Thanks to KEMCO for the review code
Title: Bonds of the Skies
System: 3DS (eShop)
Release Date: 11/09/2017
In this RPG adventure from Hit-Point (The Developers of the fantastic Justice Chronicles) you take control of a young orphaned boy who sets out on a quest to save the world after being helped by a mysterious creature known as a Grimoa. The story isn’t as engaging as Justice Chronicles, but it does get the job done, even if the overall plot feels fairly cookie cutter for a RPG.
Ditching the generic feel of the earlier EXE Create games by continuing to use the higher quality sprites Hit-Point is known for, Bonds of the Skies sticks to the traditional JRPG structure of an overworld and dungeons. The bottom screen still functions the same as it did in the Justice Chronicles, displaying a map showing the locations of resources and items, while the battle screens and menu layout are very similar in appearance. The only difference that is worth commenting on comes from how fuzzy the overworld map looks in this game, since it looks a lot more jagged than the character sprites do.
Similar to Justice Chronicles, Bonds of the Skies operates on a quest based system, where following the main story in a linear fashion will lead to the next main quest, all as the story progresses and you gain new party members. Pretty much the majority of things that I mentioned in the Justice Chronicles review apply here, save for a few things that have been changed or removed between games, such as the lack of a difficulty select (though the normal difficulty is balanced enough to be enjoyable without being too easy or hard) and the dungeons not being nearly as interesting as those in Chronicles.
These faults can be forgiven to an extent, however as on Mobile platforms Bonds of The Skies launched before Justice Chronicles, so it makes sense that these choices would feel like a step back for the 3DS audience. Nevertheless, battles move by at a decent pace, and you’re still able to speed them up with the Y button, and using materials to craft new items is still a thing, along with using the Grimoa as secondary party members to allow for special skills.
All in all, Bonds feels like a beta version of Justice Chronicles, just with a different story and some things being not as refined as they were in that fantastic title. This is still a very fun and solid RPG that is enjoyable to play, but coming out after Justice Chronicles just makes this game feel like something that should have been out sooner or at a lower price, as for the same amount of money you can get Hit-Point’s stellar 2016 release, which includes most of the elements contained in this game while refining them and adding a lot more fun to the mix. As for this game, it just feels like a paint by numbers RPG, but with a lot more soul than most of the early EXE Create games. I give Bonds of The Skies a 7 out of 10, and you can check out the eShop page for this title right here.