I love this little game!
It's basic characteristics are perhaps best presented in list form:
- stealth, exploration, combat
- limited health and items
- low-poly art style
- "cartoon lovecraft" theme
I'm not great at FPS games (not terrible, I hope, but not great), and for me Eldritch has a perfectly balanced difficulty curve. There are three worlds, which are generated on each runthrough, and you have to make it through all three to unlock a final stage, and then survive that stage to win, all without dying once. This only takes an hour or so, but is tricky to pull off. (I've only done it twice, both times before Steam acheivements were added.) The first world is easy; the second one seems impossible at first. On each successful run, you deepen your knowledge of the game's systems, and gradually attain a pleasurable sense of mastery.
There is also a "New Game+" mode and some additional challenges if you are way more hardcore than I.
Despite the cartoony art style, the game has many genuinely tense moments and I think the visual and level design is really quite effective in conveying a weird and spooky world, governed by unfathomable rules and forces. And as with any good randomized world, I've had lots of hilarious/awesome emergent encounters/stories with the various beasties and environments.
One of my only issues with the game is that certain combinations of abilities are really unbalanced. So much so that, once I find them in a given run, it's hard to give them up if I'm trying for a winning run. Withouth giving too much away, this is due to what I can only call game-breaking exploits that certain abilities enable.
However, the issue of balance is certainly outweighed by the sheer joy I took when I first discovered the power of these degenerate strategies. I felt like a brilliant magical ninja. In any case, there are a modest number of abilities that are all really fun to play with even if they are not all equally powerful.
All in all, I have huge respect for this game's designer (a single guy!) Eldritch shows a lot of care, dedication, restraint, and clarity of vision. There are a lot of simple but brilliant ideas in here, executed beautifully. (for example, after playing Eldritch I can't imagine why anyone would make an FPS without a run+crouch "powerslide" move.) It makes me want to make games myself.
To top it off, the developer has released two *huge* free content updates since the game was released in 2013, and the game is pretty modestly priced to begin with. ($15, with frequent sales and bundles.) I highly recommend supporting him!