What do you get if you mix a bullet-hell shooter with a deck-building game like Slay the Spire? You get One Step from Eden, and it is a revelation.
So much is like Slay the Spire. You have only one life to see how far you can get. You choose cards to add after battle. You choose between different paths to follow. There are bosses, mini-bosses, and things to do other than battle (rescue people, visit the shop, etc). You buy, sell, remove, and upgrade cards. You gain experience which goes towards unlocking new cards and characters. You even progress towards something - Eden in this case, not up a spire.
But at the same time it's incredibly different. In One Step from Eden, you move. You play on a grid - you on one side, enemies on the other - and you need to move around to line up your abilities while dodging what your opponents throw at you.
Take, for instance, your thunderbolt spell. It's really powerful and crashes down four spaces in front of you, but if your enemy isn't there, it won't hurt them - it will be a wasted attack, and you'll have to wait for it to shuffle back around to try again.
Abilities are hot-keyed to Q and P and E, and they automatically change after you've used them, cycling in other abilities from your deck to use. Once you've used them all, they shuffle, or you can force a shuffle by pressing spacebar. It sounds confusing and it is - to begin with.
But once you learn what things do, once you begin to look up from your hotbar, that's when the magic happens. That's when you begin deliberately doing things and conjuring strategies on the fly, depending on what your enemy is doing and where they are.
If they're hiding at the back, maybe a row of fire will smoke them out, or maybe a poison wall because it attacks the back row and pushes enemies forward. Eden has a lot of movement-affecting abilities. You can hold people in place and freeze them; you can make tiles impassable, you can push and pull. Movement is a central part of the game. You've got to keep moving.
You've got to keep moving because on the left-hand side of the screen, where you are, you'll be under a constant barrage of attacks. Just like in a bullet-hell shooter, there will be bombing patterns to avoid, beams and projectiles to sidestep, and when you get to them, more advanced boss patterns to learn. They're tough nuts to crack, the bosses (they're also the characters you'll later unlock to play as).
It's tough to begin with, like I say - a lot to take in. But in an hour or two it will seem different, I promise. Try sticking to Phalanx and Misery abilities to begin with, which generally shield and heal you, and ignore the others. This really helped me; it was a golden piece of advice from a friend. Then once you find your feet, mix it up. Experiment with combos, play around - get into the meat of it, in other words.
One Step from Eden is a dazzling burst of energy in the deck-building Slay the Spire genre. It's slick, it's gorgeous and destined for big things.