A turn-based role-playing recreation utilizing a retro sprite-based artwork fashion isn’t laborious to come back by these days, with the indie gaming market booming with them each different week. However Ikenfell, a brand new recreation from Glad Ray Video games, slapped me within the face with nice surprises many times as I performed. Enjoyable and well-written characters, a gripping story, and nice music and sound design all surrounded my private spotlight of the sport: a deep battle system that closely impressed me.
Ikenfell completely nails the retro allure that so many different video games always attempt to accomplish, however in a method that feels completely different from different video games of the identical vein. Whereas so many retro-inspired indie video games go for the NES or SNES look, Ikenfell appears to go for extra of a Recreation Boy Advance really feel. From the sprite work to the music that mixes chiptune instrumentation with conventional devices, Ikenfell stored bringing me again to the times of enjoying RPGs just like the Legacy of Goku collection and Zelda video games on the GBA with their visuals and accompanying sounds.
Ikenfell begins by throwing you proper into the thriller as fundamental character Mariette goes on a quest to seek out her sister, Safina, who’s gone lacking from the magical faculty, Ikenfell. As Mariette travels on her quest, she awakens from being a non-magical Atypical right into a pyro-magic wielding fighter. She additionally meets rivals and associates of Safina, who could assist her alongside the best way as they uncover the darkish secrets and techniques of the college and discover Safina’s whereabouts. The story unveils itself by a mixture of unstated exploration and plenty of heartwarming, dialogue-filled cutscenes with sufficient well-written jokes that I used to be laughing the entire method by. And for these fearful concerning the balancing of plot, battles, and exploration, be assured that each gameplay component is scattered about so properly that nothing feels invasive or overdone.
With this good mixture of components, the sport does an incredible job at presenting the sense of surprise of this magical world, in addition to the thriller Mariette turns into wrapped up in. This legendary tone is mirrored within the fulfilling puzzles, the designs of the enemies, and the numerous very numerous and enjoyable characters.
But when there’s one factor I like to have in my RPGs, it’s a robust battle system to maintain me and to assist with the potential monotony of grinding. Spoilers: This recreation completely has that.
Ikenfell’s battle system brings collectively many acquainted mechanics from RPG techniques of the previous. Leveling as much as earn new expertise, battle choices taken in turns, and a tactical RPG motion grid are all current right here, with Glad Ray Video games refining all of it right into a darn close to good fight expertise. The battles are accomplished within the traditional turn-based fashion however with all the characters on a grid, just like mini-tactical RPGs like South Park: Stick of Reality, with every character’s velocity attribute figuring out what number of turns they get in succession. This primary layer of the fight system places a robust emphasis on when and the place you need to be throughout a struggle, and the sport teaches you this by trial and error with the early and simpler enemy encounters.
The movement-focused nature of the sport continues to be prevalent as battles get more durable, because of each the participant characters and the enemies you encounter gaining such all kinds of talents. Within the case of each playable characters and enemies, no two talents are the identical. Every assault has completely different results and may cowl a distinct space of the battle grid. This opens the door for characters to get away from enemy assaults, to allow them to use acts of protection, whether or not it’s to heal, give themselves a stat increase, and even simply get a breather whereas one other character goes in for injury.
The following layer to this fight system is the truth that there may be pleasant hearth energetic for everybody on the sector. Many occasions I had to consider whether or not I needed to drop injury on an ally unit to get a giant hit on a boss character, since they have been so shut to one another. I additionally discovered myself strategizing and getting what’s principally a multi-hit combo on enemies by both getting them to assault an ally proper after considered one of my turns, because of positioning, or defeating a smaller unit and getting them to blow up and injury considered one of their allies. The latter of those methods really received me out of fairly a couple of near-death moments throughout boss battles. This actually feels just like the core of Ikenfell’s battle system and makes it all of the extra distinctive in comparison with different RPGs underneath the identical umbrella. What’s much more wonderful is that there’s nonetheless one other mechanic thrown into the combo.
Ikenfell incorporates a rhythm urgent component to the battles, similar to that of the Paper Mario, Tremendous Mario RPG, and the Mario & Luigi video games. Every assault, each by the participant characters and their enemies, has particular rhythms that the participant can catch onto, and in case you press the corresponding button on the proper time, you’re in a position to both stack on extra injury or negate injury. This technique makes it necessary to, basically, study each transfer and its timing, as a result of that may spell the distinction in shedding or profitable a battle. That is doubly obvious whenever you’re launched to the clutch mechanic, a comeback mechanic that may save your character from successful of loss of life so long as your defensive timing on the killing blow is ideal. For individuals who could wrestle with this mechanic, there are alternatives for handbook, semi-auto, and auto defenses, with the latter two choices making the timing component simpler or utterly taking out it.
Every of those components come collectively to make an addictive fight sandwich that hasn’t gotten outdated for me but, and I’m fairly a methods into the story. The system makes for difficult battles that require me to actively take into consideration cause-and-effect with even the smallest components. “Will shifting to level A get my ally damage at level B?” “If I assault right here, can I doubtlessly get this enemy to hit my goal as properly?” These questions, amongst many others, are going to be ones that you simply’ll be asking your self as you play by Ikenfell. Typically the smallest misstep can get you bodied huge time, relying on who you’re preventing.
All in all, Ikenfell is a profitable trek into the brand new however acquainted territories of the RPG world. If you’d like a enjoyable solid of numerous characters, good artwork, wonderful music from Aivi & Surasshu (the composing duo behind Steven Universe’s soundtrack), a enjoyable story, or a deep tactical battle system, then Ikenfell needs to be in your radar, as a result of it has all the above.