Release Date: 04.12.2018
After dying in a particularly OP random battle encounter, and with no other option than to return to the main title screen, I was distraught to discover I had been returned to an area I visited over an hour ago. In fact, it was the last place that I manually saved. One thing lacking from this game is a functioning auto save feature, so before we go any further I will give you three pieces of advice. Save, save and save.
To anybody who has played a JRPG before, Asdivine Hearts should be quite simple to pick up. It doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. And that’s a good thing. Asdivine Hearts main strength is its simplicity in execution. Along with the stunning artwork, gorgeous soundtrack and charming, at times silly story, the game is very easy to pick up and play. The battle system is turn based, like 99.99% of games of this type, and the player is offered the usual blend of attack, magic and specials along with the ability to use items.
The over-world is a mix between Zelda 2 and Pokemon. Towns appear as Sprites smaller than the main protagonist, Zack, who you control, and the area loads when you walk onto them. Battles appear at random when walking in the over-world. There also isn’t an option to run so levelling up happens at a significant rate. Because of this, I never felt that I had to grind in order to pass a certain area or boss.
The sprite art in this game is its standout feature. The developer, Kemco, promised stunning graphics and the art style is absolutely gorgeous. Any JRPG worth its salt needs a good mix of melodic tunes for the lower moments, as well as upbeat music for battles. Asdivine Hearts has both in abundance.
Dig out those reading glasses as their is a fair amount of in game dialogue and no voice acting. Not the biggest problem but still enough to take away from the ebb and flow of the experience.
The game’s plot revolves around the immutable conflict of light and dark. A year prior to the start of our protagonists adventure, the seemingly evil dark deity has cast the light deity from their realm and set into motion his own mysterious motives. The two deities are godlike figures who control the balance of everything in the world. With the light deity cast aside, the balance between good and evil in the world starts to shift
The light deity, is without form so the game begins with him searching for an applicable host. This leads him to Zack, our protagonist, who for mysterious reasons, appears to have an air about him that make him ideal for the role. Fate is a cruel mistress however and the possession is seemingly disrupted by a passing wildcat. Obviously, hilarity ensues.
Aside from our noble hero Zack, and the light deity/cat, who is from this point dubbed ‘Felix’ the cast is made up of female characters. Lots of them. All of whom seem to be somewhat infatuated with our pineapple haired paladin.
The developer has taken a lot of care in creating an ensemble of memorable NPC’s. From the alcoholic High Priestess to the travelling merchant; of whom I’m not sure whether he is meant to seem like a creepy uncle or not, the personality of all these people shines through.
Asdivine Hearts moves along at a steady pace, offering a very linear story that always leads you in the required direction. Despite that, there is some additional content to discover, secret areas and loot in abundance, but there is no reason to ever feel lost or confused as to where to head next.
The combat in Asdivine Hearts is simple enough to be able pick up and play, even offering an auto option by tapping Y at the beginning of battle. If you enable this feature, attack will automatically be spammed until either your part or the enemy is defeated. Unless you are fighting a noticeable boss, or one of the random high level spawns, you should easily win. Even on the higher difficulty settings, of which there are four in total.
If you choose to fight manually there is enough variety to keep things interesting. The addition of Rubix gems offers the chance to augment the abilities of party members. In an almost Tetris like mini game, albeit with a distinct lack of Russian folk music, the Rubix gems are used in a 9×9 grid and depending upon how they are positioned, offer more rewards. Get as many in as you can for a SP, Hp or MP buff, as well as immuninty to fire, sleep and fatigue.
There are enough good things in Asdivine Hearts for fans of the JRPG genre to scratch an itch. The game itself offers a solid 20-30 hours of playtime, with enough options for modification and multiple difficulty levels. At times the game suffers from some visual issues, mainly noticeable playing in docked mode as opposed to in handheld. As such I spent the majority of my time playing with Switch in hand.
Asdivine Hearts is an enjoyable, budget, experience with plenty of hours of playability. The heavy reliance on text can be overwhelming, but the gorgeous presentation makes up for that, and some.
Buy Asdivine Hearts $12.99