Eastward: Octopia


Review by · February 27, 2024

Eastward was a real standout title in 2021—yes, it’s been that long—and was one of my favorite games that year. When asked to review the DLC I didn’t yet know was releasing, I conjured up wild scenarios for John and Sam to find themselves in: daring conflicts with big bads, colorful characters to help survive in this strange world, and of course, sassy refrigerators to help me save my game. I did not expect a fully fleshed out farming simulator with a roughly twenty-hour runtime. Even after completion, I still find myself playing. Eastward: Octopia, much like Eastward itself, was a very pleasant surprise.

Eastward: Octopia takes place in a parallel universe, away from the original game. In this universe, Sam and John set out on the train to Octopia, a city built near and around an abandoned theme park. They find and buy a fairly large plot of land with a field, and that’s about it. Off you go; do some farming. The game starts slow but immediately ramps up as familiar faces begin joining you in Octopia. Since this is a parallel universe, the faces might be familiar to you, but they’re not to John and Sam.

Since you can play the DLC without actually playing the main game, they might also be new to you. If you’re familiar with the base game, the very first person you run into might be a particularly surprising and unexpected person to run into. Your friendly, sweet, and little-bit-of-a-doorman realtor is none other than Solomon, the antagonist from the main game, seemingly given this role to emphasize that this is not the same universe.

Screenshot from the game Eastward - Octopia. The screenshot is of the game's farm with the game's protagonists, John and Sam, sitting on a bench.
Sam and John admire their work after a long day of farming.

While there are a few differences from the original Eastward universe, one thing remains the same: John loves to cook. While Octopia centers around collection and completion, creating dishes is the primary focus. There are more recipes than anything else in the game. You can fish, harvest, and gather to your heart’s content, but if John’s not cooking, he’s not living. Food primarily acts as a vessel for restoring energy, as you might expect. Dishes have a stamina recovery value that typically exceeds that of sleeping or, regrettably, using the bathroom. As you progress through the story, there is a point where you can invite folks around Octopia to John and Sam’s house for dinner. Depending on how many people you invite, you need to hit a certain stamina recovery number. If you succeed, you get a perk the next day.

This comes in handy if you’re trying to speed up construction, buy items for a cheaper price, or spur innovation at Alva’s lab. I loved having construction projects going on around town. It felt like I was breathing more life into the town than simply farming within town limits. Unfortunately, there aren’t very many construction projects to finish. However, when you do finish them, it’s a marked improvement in the ramshackle town. When you arrive, everything’s boarded up, there are lots of strange octopuses around related to the abandoned theme park, and the town’s a mess. Getting the opportunity to clean up the town, build new structures, and improve existing ones gave a nice lil’ dopamine bump. Despite the small number of construction projects overall, it’s still very satisfying once the town shines perhaps beyond its former glory.

Along with farming and cooking, you collect and fish. Pretty standard stuff, but the fishing in Octopia is fairly unique. It takes place in a circle field where you press the shoulder buttons to have your lure rotate around the circle left or right. When you cast your lure into the body of water, a fish will come over and grab the line. With the shoulder buttons, you control the lure to catch the fish. As you catch up to the fish, you hit a button to, for lack of a better word, “damage” the fish. “Damage” the fish enough, and it’s caught! If the fish pulls too far from the lure, it gets away. I absolutely love fishing in video games and I haven’t seen anything quite like this style of fishing before. It works, and it was a lot of fun.

Screenshot from the game Eastward - Octopia. John is cooking at has invited some guests over for dinner who are gathered around the dining table at the center of the house.
John works hard in the kitchen to feed his dinner guests.

As people filter into town, they start requesting things from John and Sam. While construction projects are ongoing, they ask for wood, stone, and salt. Salt is the currency in Eastward for both universes, apparently. Generally, requests took no time whatsoever. I was able to gather construction materials and salt immediately, and almost all construction projects got set up and underway on the same day. The slightly more difficult ask was for dishes. Ingredients, seeds, what have you, become available as the general shop upgrades. Octopia gets a lot of visitors, though, and you don’t always have the necessary ingredients at the ready. Luckily, Octopia tracks when you need to deliver food to someone. For example, Little Bun is traveling the world looking for the most delicious dishes and will send John recipes she’d like to try. Luckily, food doesn’t expire in this universe, so if you’ve got the materials, you can make and forget it.

There is absolutely no combat in Eastward: Octopia, despite a heavy combat focus in the main game. The closest thing, aside from maybe fishing, is when Alva and Izzy move into town and let John explore the mines with Sonic Punk. If you played Eastward, Sonic Punk was Alva’s lab assistant robot, and he’s repurposed in Octopia as a mining robot. Sonic Punk is controlled through an arcade-style cabinet, similar to how Eastward had the Earth Born arcade game. Sonic Punk can drop bombs, and that’s about it. He automatically collects materials such as rocks, salt, and ore. Collecting materials fills up a bar at the bottom of the screen and, as the bar fills, the bombs increase their blast radius. Increasing it to max gives a huge blast radius but causes the bar to drain. Once it does, you’re back to tiny baby blasts.

Eastward: Octopia wasn’t something I was looking forward to playing because I didn’t even know it was coming! And even though I wasn’t aware of its existence until a week ago, I couldn’t put the game down. While there is a narrative to Eastward: Octopia, it takes a backseat to the excellent farming sim gameplay that captivated me for many hours. Pixpil does an incredible job with gameplay and feel. While farming sim might seem like a far cry from action-adventure gameplay, they intersect really well. If I was disappointed by anything, it’s that there wasn’t any combat in Octopia, as it was quite fun in Eastward. Still, the finished package was better than I thought possible. The Octopia DLC is a must if you enjoyed Eastward or have any connection to the characters.


Really fun genre shift, get to spend time with lovable and familiar characters, same stunning art.


A little light on story, only about six maps to really explore, progression requirements not always obvious.

Bottom Line

A surprisingly fun and competent genre-bend from Pixpil that's a must play for fans of Eastward.

Overall Score 86
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Nick Mangiaracina

Nick Mangiaracina

Nick slept through most of high school because he needed to maintain heavy raiding hours in EverQuest. Since then he's been spending most of his time playing and writing about video games, specifically RPGs. He loves learning about RPGs he's never heard of and spends a fair amount of time lurking in indie spaces for emerging small-team indie RPGs. He also has a tri-color corgi named Felix.