I’ve found myself playing a lot of handheld RPGs over the last few months, especially from a company called Kemco. They’ve been around for a very long time. Recently they’ve been dealing mostly with mobile platforms, but they’ve been slowly releasing those games to Wii U and 3DS. The most recent game is called Journey to Kreisia. It was originally released for mobile platforms back in 2014, but was very recently released for 3DS.
The game stars Yusis, a junior in high school who, through the power of a priestess, is transported to the realm of Kreisia. Every 10 years this world is ravaged by an overlord who seeks to take control of everyone. Everytime he shows back up a new “Savior” is summoned from another world to defeat him. Yusis, Cynthia (the priestess who summoned him), and two others take it upon themselves to rid the world of the Overlord and make Kreisia safe for another 10 years. Throughout the game the characters have to deal with issues of prejudice and racism as they fight to overcome the Overlord.
The characters can sometimes be very schizophrenic in their reactions to people. One minute very nice and the next, even with no real reason, have incredibly negative interactions with those characters. It doesn’t make a lot of sense and is quite distracting to the overall story. The sudden and “inevitable” betrayal from one of your party members lasted about five minutes, long enough to get a key weapon away from you and send you on another quest to retrieve it before taking on the final villain. Despite his betrayal the party welcomes him back with almost no questions asked. The story tries really, really hard to be a serious one that deals with issues of racism and hate, but it mostly just comes off cheesy and cliché. It’s not great, but somehow I still found myself being pulled through the game not wanting to turn it off.
Kemco has a number of RPGs on the eShop, and many of them are built on the back of the engine created by EXE Create. This is not the first game to be built using this engine. If you’ve played other games on the eShop like Infinite Dunamis then you will see many very familiar things. The same loading screens when you enter and exit a battle. The same informational screen showing you how much exp and gold you’ve earned. You’ll see the same choppy animation in the overworld, that thankfully in this game can be sped up or slowed down to fit your preference. I kept it as fast as could be, even with the weird choppiness just because it was better than the normal speed which felt too slow for me. It would have been nice to have something in the middle of those two settings. You’ll see many of the same creatures. The characters all look like stereotypical anime characters.
One thing I really, really don’t like about these games are the map. It looks like something drawn on MS Paint from the Window’s 3.1 days. It’s generic, blocky and boring.
You’ve got a very traditional overworld to explore. Instead of having to backtrack through some of the more maze like areas of the game there will be a sheep when you return to that area. Pet the sheep and it will get mad and chase you (in a cutscene) back through the area so you don’t have to navigate all the way back through yourself.
There are very nice things about this game that help keep it somewhat fresh. You have the ability to skip battles against enemies that are far weaker than you. You can turn battle animations on or off to speed up fights. You can even set it so that you’re character will continue walking in one direction until you press the d-pad to change it.
Battles take on the typical turn based style that you’d be familiar with. There is a bar at the top of the screen showing you the order of each character in the fight. When that character’s portrait gets to the left of the bar they can take their action. You have different characters that can do different types of things, healers, bards, tanks, everything you’d expect. The party will consist of the same four characters throughout most of the game so you’ll become very familiar with each of them and their different abilities.
Fights will end up being pretty quick, even against some of the bigger baddies you’ll face. I found that even when I played at a normal pace my party was almost far overpowered for people I was fighting against. There are skills that each character will learn that can take on full rows, or even every enemy you face. These abilities can dish out thousands of points of damage per enemy meaning even against 6 very powerful enemies you can beat them in one turn. Those skills take up a lot of your ability points, but those points are so easily replenished you’ll almost never run out of them.
On the surface there is nothing in this game that really sets it apart from the crowd. There are a lot of old school style, 16-bit RPGs on the eShop at this point. However, Kemco does stand out above the crowd. There is enough quality and experience in the staff creating these games that they know the things that RPG fans are looking for. It’s a good experience that fans of JRPGs would really enjoy. It’s not great, but it’s really good and for a budget price it’s hard to say you should pass up on this one if you’re looking for a good 20+ hour RPG to keep you busy for a while.
Review copy of the game provided by Kemco
Played through the full story
Total Play Time: 19 hours