It’s not often a game begins right after your character has just been murdered. In the demo for Of Love and Eternity, a “stylistic dark fantasy horror adventure” that appeared on Steam earlier this month, players see their character floating aimlessly in a cosmic void of nebulous gas giants and stars before awakening, screaming, in the desiccated husk of their mortal shell. It’s a hell of a first impression, the kind that’s only bolstered by the evident care put into its visuals and setting.
Created by São Paulo-based game developer Winston Powell, who goes by the name Acorn Bringer, Of Love and Eternity is a third-person action-horror game with a palpable melancholic atmosphere. Players assume the role of an undead knight who, after being slain by a tyrannical king and resurrected in a dungeon-like crypt in a purgatorial forest, learns that his beloved is lost somewhere else in this realm. With nothing save a suit of armor and the burning azure light of his own soul to guide the way, the knight ventures into the dark wilderness of this world on a quest to reunite with her.
The demo spans the first act of the game and can be completed in roughly 15 to 20 minutes. I spent most of my time wandering through the winding trails of a rainy, autumnal forest with only the flickering light in my character’s chest and an occasional strobing flash of ominous red energy to signal my path forward.
What immediately caught my attention is just how damn good the game looks; the art style and environments conjure comparisons to the likes of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice by way of 2000’s Vagrant Story. The tone of the game’s expository dialogue and overall world feels akin to something along the lines of David Lowery’s The Green Knight, a dark and lavishly detailed experience that emphasizes exploration and introspection over action or combat. The aforementioned lighting of Of Love and Eternity is one of the game’s strongest aspects — it also reminds me of Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy in terms of its ethereal qualities, as well as the florid ambigram-like design of the game’s logo.
You’ll wander through the forest, discover new passageways, collect lightning bugs in your empty lantern in order to bypass swaths of moths that block your way, and search for a place to rest as you acclimate to the strange horrors of your new surroundings. Of Love and Eternity’s Steam page promises that players will encounter other beings on their journey, both benign and malicious, and that they will have to choose to aid, ignore, or fight as they explore every nook and cranny.
Of Love and Eternity has no release date at this time, but development is ongoing — Powell is regularly releasing updates on the game’s progress on his Patreon page. The game’s world feels possessed by an aura of foreboding, a dark forest brimming with even darker secrets. It’s exactly the kind of setting that I, as a player, can’t wait to get lost in.