It is finally here, the game I have waited what seems like a lifetime for – Alphadia Neo from KEMCO.
Normally I would bang on about how this is another retro-styled JRPG, from the kings of retro-styled JRPG’s and so on and so forth, but because of one little addition, this is now the greatest game I have played in recent times. I’m not going to give it away in the opening paragraph, so stay tuned and I’ll spill the beans in due course, but without more ado, let’s dive into the world of Alphadia Neo…
Now, some scene setting is probably in order. In the world of Alphadia, the main thing that everyone seems to want is Energi. This is basically the essence of life, and can empower people to use magic powers. Of course, there is a flip side, and when an evil empire decides that the best thing it can do with Energi is to make living weapons out of it, well, things are set for a colossal showdown.
It’s here where our hero, Alt, is found in a wall (yes, really) and in an unbelievable, never before seen plot twist, has no memory of who he was. He is found by Souffle (again, yes, really) and Van, and they are citizens of a land that has been subjugated by said evil empire. The rest, I will keep a secret for fear of spoilers.
As you would expect from a game of this type, the presentation is pretty much the same as every other KEMCO game you have ever seen. It is a retro-styled JRPG, with the characters either wandering around a dungeon (which can also be a mountain, by the way) or wandering around a world map. The design of the characters is pretty standard, erring towards the anime style, and with the usual KEMCO charm to be seen, it is very much business as usual.
The same goes for the soundtrack – stirring music, swooshing sword and spell effects are all present, yet whilst there is no dialogue, everything is explained via the medium of text boxes. In fact it has become a bit of a standing joke in our house whenever I fire up one of these games for review, with both my wife and son rolling their eyes – “Another Asdivine game?”. That right there should tell you all you need to know about Alphadia Neo’s presentation.
But let us get on to the actual gameplay and, again, if you have played a KEMCO game before, you will be right at home here, There is nothing shocking or amazing (or indeed, shmazing) except for one little new feature – and yes, you’re going to have to wait a little longer for that.
In fact, the game is the same as usual – start out alone, recruit new companions, get new gear, level up and gain new attacks. It’s all same old, same old in regards a KEMCO title. There is an attempt at something a little bit new and fun however, with different link up attacks becoming available to the team, and various roles also being able to be used. For instance, Alt, who I will use as my example, starts off with a Vanguard attack style, then can get others, such as Weak Point attacks by levelling up. In this way, the team can be kept abreast of new enemies, capable of adjusting their tactics accordingly. When you finish combat, the team’s HP and mana bars (called TP in this game) aren’t refilled, this only happens when they level up. It is worth noting this fact, as going into a fight with low TP levels is a great way to lose, as the points are needed for any kind of magic attack or support skill. Keep an eye on your levels would be my top tip.
So, here it is, the big reveal, the feature that has instantly raised this KEMCO title head and shoulders above all others, It has a fishing mini-game! Or, as I prefer to think of it, it is a fishing game with some JRPG bits tacked on. And shock, the fishing bit is actually a lot of fun – you can get new gear, new bait and find fishing spots all over the world, with the challenge being to catch all of the “Lunker Lords” that live in the world. But that’s not all and as you go around and catch different fish, you can trade these in for FP with a bloke who lurks near the ponds. In this way, fishing can be turned into surprisingly good gear and items.
The mechanics of fishing are simple (it’s not going to be competing with the best fishing games in the world) but they are as follows. See, when you cast in, you wait for a bite (so far, so accurate) and then when you get a bite, you press A to begin the fight. A sliding bar appears, and you need to stop the slider as close to the middle of the scale as possible. As you do this, the fish loses strength, and if you can reduce its strength to zero before the time runs out, then you catch the fish. If not, well, there’s always the tale of the one that got away… It’s a really neat little feature that ensures Alphadia Neo has something just a little up its sleeve.
So, in conclusion, Alphadia Neo is a pretty good fishing game with some light dungeon exploring tacked on. The story is pretty standard KEMCO fare, the fighting is what we’ve seen before, right down to different coloured enemies being treated as new species (seriously, it is a green penguin, you guys) and all in all this is a pleasant way of killing some time.
With the fishing mini-game tacked on, Alphadia Neo is an easy recommend, but without it, the rest of the experience is a little stale.
Alphadia Neo is on the Xbox Store