EDENGATE: The Edge of Life Review (Xbox One)

EDENGATE: The Edge of Life Review: That Funny Feeling



Playing EDENGATE: The Edge of Life feels eerie after nearly three years of living in a global pandemic. Mia Lorenson wakes up alone in an empty hospital, barely remembering who she is. As you wander around, there are signs something happened here. Corridors are blocked off, things seem in disarray, and soon you start seeing some awfully strange things. We’ve all seen this one before, though I promise this time, there are no zombies. While it’s an old setup, something about seeing it in 2022 hits a little different.


Walking Along



Once you start moving around the hospital, you’ll find that EDENGATE is about as generic a walking simulator as you could hope to find, at least in its mechanics. For most of its run time, you’ll simply walk around, now and then, finding something you can interact with. Various items provide hints at what might have happened here, while others help to trigger Mia’s memory and help her remember things about herself and those around her. Eventually, you’ll move beyond the hospital, but the gameplay loop doesn’t really change.

In a longer game, that would be a problem, but most players will complete EDENGATE in under two hours. This isn’t a long title, and while there are some relatively easy achievements you might go back to grab, it’s a linear one as well, so there’s little reason to replay it. The question then becomes if the few dollars the game costs is worth it for a short, one-time experience.


Worth Your Time?



I wish I had a more definitive answer to give, but I’m firmly in the maybe camp. EDENGATE features strong atmosphere as the abandoned areas you move through are interesting and look relatively decent, albeit far from impressive. While things are frequently spooky and eventually get quite weird, this isn’t a horror game, and while it will put players on edge, nothing is going to jump out at you. The brief voice acting is solid enough, and the more I learned about Mia, the more I liked her. While I didn’t find the ending of her story entirely satisfying, I enjoyed seeing it play out.

To do that, though, you’ll actually have to play the game. If that were just the walking, I’d be mostly fine with that. Mia moves well enough, and though I wish her run speed was a little faster, keeping her at the pace, she has allowed me to fully explore the environment as I went. There are lots of neat things to find sprinkled throughout the levels, which you can revisit in a gallery if you choose.


Finding Your Way



Now and then, though, EDENGATE decides it wants to be more of a traditional game, and that’s rarely a good thing. This really only comes in the form of puzzles, but still, these tend to have issues. Several times for, you’ll be asked to move carts around to solve situations or provide you with a path to climb onto something else and while the game usually shows you right where you need to move the cart, doing so feels terrible. Several times you have to move them into or through tight spaces, and the erratic controls make that a pain. Other puzzles involve basic switch puzzles with the solutions freely provided within the game, usually a room or two over, and figuring out the code to open various doors, which would be more interesting if the game didn’t again telegraph the answers so hard. Inserting a bit of puzzle solving into your walking simulator isn’t a bad thing, but it feels rather pointless when the game is just going to hand you the answers. At that point, it feels more like padding a very short experience out.

The other main issue with EDENGATE comes in navigating your way through it. To be clear, it would be extremely hard to get lost. You’ll have only a few chances to go even remotely off the beaten path, and even then, you’ll find some collectible and a dead end telling you to turn around quickly. There are a number of areas, though, where progression is confusing because the rules of this world are inconsistent. Mia can’t climb on or over things, except when she can. One time you have to climb through the back of an open bus to progress but the next time, you find one you can’t enter. This meant that the few times the path forward wasn’t extremely obvious, I spent a lot of time pressing Mia up against walls and platforms to see if she reacted to them at all instead of figuring things out.

That might be less of an issue if I had more faith in EDENGATE’s underlying tech, but even in just a couple of hours of playtime, I had the game crash to desktop on me. Maybe I was just unlucky, or maybe the whole experience is held together by rubber bands and duct tape. With it being so short, it won’t likely be a major issue for players, but the worry made it difficult to trust that the environment around me having a sudden change in behavior was just how the game was and not a bug.




While playing EDENGATE: The Edge of Life has plenty of issues, I still enjoyed my couple of hours with it. Mia is an interesting protagonist, the atmosphere is strong, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome. This is a case where a game being short plays to its advantage. Considering the game’s low price, I’d recommend anyone interested in it give it a try.

Final Verdict: 3/5

Available on: Xbox One (Reviewed), PS4, PC; Publisher: HOOK; Developer: HOOK; Players: 1; Released: November 29th, 2022; ESRB: T for Teen; MSRP: $6.99

Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy of EDENGATE: The Edge of Life provided by the publisher.

Andrew Thornton
Andrew has been writing about video games for nearly twenty years, contributing to publications such as DarkStation, Games Are Fun, and the E-mpire Ltd. network. He enjoys most genres but is always pulled back to classic RPG's, with his favorite games ever including Suikoden II, Panzer Dragoon Saga, and Phantasy Star IV. Don't worry though, he thinks new games are cool too, with more recent favorites like Hades, Rocket League, and Splatoon 2 stealing hundreds of hours of his life. When he isn't playing games he's often watching classic movies, catching a basketball game, or reading the first twenty pages of a book before getting busy and forgetting about it.

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