Asdivine Menace Review

Whenever there is an Asdivine game that is a direct sequel it’s really cool to see. It’s not everyday that you get to see what happens after the heroes have saved the day. It has certainly happened like in Golden Sun but I would argue that it is still more on the rare side. Of course the whole Asdivine series is interconnected by the two goddesses from the first game and it’s cool to wonder where everyone is at these days. We do see a cameo of the cat but since Zack and the heroine took over the roles later on maybe this takes place early in the continuity. It could also be a multiverse setting. Either way that’s not important to this game but it’s fun to think about.

The game starts with Izayoi waking up after the 100 years slumber he had to take from the first game. He saved the universe though so things should be good but unfortunately that isn’t the case when he wakes up. His powers still haven’t fully returned for some reason and the Murk (Shadow energy that corrupts all) is still around. Then a goddess from another universe arrives and explains that things are getting worse across all of the dimensions. Izayoi decides to go and tells the other gods to watch over the universe while he’s gone. This writes out the cast from the first game so don’t expect them to do much aside from quick appearances here and there. Instead the main cast is this goddess, a shrine maiden, and a mysterious little girl who accompany Izayoi. He must check in on all 4 of the universes and take down the main villain.

It’s a pretty fun plot because this was also foreshadowed back in the first game. It had that creepy ending with a girl appearing and she’s the main villain here. Her backstory is also kinda tragic so you can see why she got this demented. Of course it’s another cast of “Sad story but you’re still evil bro” moment but I appreciate the game giving her such a tragic backstory where you can really see why she went the way that she did. It would have been tough to have been on her own for so long. The story evolves quite a lot as you play through it and we have a pretty big cast here. Izayoi is as oblivious as ever and one of the characters is also super oblivious in nature which makes for some fun dialogue. On the whole this game does lean more into the shipping than some of the other Asdivine games but the core story will tide you over. It’s a good premise here and the game takes advantage of the fact that you are playing as a super powerful god this time around. You aren’t going to back down when the villains show up and that’s how it should be.

Of course the whole “I’m depowered!” trope is a bit annoying since at full power this would all be trivial but you do understand why they went in this direction since ordinarily Izayoi could just wipe everyone out. My counter would just be to make the enemies all scale up to gods though. It would be interesting to just make this a big fight between gods of all sorts of dimensions. There is still a human villain here as well but he looks really bad the whole time. Yeah he is being suckered for a good portion of the game but he was suckered too easily and it doesn’t take away from what he was doing. The guy doesn’t have a lot of strength of heart and do I don’t cut him any slack here.

The graphics are really good here as expected. I really like the way that the cosmic realm looks and of course it has one of the best tracks in the game as well. You really feel like this is a big battle to end them all. The fights are also really tough and the game notches the difficulty level a few layers higher to really make the whole thing feel authentic. No expense is spared for this game and you appreciate that. All of the tracks are excellent as you would expect too so the game really has no weak points. You definitely feel like going for the true ending as a result. I went for that right away and even with all of my level ups it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. I’ll try getting the rest of the true endings at some point.

The length is fairly standard for an Asdivine game at around 15-20 hours. You shouldn’t have a problem really diving through the game and by the time you get the platinum as well we’re definitely looking at closer to 30 hours. It’s a fun experience all the way through and well worth the price. The gameplay is top tier as always with Asdivine. The game doesn’t have some of the quality of life features that the others have but it’s got the ones that matter like battle effects and reducing enemy encounters in the wild. Then when you want to grind you can increase the encounters.

The only mechanic I never really used was Unison here. You could merge magic attacks so you do them all in one turn but then the other characters did not get a turn so I never felt like it was worth it. To me it just seemed like using your normal attacks but with more steps so why would I really need to do that? I’m sure there is some benefit but I couldn’t really figure out what it is. Just focus on leveling up and buying all of the EXP upgrades. Do that and you should be good and ready to take on any challenger. Some bosses may still take you more than one attempt but that’s normal so fight hard and just keep pressing forward!

Overall, Asdivine Menace does a great job of following up Dios and it’s a blast to see the old cast again. It would have been nice if more of the old characters could have participated as well. Maybe in a third game we would get to see the extended cast of both games team up. That would be a blast and to this day I’m waiting for an Asdivine game where the protagonists of all the games get to team up. Now there would be a game for the ages! Trust me, it would be incredible and probably a 9 star game right out of the gate. The longer we wait on doing this, the more leads there will be to crossover so I suppose that’s a plus. I definitely recommend picking up this RPG.

Overall 8/10

Asdivine Cross Review

Asdivine continues to churn out hit after hit and this is one of the better ones in a while. I thought the characters had a really good dynamic going for the most part and was one of the stronger dynamics since the original Asdivine Hearts which will still go down as one of the best RPGs of all time. This one isn’t quite ready to challenge the original of course but it’s still a very strong game all around. With classic end of the world stakes going on and all of the usual quality of life updates this is a game you don’t want to miss.

The game revolves around a thief named Harvey who is really good at what he does. So good that the son of the leader of the guild wants him out of the way and is always trying to get him captured. This time he succeeds but Harvey is broken out along with a girl who claims to be the princess of the kingdom. Problem is that a shapesifter/look-alike has taken her place so she is not currently wanted at the castle. Harvey will have to help her out since his thieves brigade’s motto is to always protect a lady at any cost. He’s not thrilled about this assignment but will do his best. Along the way the heroes will meet up with some allies and enemies as they get closer to unraveling a giant conspiracy. It wouldn’t be an Asdivine game without some cosmic threats on the way right?

Right off the bat we do have a lot of the usual quality of life features that make the games so much fun. You can reduce enemy encounters, turn off battle effects, and more to make walking around and the villain encounters more fun. Grinding up to the max level just doesn’t feel like a chore this way since you can keep on getting stronger and stronger. There are also a lot of different abilities from unity attacks to skills, magic, etc. So you can have fun building your character in a whole variety of ways until you find the one that really sticks with you. Then once you are strong enough you really feel like you can do anything. It’s one of those games where you really feel your strength as it increases which is nice.

The Asdivine series also has fun experimenting with a bunch of features to keep their games feeling different. For example one had a tree that you would raise to get stats every 8 hours, others have weapon merging to make them stronger, roulettes, combo attacks, etc. They’re always features that you don’t have to use of course but they make the game more balanced overall and I appreciate them being there. Trust me it’s a great thing to have. You’re only going to get one final smash during a battle so you have to decide if you use an offensive one that deals mega damage or a support type that restores everyone’s health and boosts their stats. Personally I really liked the support one for once because restoring everyone’s health is huge.

Grinding to get the levels also benefits you in slowly earning currency that can be used to buy online items or saved to use as an extra life mid battle. I recommend using it to buy all of the EXP upgrades and then after that it’s really up to you. I’ll typically buy other permanent upgrades but I recommend skipping on money since by the end it is inevitable that you will have more than you know what to do with. Don’t make the mistake of of wasting your coins on that since they are tough to come by. Extra lives are also super handy because even at around level 300 I was getting beat by some of the opponents. These games can really be challenging if you don’t have a plan up your sleeve.

So the story was really good and that’s one of the things I really enjoyed about the game. Sometimes these titles will go a bit too far in trying to make all of the characters very quirky and zany but this one was mainly keeping the characters feeling real. There is one that gets to be a bit too tsundere by the end which could make you shake your head a bit but otherwise the cast all interacted well. I enjoyed seeing the stakes get higher and higher as the game went on. I’m sure you will see some of the twists coming before the title ends but maybe not all of them. Either way it still makes for a fun adventure cover to cover.

The graphics here are also very solid. I always enjoy the illustrations used for each character portrait. It would be nice if the game ever went a bit farther to have some kind of cutscene during the game. That would just go a long way to making the game feel a bit more special. It’s not necessary of course but would be really effective since it hasn’t happened before. One of the highlights of the game is the soundtrack as expected. The Asdivine games always have a tremendous ost with a ton of really fast paced tunes and this one is no exception. The tracks really hit you with a lot of power in an instant and it works perfectly. I highly recommend looking up the tracks on Youtube when you finish the game.

The story is a good length at around 15 hours or so and then there is a good amount of replay value in trying to unlock all the endings. My only slight complaint here is that unlike most of the other games where you just keep reloading and fighting the main boss, for this one you actually have to play the whole game again on new game+ mode. I thought that was a bit odd and feels a little forced since it was never like that before. It’s not a big deal because you don’t have to play the game again but it seems like a way to extend the replay value a bit without needing to.

Overall, Asdivine Cross is definitely a great game. It’s an RPG that is a whole lot of fun to play. The aesthetic, combat, and soundtrack are all top notch. Kemco knows how to really get you invested into a game and they spare no expense on the fundamentals. In some ways the game will feel familiar and that just makes it even better since you know that all of the other games you’ve played in this style have been fantastic. So naturally that would be the case for this one as well. Hopefully it gets a sequel like some of the others have at some point because there is definitely a lot more you can do with this cast.

Overall 8/10

Ruinverse Review

Kemco always delivers on the top tier RPG gameplay mechanics. They have so many solid quality of life features that other titles would do well to adopt. This one is no exception and the gameplay is definitely at a high level. The only thing holding it back is that the story is definitely the weakest one yet. Mainly this is due to the script as the banter between the main characters can be rather painful. It’s the first time you will be enjoying the game in spite of the main cast.

The game starts with Kit and Allie investigating a cave. They come across a rather odd plaque and making contact with it knocks Allie out. When she wakes up she now has two souls. A mysterious guy is now trapped in her body as well and both souls can only switch when making physical contact with Kit. Naturally this is a bit of a weird scenario for the heroes but Kit figures they can find a way to split the two souls away again. In the meantime they will just have to live with this odd situation. Along the way they come into contact with a rather crazy scientist named Lexor, a talking cat/dog (Not sure exactly which animal he is. Maybe a fox?) named Toto, and a girl named Nana. Together this crew has to find the answers and save the world from demons along the way but do they have what it takes? It won’t be easy that’s for sure.

So why are the characters not all that good? Well first off you have Lexor who is absolutely obsessed with Kit’s body for medical research. One of the main problems here is that you never get to see the guy doing any actual research and there is no tangible goal in sight so he just comes off as insane the whole time. Since he is making no progress after poking and prodding Kit for so long then there just isn’t much point to the whole plot at large. It’s played off in more of a creepy way the whole time too and never gets funny particularly as Kit is begging the guy to let him go. That doesn’t make for a very humorous subplot now does it?

Then you’ve got the same thing going on with Toto and Nana. Nana is obsessed with Toto’s fur and constantly tackles him to hub the creature and pet his fur the wrong way. Toto constantly asks her to stop this but she never listens. Again it’s not funny since Toto clearly isn’t enjoying this at all. You could potentially try to make this work in an anime as we can see body language and facial expressions to maybe try and make this lighter but in a game it just doesn’t work.

The other issue with this is the repetition. It feels like over 70% of the dialogue are these two gags happening over and over and over again. There is never a break or a chance to rest after that goes on and it’s always distracting away from the story. It doesn’t matter how serious the moment is, Lexor and Nana will just keep harassing the other characters anyway and it takes you out of the moment. It definitely would have been nice if the characters had just been cut out to be honest.

There’s a decent story buried beneath all of that with Kit and Allie but it’s always brushed to the side. I did get to play through all of the endings here though so it was fun to see the various paths. Some definitely end on a rather sad note for the characters to be sure and no matter which ending you unlock, there is room for a sequel. Hopefully the characters just matured a lot since the ending so that the dynamic could be a bit better. The villains were solid enough though, they do a lot of planning and get some big moments.

Now with the gameplay we’re back to operating on a high level. The turn based combat is very smooth with minimal loading times and you can also speed the game up to triple speed at all times. Additionally you can also turn off surprise encounters in areas once you have completed them so after beating the game you can feel free to look for treasure chests and such at your leisure which is a nice feature to have. As a result the platinum trophy for this game feels like it is a very attainable one. It should only take a few hours after beating the game to unlock that one. Note that the planting trophy is the only one that will likely take you a while. You really have to wait a long while in order to grow enough plants to bloom. I had less than half of the amount I needed by the time I beat the game.

I would say the campaign is around 16-18 hours so it’s a pretty good length. There are plenty of areas here and additionally the game is also fairly difficult. I had to go up to around level 300 before I was able to complete it. Part of the reason for this is that your characters die really quickly even with some of the best armor so the only way around that is to continue bumping up your stats. I recommend opening every chest you find so that you can hopefully get some rare weapons and armor that can possibly bump up your odd a bit. Ultimately with enough time you can defeat every challenge though and that’s part of the fun of the turn based system.

For example you unlock leaves to upgrade your character’s special abilities every few levels and by growing a tree. I recommend putting all of your money into upgrading the tree since long term that will be just as handy as any upgrade that you can buy. It’s how you get a lot of passive abilities and your ultimate moves. Each character has at least one big attack that can deal several thousand points of damage in a single hit. That is what you really need for the end game. Since the characters are permanently stuck as being glass cannons here then you need to maximize the amount of attack power that you can use in a single swing. So follow that and you should be fine.

Each character has a whole lot of special attacks so it may take a while to find your favorite one but that’s a good problem to have. You can certainly approach the game in a whole lot of different ways. Meanwhile the graphics are definitely solid here. The game is clear and you can always tell what is going on at all times. The soundtrack is also pretty good with all the usual fast paced Asdivine tunes playing throughout. You have solid boss themes and so that always helps to enhance the experience. You can really tell when things are getting grand based on the music tracks.

Overall, Ruinverse may not have a particularly good set of characters this time but the gameplay is really the most pivotal aspect and the title nails that out of the park as expected. The gameplay is incredibly smooth and highly customizable so you should be able to find your favorite settings right away. From there it’s off to the races and you will probably be tempted to go for the Platinum as well at that point because you’re so close. Why not right? Then you will have done everything the game has to offer. You should absolutely pick this one up whenever you come across it.

Overall 7/10

Super Sami Roll Review

Super Sami Roll
It’s time for another quality platformer courtesy of Limited Run Games. This one’s sort of a cross between Monkey Ball and Yoshi. You’re rolling around and trying to balance but unlike the classic Monkey you can use your tongue to maneuver around the levels. Effectively this gives you a whole lot more movement options compared to what you would have otherwise had. It makes for a fun gameplay style that is easy to pick up but hard to master. You are absolutely going to need some really quick reaction times if you are planning to survive this one.

The game starts with The NFT King Albert VII kidnapping Vera so now her friend Sami has to try and stop him. Sami didn’t ask for this fight but he’s not about to walk away from it either. He is absolutely ready to claim victory here and nobody is going to get in his way. To defeat Albert he will need to destroy all of his mecha as he travel across the various lands in search of Vera. If he can manage to truly stop Albert then the war will be over but it won’t be easy. At least he has his owl friend to back him up when the going gets tough.

There isn’t much of a story overall but in line with the retro style it’s going for we do get an opening and an ending here. The quick cutscenes we get are really solid looking illustrations and I’ll always take some kind of cutscenes over nothing. At the end of the day you are absolutely playing this for the gameplay though and fortunately the game delivers throughout. The gameplay is pretty tight and at most you might miss a jump once or twice where you could have sworn that you did actually press in time. Maybe you did and maybe you didn’t…it’s going to be hard to say but otherwise the momentum and jump settings are all on point so you have a lot of control.

You have to balance going carefully with going quickly. If you go too slowly through the levels then the timer will run out and you will lose but if you go too fast then you will end up falling to your doom a lot. With the checkpoints in the middle of the level that does help you not have to worry about this quite as much but you still want to keep it in mind. I will say that the checkpoints were a very good idea because without them I dare say that things would have been very concerning here.

In terms of gameplay tips I would say to use your tongue flip as often as possible. Keep in mind that this ability is borderline overpowered at times. It will help you win a whole lot of levels because the enemies don’t have a counter for it. For example during the final castle level I just could not figure out how to get past all of the obstacles in time. So what did I do? I just broke the level by climbing using a lot of quick tongue flips and I made it to the end. I can guarantee you that this was not how you’re supposed to beat the level as I managed to skip every obstacle and stage element in the game but it worked and that’s what counts. Always master the gameplay mechanics as much as you can and in the end you are sure to surprise even the devs with just how much you can accomplish.

The ost is also really solid here. I was surprised at just how many quality tunes were in the game but they just kept popping up. Particularly the fire world at the end where all of the levels had really fun, fast paced tunes. They just kept hitting you with great tune after great tune. The other worlds had good tracks as well but that was the best one and it is a large variety here. You won’t hear too many repeats as you go through the game and so that keeps everything very well balanced. The graphics are also pretty good here. Everything is always clear and the worlds all have distinct designs. You won’t really be seeing any worlds twice since they all have an element although not every level within a world will necessarily follow that element. For example there are 2 levels following the world 1 theme in the final world which was definitely a twist. Not sure if they were extra levels that the devs just wanted to include or it was a callback.

The game’s length is fairly reasonable. There are 4 worlds here and each one has around 15 levels to complete. The levels can range from 30 seconds to 2 minutes but you also have to factor in that you will probably die a whole lot during the game. So unless you end up being a true prodigy at the title I imagine it will take you around 6 hours or so to complete it. I might be overestimating it a tad but that’s around how long it took me to beat the game. I know it was 3 batches and I think on average I played it for about 2 hours a pop. Maybe lower that to 4 hours total if you’re rounding but 4-6 at least and add or subtract time based on how quickly you go through the levels.

World 1 was certainly really easy but then after that there is a really drastic increase in difficulty which just doesn’t relent. So how long it takes you to get past World 2 will be a good indicator. For me World 3 was easily the most difficult because it’s just really hard to get past ice. The slippery surfaces make things tricky after all. If you don’t master your balance then you are definitely going to be in a really sticky situation. Note that there is also quite a lot of replay value in here as some levels have secret exits which unlock bonus levels. There is also a shop where you can buy color swaps and items but I never ended up using it during my campaign.

Overall, Super Sami Roll is a pretty good platformer. It may not have a deep story or anything like that but it gives you quite a lot of levels to go through. There aren’t many games in the Monkey Ball niche so if you’re a fan of those then you will definitely want to go and play this one as well. That series seems to have slowed down quite a lot after all so maybe we can get more Super Sami Roll games at some point. That would definitely be really nice. There is also a bonus mode you unlock by beating the game where you can play as the main heroine and fly through the levels. I’m guessing they will probably redesign the levels or make them all new because otherwise I can see the player breaking a ton of the stages. Although maybe that will be part of the fun since this is a reward for beating the game after all.

Overall 7/10

Armed Emeth Review

I wrapped up the next Kemco game just in time with the big Christmas batch coming up. This one has a lot of the fun parts of the Kemco formula but it also dropped some of the fun quality of life features that had always made these games stand apart. As a result I would not call this the strongest title in the lineup but you’ll still have a good time with this one. You’ll also feel the RPG horror of maxing all of your characters to level 99 but still being unable to defeat some of the bosses. Whenever that happens you know things are getting tricky.

You play as a guy who is a golem bounty hunter. Basically it’s like being a normal bounty hunter but he also goes after golems and will use them in order to fight. Think of them as old time mech suits that you can use to dish out a whole lot of damage. Well one day he comes across a Golem/Human hybrid who says that the hero’s mother has been kidnapped by an evil organization. The two weren’t particularly close but the hero still can’t let this stand. He will have to trust this golem for now and head out. Along the way he will meet a bunch of allies who are here to help him out for when the going gets tough.

The game does utilize the golems into the gameplay which I thought was a good idea. It helps make the story hit a bit more since you actually see what it’s like to be fighting in a mech. As you can probably guess the mechs help you deal a whole lot more damage than when you are out of it. One thing that I liked is when you r mech is destroyed you can keep fighting as a human rather than instantly dying as well. It is almost like having a second health bar. The golems also have their own equipment and everything so you want to train for them in addition to your actual character. They don’t have level ups though so you don’t need to worry about that.

As I mentioned, getting to Level 99 is not enough for you to win every fight. It helps a lot but the best equipment on the block is something that you will need in order to get further. Additionally it helps to buy items from the store that increase your stats. It takes a while to earn the shop currency though so make each purchase count. I recommend buying the double EXP items as soon as you can though, you can worry about the rest once you’re actually level 99 and not before. You have your basic attacks, supers, and combo moves here as well. It’s a classic turn based combat strategy and you should pick it up before long.

The game is reasonably long although there is a bit less replay value than usual. I ended up platinuming the game right after beating it which is certainly rare. There were still a few more guild missions to complete that weren’t needed for the platinum though so that’s always something that you could do for the championship. Just saying, it is definitely an effective way to go about it! Not like you need that though, the main game is still long enough where you’ll feel the value was worth the price.

One thing that’s missing here is unfortunately the characters don’t have illustrations for the cutscenes. Usually you see a character portrait which is nice because it stands out and you get to see how the characters are meant to look outside of the sprite. This one just goes back to normal text so there are no cinematic cutscenes like that. I feel like they’re a benefit so I would have liked to have kept that. In some ways this one just feels a bit older than some of the others. The map is unlabeled so sometimes it can be extremely difficult to know where you are going. I got lost on several occasions which was unfortunate.

A map is really important in any big adventure game like this so I was hoping it could have been better. Ah well, most of the other quality of life features were here like the auto battle and speeding up effects. So it’s not like it lost all the charm or anything like that, it could have gone a bit higher but I can’t really say much in the end. The gameplay itself is still a lot of fun after all.

The graphics are good even f they’re missing illustrations and of course the soundtrack is great as always. These Kemco games always have incredible soundtracks so I was not surprised that this one was also really good. There are a ton of great fast paced themes all throughout the game. So you’ll never find a slow moment here. The game’s story always feels like something is happening so you’ll be engaged all the way through.

Overall, I may have had some issues with the game like removing the illustrations and having a map with no locations marked on it but it still had all of the core fundamentals that I would expect from a Kemco game. I appreciated the smooth gameplay here and the series in general is always just very enjoyable to read. I’d recommend picking this one up if you’ve liked the other games by them. These are almost like light novels where the titles may be shorter than a normal RPG but they still pack a punch regardless.

Overall 7/10

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic Review

This was always one of the most well known Star Wars games. It’s pretty much a living legend and for good reason as it is a very detailed action RPG with a ton of mechanics and a detailed story. I would say it lives up to the hype as I had a blast with it. Get ready for a very difficult final level though, the more you train the better.

The game starts off by introducing us to the main character who has amnesia and is aboard a republic ship that is crashing for some reason. He manages to escape with Carth, a reputable republic soldier. They end up rescuing a Jedi Warrior known as Bastila and the three of them have a very uneasy alliance. The main objective is to stop the Sith and to do that they need to find out how the villains have amassed such an unending army. There has to be foul play at work here but finding the source of that won’t be easy. The only clue they have to go on is something called the Star Forge but what that is remains a mystery.

Right away one of the things I enjoyed about the game is all of the dialogue options. You can constantly act like a jerk, take the nice guy approach, or just go for pure chaos. The dialogue options also have a big impact on the game itself so it’s not like you’re just fluffing out the game length. I ended up not getting to recruit two members to the team because I didn’t say the right things. The ending was also very different because of the route I went. It helps to make the whole experience feel a lot more authentic to me.

The story here is also very long so you can expect to be playing this game for a long while. There is a lot of time for the characters to develop and there are tons of side quests and extra content to play. For the most part I stuck to the main story beats but you could easily add several hours onto the play time if you want to go and explore. It can also be useful for EXP as this is one game where it’s not so easy to grind. Most worlds don’t allow enemies to respawn once you defeat them so you will be stuck after you have defeated them all. I recommend beating as many enemies as you can.

The gameplay is pretty much that of an auto battler where you keep changing the moves as they fight. Think of it like you’re the head coach and the fighters have to do whatever you tell them. I would have liked to actually do the battling myself so that part of the gameplay can be a little weak. The whole “Let the A.I. decide what to do” angle usually isn’t really my thing. That said, I would say the game has a good amount of polish to it so it works out well enough. There is definitely a whole lot of depth to this system as well.

Whenever you level up you get to decide which stats and skills to increase. It’s a bit overwhelming with the amount of options so usually I would do the auto level and just let the computer decide. This can make the end of the game even more difficult so it may be worth researching what the optimal build is. Of course it can be fun to just go with your gut so choose the option that seems like it will be the most enjoyable and you can’t go wrong there.

The graphics really hold up here. I like the designs of the levels and characters. Then the actual combat looks good too and it’s all got a very distinctive style to it. It really holds up while playing this port. I also liked the soundtrack well enough although it doesn’t stand out as it’s mainly the kind of Star Wars themes you’d expect to hear. Perhaps they are iconic but at this point you’ve really heard them all before.

The character cast is one of the biggest strengths here. The main character gets a lot of development and of course because you can decide how he develops then that makes the whole game more interesting too. In fact, your choices even determine how you will fight the final boss which is massive. I had to break out all of the cheese strategies for him including using some rather villainous tactics. Look, this guy was going to keep regenerating all of his health over and over so I had to put a top to that. I succeeded and then ran away a while to regain my strength. The final boss ended up being really long but I won in the end so that’s what counts right?

The game also has some quality of life features that I would highly recommend using. For starters you can save the game anywhere. I highly advise having several backup slots at different points so you don’t get stuck. There is one game breaking bug after all which I got trapped in but fortunately I had a backup save just a few minutes away. In one of the final temples just save a lot because the glitch room is the one where there are two light towers. I can’t say I remember the exact planet though so just keep your guard up.

Then for the final boss, don’t be afraid to just run a lot. It may take a while but you’ll win in the end and that’s what counts. The Star Forge itself is incredibly difficult but one thing you should know is that the enemies actually aren’t endless. After a bunch of waves they do finish so just heal up and save between waves. Eventually you will beat them and can move forward. It had to be one of the most challenging final areas I’ve played through in a long while so it felt nice knocking that one out.

As for the other characters, Carth was one of the big ones. I like how he can’t really trust anyone and always seems like he’s about to pick a fight. The guy may not use the Force but he can defend himself and knows how to fight. He was responsible for a lot of the great banter along with Bastila. Bastila is a Jedi who is very by the books so naturally she tends to have a lot of disagreements with the main character since I tend to be more on the impulsive side. I would say the script was always at its best when these 3 were fighting.

Then you also had characters like Canderous the Mandalorian who naturally didn’t get along with Carth due to their respective backstories. Malak also made for a good villain. He perhaps gets a little overshadowed by some of the heroes but he was a very imposing presence all the same. There are a lot of other characters who get big roles here so you’ll want to play the game to see them. The game is also long enough where you really feel like you’ve gone on a full adventure by the end of it.

Overall, This is a great Star Wars game that you don’t want to miss out on. You feel like you were watching a movie here and this could really be adapted for the big screen. It was definitely a lot of fun playing it on the Switch and I can also confirm that it’s the hardest one that I’ve played. An RPG with limited leveling up functionality is definitely not something to take lightly. That said, just fight smart and have a lot of backup saves. You’ll be just fine by the end of it and if you absolutely need to, you’ll be able to go back and level up. Just don’t use up all your saves in the final dungeon because then there really is no way out!

Overall 8/10

Blacksmith of the Sand Kingdom Review

Kemco has delivered quite a lot of amazing hits over the years and this one is no different. It’s definitely very different from their other titles in a few ways which I’ll get into, but it nails it. This is really trying to cross the classic RPG style with more of a gathering game you’d think of for mobile or online gaming. It works really well in doing so.

So the game follows a kid named Volker. His father died in an accident a while back and so he had to start running the blacksmithing operation on his own. At the same time he always wanted to be an adventurer though and is at a cross roads. Fortunately his best friend says she will man the shop while he is away and a fairy also shows up to help out. Now Volker can focus on being the best in both fields and along the way he may uncover some conspiracies. At the end of the day he wants to keep his kingdom safe, whether it is through creating equipment for them or by clearing quests. Will he be able to do this?

The game’s hub world has several areas including the shop, mission area, infirmary, food store, the arena, the dungeons, and the workplace. Each area has tasks that you can do once a day. For example you can enter a dungeon once a day and you can eat once a day. When you are ready to go to the next day you can head home and build a lot of equipment to sell which triggers the end of the day. The typical flowchart here is that you will complete a bunch of ordinary missions which involve building things for people until you get a story mission. The first story mission is always to investigate a dungeon which means getting to the final floor. The second story mission will be to fight a boss at the end of it.

The story missions are unlocked by completing a lot of normal missions. There are 296 missions in the game and you need to complete almost all of them in order to unlock the final story mission so prepare yourself. While combat is important, just as important is having a lot of materials at the ready so that you can build things as needed. Each time you complete a dungeon you unlock new materials. Also be sure to stop at every store each day in order to trigger cutscenes that move the story forward.

As you can probably guess, this means you will be moving around a lot. You will also have to spend a lot of time crafting weapons and shifting materials from one form to the next. There isn’t a lot of downtime here, you’re always just pressing on to the next thing. You gotta be ready for that without a doubt. It’s more fun than it sounds though so you’ll like it. At the very least I get a kick out of it. You usually have to do this kind of thing in mobile games and it can take hours sometimes as you have to allocate resources and then just wait it out. If you’re not used to that kind of thing then it may seem tedious. I would go as far as to say that this is the tipping point of the game. Whether you love it or not will depend on how much you enjoy crafting objects.

Trust me, you’ll be crafting a lot too. I nearly completed the 100% secret gallery (Made it to 97%) by the time I beat the game because I had to cook so much. Also, the game is difficult. I had all my guys maxed out at level 99 and I still barely beat the final boss. In a sense this is because I didn’t fully master the different concepts in the game. There are just so many from the prayers you use before battle to the orbs you equip to each piece of your equipment. Each character can choose 2 classes out of 12 in order to build a solid formation and each formation can be altered. There are also active and passive skills that you have to choose.

That sounded like a lot? Well it’s even more imposing while playing. So I did my best and crafted a team strategy that I thought sounded good but if there had been any more bosses then I may have had to rethink that a bit. They really were quite difficult and the final boss took over 30 minutes. It doesn’t help that a lot of the bosses like to heal themselves or summon an infinite amount of minions. You often have to decide whether to go for them or the minion first. Each strategy has its ups and downs in that respect.

Also, they love going for the paralyze option and if that happens then your character can’t attack for 3 turns. Definitely watch out for that since it gets really tricky. The challenge never feels unfair or broken though. You’re always left with the thought that you could have assembled your team better in order to win. So as you can tell I liked this game quite a lot. It’s just a very great all around experience and there’s so much to have fun with. I very nearly got all the trophies along the way.

Now if the game has a weakness it’s that there isn’t much of a story for about 90% of the game. There are hintings at one for a while of course but it never really happens until you’re at about the climax. Then we get a cosmic being and some nice action but it’s all at the very end. It’s clear that the story wasn’t really the focus here. The focus was definitely on the whole harvesting/gathering aspect of the game. It’s a fun aspect of course so I’m glad that they handled it well but a nice story would have been fun to have too. As it is the cast is incredibly small since the rest of your party is made up. Because of that there are just a few characters around the hub world and a villain or two.

Finally, the way the equipment works is a bit too time consuming if you ask me. So here’s how it goes, when you want to change equipment you go to the screen as normal except you can’t see your current weapon’s stats compared to the one you are equipping. As a result you have to switch screens a lot to make sure you’re getting the right one. Upgrading a weapon or transferring effects also takes you to a screen with tons of weapons so you have to make sure that you’re grabbing the right one. The equipment part could be a bit of a pain so in the end I just ended up going for the ones that had the highest stats and called it a day instead of always looking to optimize. It just was not very user friendly.

Naturally the graphics are solid here. I like the illustrations and the levels look good. I wouldn’t say it feels as dynamic or polished as the Asdivine Hero titles but it still looks good enough. Meanwhile the soundtrack is good. There are some solid tunes here although a lot of the battles are so fast that you won’t get to hear it much. I tend to have the team set to auto battle in most fights because manually battling takes forever in this game. If they can’t handle the battle then I take the wheel as needed. Another small thing I like about the game is that there are keyboard shortcuts for everything and you move faster than the villains. So if you don’t want to fight some minions then you don’t have to. It’s the quality of life features like this that always put Kemco at the top.

Overall, Blacksmith of the Sand Village is definitely a great game. The way the very game is developed does mean that it won’t be for everyone though. I just get the feeling that not everyone is going to want to be spending some hours crafting equipment over and over which is understandable. It’s just so smooth and enjoyable though that you don’t even notice. I ended up having a very good time with the game without a doubt and would love to see a sequel. Just give us more of a story next time.

Overall 8/10

Miden Tower Review

Miden is the latest Kemco game and goes back to the roots of their original rpgs. It has all of the solid gameplay customizations at the ready like skipping battles you don’t need and things like that. I’ll go into it more later but mix that in with one of the best plots I’ve seen in a while and you definitely have a winner here. This is one of those games that would be nice to see a sequel for.

The story starts with a village being burned to the ground as most of these RPGs seem to start off with. The government in this game appears to be on the evil side as they slaughter everyone and so the last remnants of humanity quickly build a tower and hide in there. Using teleportation technology and magic to prevent people from warping in, the people have lived in peace for a while now. Well, one day the villains start appearing in the tower. Peace is no longer a guarantee and so the heroes must find the villains and the source of their entrance to put a stop to this.

We then cut to our main character who is quite unique. Valen had to personally watch his friends and family get destroyed, he has sworn revenge on the army. Every day he heads out to destroy a bunch of them and head home. His entire motivation and reason for existing is revenge which is definitely not healthy. One day he bites off more than he can chew and comes near death only to be saved when he summons a sentient wall to save him. Her name is Leila and she is different from most magic creatures in this land. See, most of them have to listen to the summoner at all times and don’t have creative thoughts or the ability to resist. None of that applies to Leila though. She has control of her own and makes her own choices. Still, she does want to protect Valen even if she does not agree with his whole quest for revenge. She aims to get him to mellow out by the end of all this.

The graphics are classic Kemco from start to finish. You have a lot of bright character designs and different level designs. They all appear very familiar so I wouldn’t be surprised if they are starting to reuse assets from previous games. I can’t really blame them if that is the case though since it’s efficient and ultimately it doesn’t affect the story. As long as the story is good that’s the important thing and the graphics are solid either way.

As for the soundtrack it’s nothing all that special but the tunes are always fun. These games always have a very specific style to them where you can recognize the music immediately. That’s the case with this game as well so you feel rather pumped to be starting on the adventure. The soundtrack isn’t large but we do get a new theme for the final boss which was nice. All in all the game succeeds massively on the technical side as expected.

As for the gameplay, there isn’t a lot to explain here. It’s your classic turn based RPG. You attack with physical blows, magic, or special skills. You keep on fighting until you take the opponents down. On the hub world you run around until you get to the very end. You also have a pot where you can throw ingredients in to get other items from time to time. There are several trophies for making a lot of items so I recommend always having a bunch cooking at the same time since it helps a lot for later on. Ultimately you’re doing this more for the trophies than for its effects.

Now I mentioned the gameplay customization before. So here’s how it goes, first off you can turn off battle effects. When you have to level grind, it can feel a bit long to see the attacks over and over again in each battle. When you turn the effects off, you just see a flash for every attack but they keep on attacking. That saves a lot of time right off the bat. Then you can also increase the speed of combat from X1 all the way to X3. That makes a difference too. Following up on that, you can turn off battles against enemies that are weaker than you. You know how in most RPGs you have to keep getting encounters with level 1 monsters and beating them is only a formality since the victor is never in doubt? You don’t have to worry about those here.

These are gameplay improvements I’d like to see more games pull off but Kemco seems like the only ones who have done this to date. It’s why I consider them as masters of the RPG genre. There are also orbs in each area that you can activate after beating it to stop encounters all together. Need to back track for treasure chests? Well at least you won’t have monsters jumping out at you all the time. Considering that one trophy is for walking 50,000 steps, I thought this was a very considerate option of the game since it at least makes this feat rather painless. Otherwise that would just take forever. Even now that is one of the only trophies left that I haven’t obtained for that reason.

Then what really helped the game get to the next level for me was the solid story. Lately some of the Kemco games have had more down to Earth stories with slightly smaller stakes. Well, this one goes back to being a grand story. The character development for Valen is good as he goes from only wanting revenge to being more of a reasonable guy. It’s an effective character arc. Now some scenes can be a bit cheesy with him but at the end of the day he does his best. The origin is also quite sad so you can see how he became so revenge driven.

Leila is also a good character and I thought she handled the situation well. She didn’t suddenly jump in and tell Valen to start saving everyone but gradually got him to escape from the cycle of violence. It’s very Naruto style with how the characters point out that murdering people will just continue the cycle. Ultimately this allows Valen to be the bigger man here and look the other way when it comes time to make a choice.

As for length, the game is a bit on the shorter side. I would definitely say it is one of Kemco’s shorter titles as you should blast right through it. There isn’t much of a post game as you should have that beaten in about an hour or so. Granted, it went by so fast in part because I grinded my character levels to over 500 so I was able to beat most opponents in an instant. The secret ending is good though and way more satisfying than the normal one. That wouldn’t have been a great way to end the adventure. The platinum trophy is quite easy to get so I recommend trying to give it a go.

Overall, Miden Tower is definitely a very solid game. I think it’s the closest we’ve gotten to a game on the Asdivine Hearts series. That is still my all time favorite from Kemco but this would certainly be in second. It’s just got a great story and of course a lot of amazing video game mechanics. Kemco certainly brought out the A team here and I look forward to seeing which adventure they churn out next. If you don’t have this game yet, I’d recommend purchasing it asap!

Overall 8/10

Alphadia Genesis Review

Kemco has returned and this is easily the best story they’ve churned out since the original Asdivine Heart games. We’re back to having a lot of twists, a grand end of the world story, and a colorful cast of characters. The game certainly gets rather serious and the heroes are put to their limits but at the end the day you know teamwork is what will be the decisive factor here. The game’s only main weakness is there are still less customizable game options than in the Asdivine games and there are quite a few dead spots. More on that later.

The game starts off right away by explaining that the two kingdoms of the world are getting ready to come up with an answer to the clones issue. Right now there is a debate on if all clones should be put in stasis since they are too dangerous or to continue to allow them free roam. Recently there have been instances of clones attacking and even murdering people. An investigative team is created using two people from each kingdom. Fray and Aurra from one with Walter and Corune making up the other group. They run into a clone named Enah and add her to the party as well. Is someone deliberately making clones look bad or is there a real security risk?

I can’t say I was expecting a game about clones, it is a much more futuristic world than I had expected. It’s a fun change of pace though and the Kemco games really are all quite unique. Naturally when it comes to this debate I’m immediately against the idea of putting everyone into stasis. It seems like an overreaction to me and you’d have a very hard time of ever convincing me that every clone should be taken down for the actions of a few. The dilemma here is interesting though as the clones are cybernetic meaning that they can be hacked. So the heroes need to find a way to prevent that from being possible but don’t even know if that’s the cause.

As mentioned, I enjoyed the cast here quite a bit. Fray is the main character and he’s your classic RPG hero. He can be oblivious a lot of the time but always tries to do the right thing. He’s not quite as intense as Zack from Asdivine but Fray has a lot of good moments and a solid character arc. He does go through a very rough patch during the second half of the game but that doesn’t last too long.

Aurra is Fray’s little sister and she’s a scientist but can still fight when needed. Without her the heroes would have definitely been in a bit of a jam on more than one occasion. She certainly enjoys trolling Fray a lot of the time. Enah is the clone who joined the group and as she literally woke up yesterday she doesn’t know a whole lot for most of the game and learns with the characters. I’d have liked her to have known more about the world but as it stands her character was executed well.

Grande is a tough gang leader or at least so it seems at the start but for the most part he seems like a good guy. The town likes the group and it seems like they’re a bunch of people who do good things but don’t want to take credit for it. Grande looks out for his men and makes for a good addition to the cast. Then you have Corune as the main heroine. With her title as the War Princess you can bet that she fights quite a lot. It’s always good to have another fighter on board and she does well.

Finally you have Walter who loses so many times in the game that it might be a record. His thing is that he likes Corune but she likes Fray so he is always jealous. He probably makes 50+ attempts to get her to notice him but this always fails. His streak of losing is so exaggerated that it becomes funny after a while. Naturally this is leading up to a character arc but don’t expect things to ever go very well for him.

From all of the Kemco games this one may have had the most romance. You have Aurra and one of the villains who shows up, the triangle with Fray, Corune, and Walter, then Fray and another girl who shows up near the end. I was glad the final one didn’t really go anywhere (As of the normal ending) though because that would have felt like a very big rebound. There are some circumstances that make this unique but I still don’t think it would have been a good idea. The main romance isn’t too bad I suppose, at least it’s given a whole lot of time to develop. It’s why Aurra’s romance with the villain isn’t nearly as good since it doesn’t have that kind of development.

Now when it comes to the gameplay you have the excellent turn based system that Kemco games are known for. It certainly does not disappoint here. The fights are fast and the attack animations are on point. You can’t turn them off this time around but you can still use auto battle which is good at least. The A.I. is a step down from other games though so you won’t want to rely on it too much. There isn’t a whole lot of grinding needed to complete the game this time around though so that’s not much of an issue. You will just need to use a lot of good tactics as you decide how to play each battle.

I found the status effect moves to be really helpful in this game. I would usually run a status combination for my first 4 turns. (Attack up, Defense up, Enemy attack down, Speed up) That would set me up really well for the next attack. As for the hub world, your characters move really quickly which is good. You can also set a speed formation which lets you run away from pretty much any battle because your character should always move first. Now that is what I’d call an extremely useful formation.

Now what did I mean about dead zones? Well, there are quite a few times in the game where a cutscene will end and you know a boss fight is coming up. The issue is that at this point in the game you cannot leave the castle to go train. So your only option is to fight the boss but if you aren’t strong enough to win then you will be stuck. Your only option is to start the game over from the beginning. That’s what a true dead zone is and this game has quite a few of them. I ended up having 3 files going on at the same time as backups just in case. On one occasion this saved me because there was no way I could have possibly beaten the boss without a lot of level ups.

A dead zone is really a design issue. I think it means this game could have used a little more playtesting. I definitely would have been dismayed if I had to restart the game after being near the end but fortunately that didn’t happen. Beyond that, one element that’s a bit weaker than the other games is that you can’t land your airship just anywhere here. You have to land in the water so you will often have to walk a bit more than would usually be necessary. Not a big deal or anything but it just feels like a really random change. I don’t see why the airship was changed from all of the other games.

As always the graphics are definitely on point here. The level designs are great and I like all of the different attack animations. The character designs are good too so I have no issues here. Naturally the soundtrack is also great with all of the usual catchy beats you find in these games. This one definitely doesn’t falter and you will really enjoy the boss theme.

As for replay value, well the game does have a post game story for the true ending. The main campaign took me almost 20 hours so I imagine the post game will probably be around 1-3 hours of bonus content. I’m sure it will be difficult as well so throw in some extra time for grinding and this is a game that should last you for quite a bit. A lot of story happens throughout so you should be satisfied. You can also go after the Platinum which doesn’t look all that difficult for this game. That would be a fun way to get some extra play time in.

Overall, Alphadia Genesis is definitely a great game. The story is engaging and really tackles some pretty intense themes. The story can be happy, dark, light, serious, etc. As an RPG it succeeds in really telling a complete story from start to finish. Throw in a likable group of characters and you have an adventure to remember. While the dead zones get tricky and parts of the gameplay aren’t quite up to Asdivine level, it’s close enough where it doesn’t hurt the title. Even if it’s not a 100% replica, Kemco games are so far ahead of the curve that this one is as well. I’d definitely be up for a sequel to this game regardless of how the true ending plays out. Seeing the characters again would be fun.

Overall 8/10