This game is an enigma. At its simplest it is a 2D with some 3D movement. A scrolling RPG with some limited character building abilities and role playing concepts. It takes me back to some of the earlier PS2 and even earlier Nintendo attempts at the same sort of genre.
As you start you select a character and then as you move through the story you select the other members of your team. It is all fluffed up a bit with text based commentary, but essentially that is it. There are six characters that you can unlock in your quests, and three of them are used to create your first team. You can use them to create three teams of two, with different players controlling each team. I played this on my own initially so there was essentially one team of four in play at any time. I did watch others play the multi-player options, but this review is essentially based upon my experiences only.
As you progress through the game you earn treasure, extra items and special abilities that can be called upon in battle. Upon completion of a level, the loot you have collected can be sold for gold or swapped for equipment you are already carrying. Gold you have earned during your travels is added to your pot, as is any that you receive from the sale of items. This gold can be used to buy better equipment, or saved for resurrection insurance. Trust me when I say that you will need to keep around a thousand gold pieces aside for just such an occasion. You can also trade any magic points that you have earned for additional or enhanced levels of abilities.
Whilst playing the game, you see special spell combinations appear as icons just next to your players head. These correspond to key presses on the controller and are a great way of using new moves or collected special abilities. However, before you can use these spells you have to collect mana from your defeated enemies. This can be combined with special rage crystals that are dropped by the bad guys. You complete a level by defeating the main boss. This can quickly end in your destruction if you don’t concentrate on defeating the boss; you can get easily distracted by his hoards of minions as they constantly try and distract you.
All in all, this all comes together into a simple but addictive package that reminds me of many of the retro arcade games of the 80’s and 90’s. The artwork is similar in style to Manga, but with a twist. The scenery and backdrops are colourful and the special abilities are nicely animated. However, it is not without its bad points.
In some respects the simplicity of this game is its downfall. The character sprites could be better animated, as could those of the enemies. The music is generic and the levels jump from ridiculously easy to very hard in the blink of an eye. In addition, friendly fire becomes a pain – especially when you accidentally knock down or stun another member of your team. This momentarily takes them out of the battle and that can leave you open to attack from all sides.
Although the story within the game is good, it is not enough to make this a stand out success. Yes, it is addictive and yes it offers up a lot of humour, but essentially you spend most of your time either trying to move around your characters so you don’t hit them or trying to fend of cramp from the constant button pushing. It doesn’t help that the adventure is very linear. The game is saved slightly by the multiplayer options, which do essentially make it more fun, but they are not enough to rescue what is a flawed but stylistic 2D scrolling RPG.
Hyper Awesome have created something that is addictive but it is very repetitive. 6.5/10