23rd Jul2019

‘Archlion Saga’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

switch-archlion-saga

Originally released as a mobile title, Archlion Saga bills itself as an easily completable JRPG (within 2-4 hours) for people who don’t have the time to dig into a full-length romp. Whilst the idea is admirable, in action it would probably only appeal to absolute, young newcomers (although the game is strangely rated ‘12’, and for no reason that I can see) and people who love a brief time killer. Really, this game should be titled ‘Archlion Sojourn’

Archlion Saga is a typical (and VERY typical for Kemco) top-down RPG split into adventure and combat scenarios. The story begins with your player-named character (although his auto-populated name is, tellingly, ‘Leon’) looking after his sick mother. She has ‘the mark of the serpent’ which usually foretells death in a short time unless the Archilion King can slay the serpent, which it usually does every thousand years. Within minutes, our young hero travels off through five chapters, gaining followers and attempting to save his dear old mum.

Visually and sonically fine (the music is especially really jaunty and catchy, in fact), the issue here is that the story is generic and not only is the length of the game truncated but every possible aspect of gameplay that detracts from the advancement of the main plot is completely removed. This means no side quests, no secrets and no value in exploration. There is a button that shows you the path you need to follow in order to progress and you may as well have it switched on at all times as there’s no point in deviating from this track. I actually enjoyed the first hour or so because of its brevity but the battles become tiresome patterns after a while, simplified as they are because your characters have such specific traits and skills that boil down to attack / heal. The final bosses especially were tedious and the ‘auto-battle’ button is useless, usually resulting in your party’s death due to the stupidity of the automation. Upon death, you can either retry the battle or use one of your collectible stars to continue. Ah yes, the stars…

As this is a port to the Switch of a mobile game and as such, previously had ‘in-app purchases’ I have a strong feeling that Archilion Saga was designed to be short and easy, with no grind points so that players would assume all Kemco games are like this in an attempt to suck them into the other games which require far more time (or finances) to complete. Call me cynical but this (on mobile at least) is almost a taster of their other games which I’ve had previous experience with (see Alvastia Chronicles)

To summarise, Archlion Saga is a mobile port of a paywall-featuring JRPG and is marginally better that previous ones because it is designed to be simple and brief and as such the design flaws in removing a paywall (massively overpowering the characters and drastically altering the mechanics and difficulty) is not an issue. That said, I am still not sure who would be the target demographic for the game. If you want a title that you can complete in a short time and mindlessly plow through then this genuinely is the game for you. For everyone else? Probably one to skip.

Archlion Saga is available on the Nintendo eShop now from KEMCO.

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