So, E3 happened. You might have heard about it. I played some demos on my 3DS. Let’s take a look at those, shall we?
Tomodachi Life meets RPG, basically. This demo is LONG, and I practically feel like I don’t need the full version after playing it but I’m still tempted to buy the game. I was one of those people who loved Tomodachi Life when it first came out and played it religiously for three months.
Yes, three months. That’s because I kept taking it into work, and when we didn’t have clients we sat in the break room and just watched our Mii counterparts do wacky stuff like fight, get married and have babies. I eventually had to stop bringing the game in though, because my co-workers started acting weird. Like, really weird. When their Miis started breaking up with their spouses or acting erratically, they took it personally.
I can only imagine how everyone would react to Miitopia, where the Miis’ faces are literally stolen off their bodies by a big, bad guy (you choose his/her Mii – mine was Jared Leto. It seemed fitting). Then you go on a quest to get their faces back. It’s not that deep, and yet I couldn’t put the demo down.
The gameplay was really limiting. My main hero (Admiral Ackbar) was a pop singer who could only hit monsters with their microphone until I unlocked encore, which gave my other party members another turn in battle. Then Ackbar learned earworm, a status condition spell that made monsters sometimes skip their turn because they were too distracted. My secondary party member was a mage, and eventually I met another Mii who I assigned as a thief. All the monsters you fight have the villager Mii’s faces on them, and once you defeat them their faces are recovered and sent back to their respective bodies. Yes, it’s creepy. Not quite as creepy as when you end up at the inn at night to cuddle with your party members.
If you put party members in the same room, things happen. Things get weird. They start giving each other gifts and if another Mii they were close to sees, they get jealous. Social discord ensues. Bonds are broken. CHAOS. Actually, I have no idea what happens. I think a few times the party members who were buddies (or lovers? The line is so blurry, guys) ended up getting special moves in battle.
Anywho, the game is $39.95 for what essentially feels like a very quirky tech demo, but to hell with it…I want it anyway! Why? I honestly don’t know.
This game might stir memories of Rune Factory or Dark Cloud. The art style is cutesy to the point where it may be off-putting to those who aren’t a fan of the chibi anime look, but the gameplay more than makes up for it. Part city-builder, part dungeon-crawler, Ever Oasis is one of those sorts of games you’ll probably end up tossing a good many hours into, much like Fantasy Life and Story of Seasons.
You hit the ground running with the demo, with the absolute minimum of background story to get you started. You play as a boy named Tethu, who is a seedling (no idea what that is based off the demo), who also must create a bustling Oasis in the middle of an endless desert. There was something about darkness thrown in there (because there needs to be a driving conflict, and I guess all-encompassing darkness fits the bill, sure), but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is building your oasis through attracting villagers, which is done by doing quests.
Once you’re out in the field you can swap between characters because your party members all do something unique. Tethu, for example, can conjure gales of wind to blow away piles of sand and leaves. Reviewers have stated that character swapping gets annoyed, but I personally found it enjoyable.
If you finished up Fantasy Life or Story of Seasons and you’re looking for something new to jump into right NOW, this might be a suitable option. It’s $39.95 and just came out today, so get on that.
Overall, E3 didn’t really do it for me this year. I’m not sure what it is anymore, but the siren song that used to pull me in and drown me in the sweet, sweet music of gaming news just doesn’t have its hold on me anymore. It’s probably because I just got sick of hearing about games with indefinite development cycles. These days I’m happy to hear about a game a week before it comes out, so I know where my money is going to go or if…you know, it’ll ever come out, period. Does anyone feel the same way?