Describing Earthlock: Festival of Magic as a traditional Japanese role-playing game may be under evaluating the potential of this adventure. There is a nice balance between mystery, darkness, and child-friendly characteristics that give this title a very nice blend of fun.
The game is without a doubt very well designed and introduces the core mechanics usually found in a regular RPG, with a few unique concepts that make this title a great option for entertainment. Each character that is met along the main journey has a significant role in the course of the story, which gives the player a very good perception of how working together can determine the success of an entire team.
In short, Earthlock can easily become a game you dedicate several hours to. It is also a rewarding and truly satisfying experience that presents an immense world filled with challenging enemies and an amazing gameplay.
Earthlock brings a story-driven adventure with a very simple concept containing several interesting details. The storyline takes place in the world of Umbra, which is a place divided into technology and magic with a full set of mysteries to unveil. The story explains how Umbra unexpectedly stopped spinning after a series of historical events. This mystery leads our characters to fight multiple ancient conflicts that will restore their world to its normal state. Once you begin to play, you will be introduced to a curious empire tale followed buy a basic tutorial that will help you get started.
The main problem in the game's story is that the narrative is not always so engaging and does not give the player a whole idea of what is going on in a few particular moments of the adventure.
On the positive side, it is good to highlight that one of the best features of the title is the nice level of customization found in heroes and battling style. The game slowly introduces players to a variety of characters that make up a diverse environment. Each one of them has a different personality and are always tied to the concept of improving the bonding level among each other to perform better. Because of that, improving the bond among your heroes becomes a big deal as you advance in the journey. In my opinion, this was definitely a huge plus that differentiates Earthlock from other games that usually tend to make similar game aspects like the title's talent bond as a supplemental feature.
Even though the game's main journey takes place in one single vast world, there are great opportunities to discover incredible locations and meet new characters. Earthlock’s universe is divided into several areas and zones, which is an expected feature considering the game style. The gameplay is very familiar to experienced RPG players and includes a main explorable area filled with content. It also allows heroes to talk and interact with other characters.
Combats are turn-based and are activated by approaching the enemy close enough to trigger a battling meter. Being able to quickly press “A” before the meter builds up, will allow your character use the first move. If you want to skip the battle, all you have to do is walk away before the meter times up. However, since combats present simple mechanics, you will notice that there is not a lot of complexity when trying to defeat an opponent. It is a bit strange that opponents seem to never miss attacks not matter how many turns you experience.
The game combats become even more interesting when adding the option to analyze and choose the most effective fighting style that will give you the advantage in battles. With that being said, the player can not only select among a certain variety of direct actions but also switch weapons according to the type of opponent they are facing, such as moving from a single slash to a stabbing attack. This ability can better be explored in the “switch stances” battling option. This preference lets you choose between certain abilities that are exclusive to a hero class. For example, changing stances from melee to ranged makes your attack more effective against particular enemies. Once you learn how to master these abilities and understand how the combat options work, you will perform in a successful way and inflict damages that are really effective. This can represent the major determinant of winning versus losing a fight.
In addition to these battling features, it is important to know that any action completed from a bond between character will count towards their bond meters. This is a very engaging characteristic of the game. Testing combined forces in battle became one the best parts of the gameplay and motivated me to do dive into the shared bond feature much more that I initially expected. For example, in order to have the chance to use better spells and potions, the player will need to improve the natural bond between two heroes. As you advance in the adventure, new characters will be introduced, which will allow the player to manage other combination for stronger combat strategies. Shared bond is not the only characteristic that influences your performance in fights. Another interesting element in the process of developing heroes is that there are more requirements than just leveling them up.
It is also important to become familiar with what you can do with points earned in battles. Talent Points can activate stats nodes that will improve the characteristics of heroes. In order to manage that, you need to access the Talent Function of the game. Earthlock lets you craft and customize skills as if they were actual game items. It is really fun to complete these actions before improving your inventory for each character’s Talent Board.
One the other hand, the main issue with Earthlock’s gameplay is the lack of an onscreen map or instructions to help players keep track where they need to go next. Perhaps, if you are the type of player who prefers to freely explore your surroundings, this is probably not a mandatory feature for you.
Other few camera issues are noticeable when rotating the image to have a clear picture of what is around your character. This problem can be somewhat frustrating and it prevented me from exploring certain areas a little further before moving on to the next zone.
AUDIO AND GRAPHICS
In general, this is a solid turn-based game that doesn’t overwhelm the player with too much depth in terms or content but gives you a pleasing experience that comes from the beauty of graphics and design quality. The images have bright colors that fit really well in the concept that Umbra represents. In terms of characters, there is a lot of variation and they are designed in a very neat way for the most part.
When it comes to audio, I have mixed feelings about how Earthlock: Festival of Magic performs. Although most of the soundtrack brings an amazing selection of tunes, I definitely missed some voice acting additions not only to the gameplay but also to the main story. It would be really nice to have a dramatic-voiced description on how Umbra once stopped spinning. However, that doesn’t make the game bad. In fact, there is a large array of remarkable music including the world map and boss battles which represent one of the greatest characteristics of this amazing title.
Earthlock: Festival of Magic brings several nice features that stand out to the player and motivates their engagement in the gameplay. This slow-paced RPG introduces several interesting mechanics that can be easily learned and improved.
I particularly enjoyed managing each character’s development through the talent board options. This system goes beyond simply leveling up heroes and makes sense in the gameplay structure.
In summary, this charming title can easily become a source of several hours of fun. My recommendations are mostly associated with the few improvements in terms of story and gameplay guidance or navigation. Aside from that, Earthlock provides a fun story that inspires players to go very far with a nice amount of effort.
|+ Attractive graphics beautiful art||– Few camera issues|
|+ Fun battle features that improve combat strategy||– No on-screen maps|
|+ Unique character development method||– No voice acting audio|
|– Average story development|