Floating Islands of Nucifera mixes elements of your typical turn-based RPG with a shopkeeping simulator. When I first heard of this game, my mind immediately went to the early days of the hype train for No Man’s Sky. They promised shopkeeping features where you’re allowed to just sit back, open up a shop, and sell the loot you got from adventures.
Sure, that turned out to be a wash, but Floating Islands of Nucifera might give us a glimpse of what could have been. There are still some bugs and glitches that need addressing, but it is still in early access. Here’s my take on the experience.
Floating Islands of Nucifera is available on Steam with an Xbox port on the horizon.
Story – Weirdly Sad and Depressing
The plot of Floating Islands of Nucifera is in stark contrast to its pleasant graphics and gameplay. You play as Rosanna, a girl that just recently lost her father. If that’s not horrific enough for you (really?), Rosanna inherits her father’s massive debt and must now work as a shopkeeper to slowly pay it off.
Good news! Not only are you now an orphan, you’re now also buried in debt! Hooray!
Or at least, you should be buried in debt. There are some glitches with the calendar that cause the days to jump around. I tried going through one of the payment deadlines without paying, and nothing happened. Hopefully that gets fixed soon; otherwise, there’s no risk.
As far as the plot goes, that’s pretty much it so far. I’ve noticed distant locations that are still unavailable, so I’m assuming there’s more to the plot as the game’s development continues.
Gameplay – Raw, but with a Lot of Potential
The Shopkeeping Element
Floating Islands of Nucifera is essentially two games in one. The first and “main” part is the shopkeeping aspect of the game. You own a shop in Nucifera and you buy display mounts like cabinets and weapon racks to show off your inventory to the local townspeople.
There’s a surprising amount of depth to the shopkeeping part. Different customers have different item preferences and price ranges. There’s even a menu that shows what items each customer liked or disliked from their previous visits to your shop.
You can choose how much you want to sell an item for and further haggle with customers if you feel like you can offer a more suitable price.
And just when you think you’ve figured out what each customer likes and what prices are right for them, you get hit with supply and demand. Floating Islands of Nucifera has a supply and demand feature that will change the prices customers are happy to pay for an item. The frequency of how much an item got sold in a short period of time affects its price.
The Combat Element
The second part of the game is the turn-based RPG segments. Admittedly, this part is a lot less refined than the shopkeeping part of the game. At least for now. You can attack, defend, or use abilities, pretty simple.
There are no ways to use items during battle. I don’t think there’s a way to change your hero’s armor and weapons. The only way to make them stronger is by leveling them up. I also haven’t figured out how to get other characters yet, so I’m assuming there isn’t any way to do so right now.
Hopefully, they put some more polish into the fighting before release. I can definitely see this part being as fun and addictive as the shopkeeping.
You can only enter the islands and fight at certain times each day. The same goes for customers arriving in your shop. You need to manage your time wisely to make ends meet.
Graphics & Audio – Calm and Relaxing
Floating Islands of Nucifera has some very simple, yet stylized graphics. They’re very pleasing to look at and just take your mind off things. The graphics may be the best part of the game for me.
The music sounds really relaxing. It reminds me of background music in retro games like the Mega Man Battle Network overworld music or even Animal Crossing.
It does sound a little generic, but I love it. Maybe it’s just because of nostalgia, but it gets the job done.
Besides, trust me, you’ll be needing the smooth calming music, especially later in the game. Once you’ve reached the second shop, customers just start flooding in and it’s incredibly stressful to micro-manage everything. Gotta pay them bills.
Floating Islands of Nucifera was previewed on PC through Steam with the key provided by theindiebros.