You may know Lucas Molina from the artsy simulation Avant-Garde, but his latest game Eastward Quest is an entirely different beast in every possible way. Part arcade game, part RPG, you control a stalwart pixel hero rushing East and dealing with monsters along the way. Use the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to move around the field and charge into enemies to kill them and get experience points for leveling up, but since doing so damages you, you need to grab food and hearts to heal. You'll also find coins you can spend on upgrades between levels, and since these are the only things that persist on your character (any levels earned during stages are reset between them, so you start from level one again), you'll want to make good use of them.
Simple, right? Right! If ever a game belonged in an arcade cabinet somewhere, Eastward Quest fits the bill perfectly. It's addictive in a very casual sort of way, and its difficulty curve continues tossing in just enough new elements in each stage, like moving enemies, status ailments, and pitfalls, to keep you on your toes. After a certain point, grinding definitely becomes a factor as you have to balance being able to dodge the thick-and-fast incoming obstacles with gaining enough levels for when the monsters get stronger and more numerous in comparison to healing items. It makes for a pleasant little bit of strategy in an otherwise straightforward game, and combined with the unique areas, music, and monsters, makes for a pleasant little arcade game to fill your spare time.
Thanks to Javier for sending this one in!