28th Feb2019

‘Alvastia Chronicles’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

alvastia-screen

I watched the trailer for Alvastia Chronicles and was looking forward to reviewing it not only because it seemed like a safe, old-fashioned 8-bit JRPG I could play on the Switch… but because the main character, this unknown hero from an alternate fantasy landscape… was called Alan. That was what drew me to it.

I’ll start with the good, Alvastia Chronicles is a pretty standard narrative of good vs evil based around two siblings whose parents were killed by demons, leaving them orphaned and to be raised by the elder of their village. Fast forward ten years and the demons have returned and the brother / sister duo set out to put a stop to their nonsense. So far so straightforward, apart that is from the borderline sexual relationship between the characters, cemented by the moment in the game where, upon leaving the village, the Elder literally walks up to them, turns to the girl and pretty much nudges her in the ribs and says, “Eh-eh, you fancy your brother and we all know it”. I feel pretty comfortable in saying that at some point in the later game (I didn’t make it that far), they find out that they aren’t blood relatives and so it’s OK for them to fancy each other a la The Dark Eye: Demonicon.

Alvastia Chronicles is not a good game, it became apparent after only a few minutes that it was a mobile port, the tell-tale signs were there in the garish, overly ‘zoomed in’ visuals which were clearly meant for a mobile device and are too chunky and bright on a full-size screen (I genuinely couldn’t play it in docked mode because it was hurting my eyes, I could only deal with it as a portable title) with only the font re-jigged so that it’s readable. The second clue that this was a mobile port was when I started getting randomised loot boxes and powered up companions as well as constant upgrade opportunities thrown at me with loads of tutorials on how to get better items and equipment from most characters that I bumped into in the game. Yes, this was definitely a mobile game with the paywall ripped out, thus completely unbalancing everything about it. This meant that, instead of being in a situation whereby I would be playing a generic JRPG with random battles and turn-based fights on my phone, coming up against enemies that require hours of grinding to pass… or I could just pay my way through, everything is there for the taking and I’m taking down entire groups of enemies in one hit within minutes of starting the game.

If you are a die-hard fan of this genre and completely ignore the unlocked paywall element of the game, it will be a grind-heavy, bog-standard title with a focus on quantity of time over quality of time. Or perhaps you like the thought of just churning through enemies, being massively overpowered from the start, removing all challenge and powering through again, a pretty generic story… this is for you. For anyone else this is difficult to recommend. Not even the hero being called Alan could save this for me.

Now, an excerpt from The Dark Eye: Demonicon

“You know you think I’m your brother?”
“yes…”
“and you fancy me”
“…yes”
“and we’ve been raised together for the last twenty years as brother and sister”
“Yes”
“Well….it turns out that we aren’t related so we can properly fancy each other now”
“Ah, fewf, for a second I thought this would be weird”
“No, it’s completely fine”

Alvastia Chronicles is available on the Nintendo eShop now from KEMCO.

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