entirely excluding Newgrounds from JIG for this reason alone, but I make no illusion that my opinion is worth any more than vanishingly little given my lack of domain knowledge.

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I agree with you Firo. I wish there was a way to PM Jay or something haha. I think that it should be Rating-O/R with a warning written in bold letters about using adblock.

OverZealous...why on earth should I not use an adblock? Thats like saying oops you got a cold but you stayed out in public it's your fault totally.

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Sorry, but I'm with Newgrounds on this one. You're not going to get much sympathy from me using adblockers, since many Web sites (including JIG) exist only due to advertising. If everyone used adblock, then you wouldn't be visiting JIG right now.

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About Eon, nice graphics, very fitting soundtrack, horrible physics...
The force generated by a well is strongest right at the edge of its "working radius"

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I can't even figure out level 2
there is absolutely no learning curve to this game, and the physics are just bizarre. The game makes it very hard to move forward

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This game doesn't work for me. In it's place, I see dark colored blotches of gray with a few green and blue highlights. I can't find anything that reacts to clicks.

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Keep.One.Step.Ahead Author Profile Page March 1, 2010 7:22 PM

I actually found this game very rewarding and relaxing. Yes, it's a bit much to get par, but there's no penalty for taking your time. The gravity is a little off, but it's consistent throughout the game, so you get used to the way works.

I think the king here is clearly the presentation. What could have otherwise been muddied up with a lot of bells and whistles is clean and minimal. The music is perfect.

This game is a grower for sure, but I think a lot of people who at first disliked it might find themselves mysteriously drawn back in.

As for the adblock thing, I don't use adblock myself. I think non-intrusive advertising is fine, but let's make no mistake that many advertisers don't play by the "rules." I've encountered a lot of banner ads that make noise and needlessly pop out onto the screen. I know that it's really up to the owners of sites to make the decision about what ad is intrusive, but people just get sick and tired of it.

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i guess none of you figured out that you can DRAG the gravity wells.. i got below par or par on every single level

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