Eila & Something Shiny
Eila and Something Shiny is a unique and clever solo experience. I am genuinely excited to find out what happens to Eila after Chapter One’s cliffhanger ending.
*KICKSTARTER PREVIEW (Unpaid)
What’s this now?Eila and Something Shiny is a unique and utterly adorable solo game. The game tells the story of Eila, an adventurous little bunny attracted to (wait for it) something shiny atop a distant mountain. Everyone knows, bunnies cannot resist shiny things. Especially if that something is burning brightly miles and miles in the distance. So, like a moth determinedly flying towards a flickering bulb, Eila sets off on a grand adventure towards the light. The game has clever mechanics, a beautiful art style and stellar components. It is set to launch on Kickstarter this April!
|# of Players||1 - 1|
|User Suggested # of Players|| Best with 1+ players|
Recommended with 1, 1+ players
|Mfg Suggested Ages||8 and up|
|User Suggested Ages||12 and up|
|Language Dependence||Moderate in-game text - needs crib sheet or paste ups|
|Category||Adventure, Animals, Fantasy|
|Mechanic||Narrative Choice / Paragraph, Scenario / Mission / Campaign Game, Solo / Solitaire Game, Storytelling|
|Primary Name||Eila and Something Shiny|
Eila and Something Shiny is first and foremost, a storytelling game. To underline this point, before you do anything else, you are prompted to read a small prologue comic book. This comic introduces us to Eila and provides just enough exposition so that players have a motivation to see what will happen to our long-eared hero. But this isn’t a “sit back and let Grandpa tell you a tale” kind of a story. This is a story you are actively involved with and influence along the way.
From there, you will play through chapters drawing cards from a pre-arranged deck. These cards present players with an opportunity to make decisions that do a number of things. Each chapter is seven days and, depending on the player’s choice, cards will either move into a “past” or “future” discard pile. The cards that move into the “past” will not be seen again for the duration of the current game. The cards in the “future” are then shuffled back into the deck at the end of the day and may be reencountered tomorrow. Some choices will even add unknown cards from the “upcoming” deck into the future discard pile. So, players will never be completely certain what a day will have in store for them.
Eila is not just a ridiculously cute, take no guff adventurer. Our furry friend is also an organized and efficient planner who has to juggle a wealth of resources like food (which I always refer to as carrots because of the iconography), gold, knowledge, energy, and magic. Welcome to adulthood Eila – where you’re out of energy, wondering where all the magic has gone and trying to figure out what you’re going to do with all these carrots.
The player’s choices will also usually reward one of the above commodities or demand a resource. These resources will help players deal with upcoming events. You will ultimately need particular resources to complete the goals of each chapter. The game’s resource management mechanic provides a puzzle that the players will have to figure out in order to be successful. I began having conversations with myself like:
“Will I take two carrots or one knowledge?”
“I can convert the carrots to gold which could allow me to purchase a toolbox, but if I can gain more knowledge, I can gain a magic resource which is one of my chapter goals.”
“Or maybe I should hang on to the carrots because they can be converted into energy that I will need to spend at the end of the day.”
“But what about the magic? WHERE IS THE MAGIC?”
It’s these kinds of deliberations and resource conversion options that will be burning player’s brains. Luckily, throughout the game, there will be many opportunities to figure things out as, over the seven days in a given chapter, many of the same events will repeat. It plays out kind of like the movie Groundhog Day but, instead of playing a disillusioned and depressed Bill Murray, you are in charge of an autonomous and glorified Pokemon.
Like the titular ‘something shiny,” the art style and character design of Eila immediately catches the eye, imploring players to explore the world within the box. If I haven’t said it enough already, Eila is an irresistibly adorable creation providing a perfect vehicle for players to immerse themselves in the game world. Players will want to keep Eila safe while pushing her forward in an effort to meet new characters and find new locations.
The art captures some of the whimsy and wonder of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, a game that blew my twelve-year-old mind. Similarly to when Link encounters the Great Deku Tree, Eila and Something Shiny features an endearing talking tree. This tree presents players with their first in-game decision by asking: “Do you want to go on an adventure?” There’s only one answer to that question of course and, before long, players are traipsing through a forest full of deer merchants and bear chefs. Each creature as lovingly realized as Eila herself.
The demo copy of Eila and Something Shiny that showed up at my door is more than impressive when it comes to components. The box and its beautiful art are of great quality. The cards are bigger than standard-sized cards. An excellent decision as it gives the artwork lots of space to showcase characters and locations. There is a simple card stand that you will have to construct to hold the “upcoming” cards. While unnecessary, the stand is helpful and does make the game pop on your table.
Perhaps the most noteworthy component that really makes the game stand out is the neoprene mat that labels where all the cards should be placed and provides a reference for the various resource conversions. Mats like this are often superfluous. But, man, they really do add to the whole game experience and bring the package together. Finally, the wooden resource components for the different resources are standard fare. It would not surprise me if the Kickstarter version included carrot-shaped food resources and book-shaped knowledge bits. For now, though, all but the hearts are cube-shaped.
One to watch for
Eila and Something Shiny is a unique and clever solo experience. I am genuinely excited to find out what happens to Eila after Chapter One’s cliffhanger ending. The resource management puzzle wasn’t too hard to crack for the demo chapters. I imagine the game will gradually ramp up the difficulty as players progress through later chapters though. I had a blast playing this game and my 6-year-old had just as much fun watching my adventure with Eila. As an avid solo board gamer, this is one of my most highly anticipated games of the year. I can’t wait to continue adventuring towards the promise of “something shiny” this April when the game launches on Kickstarter.
I was sent a preview copy of Eila and Something Shiny for review purposes but this review is not paid for and reflects my personal opinion from playing the game.