Developed By: Third Spirit Games Published By: RED ART GAMES Categories: Adventure, Action Release Date: 08.20.21
What’s this, a Zelda clone with great sprites, great animation, and it’s on the Switch?…I feel like I’ve said this before. Nonetheless, it’s always exciting for me to play one Arietta of Spirits is no different, but this time it feels more like a 2D version of a 3D Zelda game.
Arietta and her family are on their annual summer vacation to her grandmother’s cabin, sadly a year without her grandmother, as she just recently passed. While it’s a downer, Arietta tries to make the best of it by going around the forest near the cabin. In the night after a long day, she’s visited by spirits, some sinister, one in particular helpful. Arietta is what is referred to as a Bound. A Bound has the ability to communicate with those on the other side, this including her grandmother.
A family heirloom, is keeping her from laying to rest, which Arietta goes to find, in the dead of night, which leads her to fight a huge monster known as a Roamer. After saving this object, her grandmother can finally peacefully pass on, and Arietta’s mother finds peace in knowing the grandmother’s ring isn’t missing anymore.
The Legend of Arietta
This is how the game starts off and what it prepares you for. Arietta of Sprits is incredibly cutscene every, almost to a fault. I’m invested in the story, but you’re constantly stopped, much like playing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. It took around an hour to get any real freedom, but then you still get stopped all the time by cutscenes. I’m left conflicted about this, as I really like the gameplay and hate for it to get interrupted.
Arietta of Spirits is a topdown Legend of Zelda clone. At least on a surface level of having swordplay and a heart system. Some of the sound effects seem familiar too. It feels good to hit things in this game, really good. I’m going to leave this up to the choice inclusion of rumble when you attack or get hit. Hitting a tree definitely feels like Arietta swung her sword hard at it, and you’ll feel it in your hands, as well as the screen shaking.
Hitting an enemy can be a little tricky at first. When you attack a direction, you are committed to that direction. It took me a bit to get used to it, but enemies are never too fast so, it’s not a disadvantage. Not too long into the story, you’ll get new abilities too, such as a barrier, which uses regenerating energy from your ring.
Wow, This Island is Big
Outside of following the story as it goes, you’ll be doing a handful of other objectives while on your vacation. After certain bigger bosses, you get objects called Roamer Cores. These fill up the more you defeat certain enemies, and once full, you get a health upgrade. A spirit named Midri sends you on a scavenger hunt of sorts to find items, some I knew where to find immediately, some took a bit of exploring. There’s Spirit Cubs hidden everywhere, hidden in caves, under bushes, and you’ll often know where they are by a whine they make when you’re nearby.
The island is a lot bigger than I expected. I’m not ashamed to admit I got a bit lost a few times. Yes, everything eventually links together and there is set paths, but there was so much land I never went through. Huge caves and woods with split paths, lots of side areas. It’s a game I really could use a map in, even if it’s just formed as you move around.
The Wilderness Sure is Colorful
I mentioned it earlier, but Arietta of Spirits really is a great looking game. It’s colorful, the characters, especially the field sprites emote so well. Voice acting is sparse, but when it does play, it fits well and compliments the some of the wacky animations. Adding to the great environments, the audio makes for good atmosphere. Music comes and goes, being quiet when it needs to, and pumping up in fights against monsters.
Arietta of Spirits is another in the small group of Zelda clones on Switch I’ve found myself loving. You owe it to yourself to play it.