Platforms: PC / PlayStation 4 / XBOX ONE / Wii U/ Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Genre: Role-Playing Game
Players: Single Player
Developer: Snowcastle Games
Release Date: Out Now!
Earthlock began its life as a Kickstarter game called Earthlock: Festival of Magic. After a successful bout on the website back in 2014, we now have it on the Nintendo Switch. After a pre-alpha build and a trailer that drew interest, but by the time November 2013 came it was put onto Kickstarter, originally aiming for $250,000 which was later lowered to $150,000 because of the holiday season and Snowcastle wasn’t getting the view that the trailer had brought in. The campaign was successful. As of April 2014, it has raised $178,000, beating its funding amount.
The game got released on the Xbox One first and then PC, later followed by PlayStation 4 and the Wii U. Now we have a heavily updated version called just Earthlock on the Nintendo Switch.
Earthlock is a turn-based game that you can see just by the images takes inspiration from jRPG’s of previous times. You can see a little bit of Square Enix takes in there along with some modern 3D graphics that only a modern jRPG could pull off.
Earthlock is set in a world called Umbra. Umbra has been quite beaten through its ages. There is an imbalance of energy throughout Umbra, this magical energy is called ‘amri’. (I know, it’s beginning to sound like Star Wars. This is broken down in the intro into the game so you’re not left clueless. You start with 2 characters. an uncle and nephew. You are based in a town with your uncle called Zaber. You take control of Amon, one of the main protagonists in Earthlock. Amon is a scavenger and while he is out scavenging, something occurs that will cause you to go on an adventure to risk everything to save not only Umbra but his family.
The story is rather fun and reminisces about a Final Fantasy game. In the story, you meet new friends and enemies. While saving Umbra you grow a party of 6 who will fight alongside you in turn-based combat. The characters aren’t all human, they will vary. Especially with this being a jRPG expect a lot of animal companions. The story a long while being great some of the dialogue is rather quirky. It ranges from your typical fantasy speech to really awkward at times. I don’t like cheesiness.
The graphics aren’t great. Bearing in mind this is a game from development beginning way back in 2013 and released only 2 years ago. You expect something better. The art style does do it justice, however. One thing that really bugged me was a lot of the background animation such as trees and grass were all the same animation, sometimes rotated but with it nearly being, all the same, it pulls off this blurry effect. It’s like watching a 3D movie without the glasses and it knocked me sick.
I cannot fault the gameplay. Nothing new really there but you have a solid turn-based combat that doesn’t really need changing. Why change something that works? Plenty of exploration within the gameplay, every area is unique following dungeons and cities. The gameplay is fun and there is always something new to entertain yourself with. One thing that is added into the turn-based combat is the Pairing system. You can level up bonds between each player and this causes some special power-ups. Pretty neat.
One thing that really bugged me during the game save points. You can’t just turn the game off whenever. You have to attend save points throughout which you have to admit is rather outdated in this day and age.
While the game is a jRPG it does feel quite like an American take on the genre. It allowed me to feel like I was playing a fresh FF game all over which doesn’t happen often, however, is that a good thing? A game that isn’t an FF game yet reminds me just like an FF? Overall I did enjoy the game, it had its downs but it was definitely mostly ups for sure. This is a supposed start to a trilogy and I am looking forward to the other 2 games! A great addition to the Nintendo Switch.