Thanks to KEMCO for the review code
Title: Alvastia Chronicles
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 02/14/2019
In this RPG adventure from EXE-Create, you take control of Alan, a mute who sets out with his sister in order to stop the monsters responsible for his parents’ death and save the world from a terrible evil! It starts off as a simplistic story, akin to prior efforts, but slowly grows into something a little competent, indicating that there was some clear effort placed into the story this time around.
Having reviewed nearly 10 Kemco RPGs at this point, the presentation of an EXE Create game is one I’ve restated several times by now, and not much has changed with Alvastia. While this is more similar in look to Dragon Sinker, it does retain some elements of their 16-bit entries, with aspects such as the character artwork and in-game cutscenes, along with music that isn’t quite as repetitive as in Dragon Sinker, with much better 8-bit melodies.
Alvastia Chronicles plays like your typical Kemco RPG, where the main goal is to complete objective after objective in the main story in order to proceed onwards, while building up your party and also going after sidequests along the way. Combat is done in a very similar way to Dragon Sinker and several other EXE Create RPGS, with how your character has their own party of allies to back them up, with more opening up as you explore the world. In fact, there’s over 100 of them, and depending on who you have assigned as your companions, differing skills become available. It’s still the same usual combat you come to expect by now, but this Suikoden-esque method of gaining new skills and party members is an interesting experiment to say the least.
Besides the usual that I’ve stated time and time again, there’s also a few odd quirks about this game in particular. For starters, this game is a very slow paced game compared to some other recent EXE Create titles. Battles are fine and speedy, but moving in the overworld feels like it takes an eternity, and the inability to adjust the encounter rate to either raise or lower it just feels like a big step back after what was seen in more recent RPGs. Thankfully, you can still speed up the text and battles at the very least.
But it turns out, that isn’t entirely true. While there doesn’t seem to be an item to reduce encounter rate in the in-game premium shop that you can purchase by grinding the usual in-game currency, there is paid $2 DLC that will introduce an option in the options menu to adjust the encounter rate, the very same sort of option that’s part of several other Kemco RPGs to begin with. This is just absolutely absurd and has no reason to be a paid add-on instead of a mainstay to begin with.
Granted, while being able to adjust the encounter rate at will still won’t fix the pacing and overall unenjoyable movement speed, outside of being able to grind a lot faster. I find it pretty insulting that this feature was changed to be a paid item when there’s no reason for it to be that way at all.
In conclusion, Alvastia Chronicles is yet another EXE Create RPG, yet one without much of the QOL features or any real engagement that Revenant Dogma or Dragon Sinker had, feeling more akin to the older EXE Create RPGS like Alphadia. The fact that a few of the usual features such as adjusting the encounter rate and movement speed has been relegated to microtransactions comes off as very questionable, since prior Kemco games with them never really felt like something that was pushed on the player or even required to enjoy the game more.
Unfortunately, that combined with a very slow paced game just leaves this as an RPG you’re better off skipping in favor of higher quality RPGs on the same store. Still, I do hope that since more of the 8-bit EXE Create RPGs are being ported, the more promising titles such as Dragon Lapis follow suit as well, instead of more medicore titles such as this that come off as a step back from the other Kemco RPGS for sale.
I give Alvastia Chronicles a 5 out of 10, and the store page for the game is here.