Weakwood Throne Nintendo Switch
Developed By: waterxmelon
Published By: Drageus Games
Category: Adventure, Action, Role-Playing
Release Date: 09.11.20
Have you ever played an RPG and spent so much time on side quests that you forgot what the main story quest was about? Well, good news: Weakwood Throne has got you covered; there really doesn’t seem to be anything other than side quests here! At least, that’s all I’ve discovered so far. To be fair, the side quests all seem to hint at a larger story of sorts, but none really seem to advance the story much once you complete them.
You Get a Sidequest, and You Get a Sidequest… Everybody Gets a Sidequest!
Basically, you play part of a hero trying to figure out why everyone in the kingdom is super bummed out. Wandering through the landscapes, which are set up in an almost-Legend-of-Zelda type of format, where each piece of the map is connected to the adjacent piece—on a larger scale than one single screen, but same concept—you will come across random NPCs with whom you can interact. Pretty much anyone with a question mark above their head will give you the option to accept a side quest. The side quests are generally fetch quests or defeat-the-bully quests, and usually reward you with money. I came across so many of these NPCs that I had around 8 or 9 active side quests at any given time, while still feeling mostly clueless about what was actually going on. I had an inkling of an idea that there was a new king who had taken over the lands and was generally not liked by the serfs whose land and crops he was taxing, but not much other than that.
A Leveling System to Love, and a Control System to Hate
As I wandered through the screens on the map, I also encountered many different enemies, and there’s really not much to the fighting controls here. You have only a few basic moves: attack, roll, and run. One of the more frustrating parts of the game is the targeting system. You have to use the right stick to target the enemy before using the right trigger to swing your weapon at them, and the targeting system is quite frustrating, especially when there are multiple enemies coming at you. I had almost thrown in the towel with this game out of sheer frustration with the controls, but then I noticed in the options menu that you can turn on auto-targeting, which made things much more tolerable.
Now that I had established a way to not hate the controls so much, I was able to progress and level up a bit more—it’s a lot easier to level up when you can actually manage to defeat a few enemies! The leveling system is actually quite good; each time you get enough EXP from defeating enemies, you gain skill points, which can be applied to any of the various stats for your character, ranging from strength, dexterity, and magic knowledge, to max HP or max MP. Different weapons and armor you come across, whether from treasure chests, merchants, or items found randomly laying in the middle of a field somewhere, each have stat requirements that must be met before the item can be equipped; for example, a certain sword may require that you have a strength rating of 9 or more, or a magical staff requires a magic knowledge rating of at least 17.
This system makes it feel a little bit more strategic than just randomly swinging your sword at everyone, even though that’s pretty much all you actually do. To be fair, this does make you have to develop a strategy of “stick and move” to avoid the counterattacks, but it starts to feel a bit grindy and repetitive after a while. When there are no enemies to hack away at, you can also hack at some plants and shrubs to collect seeds and other harvestable items. This may actually be the most frustrating part of the game for me, because you need to hit the plants several times before they are destroyed, and with the accuracy being so difficult in the game, it’s next to impossible to determine if you are actually hitting the plants, as there is really no apparent difference in sound or animation between a hit or a miss. You just have to keep swinging until the plant disappears.
The Audio and visual department with Weakwood Throne is a bit of a mixed bag for me. Visually, it is a cute little retro-styled top-down effort, but the fact that the character is always facing either left or right, regardless of whether you are going left to right or up to down is a little weird. As far as audio goes though, what little soundtrack that is provided is pretty generic and repetitive, and there are many times when there is no background music at all, leaving you with just the sword-chopping sounds.
The End of the Quest
As a whole, the on-sale price of $.49 for this game on the eShop (normally $4.99) would be relatively well spent, but I struggle to continue playing this one after a while due to the repetitive and grindy nature of it all. The controls are very imprecise and limiting, the story leaves much to be desired, as does the soundtrack, and the enemies are just annoyingly difficult at times. If you are a fan of mindless fetch quests and grindy strategy and leveling mechanics though, this may be a good one to pick up.
Follow Drageus Games
The Switch Effect was graciously supplied a code for review purposes.