I have to admit that it’s been awhile since I sat down with a good RPG, which brings me to check out Snowcastle Games’ Earthlock: Festival of Magic that has made its way to the Xbox One console after being released on just about everything else out there last year. It’s a simple but tough title that clearly takes parts from some of the best JRPGS out there and gives players a nice adventure they’ll find themselves locked into.
Players enter the magical world of Umbra where the planet has stopped spinning due to a horrible, ancient event. This leaves part of it baking in the sun and another freezing in darkness with just a few areas that are able to sustain life. You control a group of characters on a quest to stop the horrible event from happening again, and solve other problems along the way as each character’s backstory comes to light. One of the things that pulled me into this game is the combat system in which your character has two stances that let you use melee or ranged attacks against enemies. As with most RPGs, there’s also an element of strategy in place as you switch the stances of your characters to best suit the situation you’re in. A perfect example is that sometimes you’ll find that you need to throw your healer character into the fight for awhile which will leave you without healing for the group.
These kind of scenarios often come with difficulty spikes that can be daunting at first and will possibly turn some players away. But fans of Dark Souls and the like will already be familiar with the thrill that comes from overcoming these moments as you press on through your quest. Featuring a very laid-back and simple look, Earthlock won’t be winning any awards in the graphics department, but they’re clean and serve their purpose well. The audio side of things fares a bit better (at least the music anyways) thanks to Hiroki Kikuta of Secret of Mana fame lending a hand to Eiko Nichols with the soundtrack that fits nicely with the setting and action throughout the adventure. If you’re used to voice acting in their RPGs, you’ll be a bit disappointed as it’s all text reading here.
Those looking for a simple but often times challenging RPG adventure will want to look into Earthlock: Festival of Magic. Supposedly the first entry of a trilogy, this beginning installment has just enough going for it to warrant a look and play through as long as you’re willing to push through the difficulty spikes that can easily lock you into trouble.