The Game Tutor Grades Earthlock
Earthlock is a very interesting game in the sense it is a western made JRPG. It takes many Western sensibilities and makes them into a very good JRPG that is fun to play and sits right alongside the likes of Lost Sphear and I am Setsuna as a shining example of the genre on the Switch.
Originally release as Earthlock: Festival Of Magic on Steam and Wii U this is a vastly updated version that the developers have made as a tribute to JRPGs of yesteryear.
The plot is usual JRPG fair that sees young boy travel out to save the world with a wacky cast of characters, but it is well told and sure it doesn’t have anything too original, but it did keep me engaged from start to finish.
Gameplay is in many ways as you would expect but does build upon the tropes in several ways. Rather than random battles, enemies are visible, but you can manipulate how many you pull allowing for more to be pulled at once if confident allowing you to gain extra bonuses such as money and XP. Each character also has different stances that allow you to access different techniques depending on the one selected.
There is a talent system that work well on a grid and lets you unlock new skills at a fast-enough pace that it rarely feels repetitive.
Visually the game is stunning and stands out as an improvement over the Tokyo RPG games that are the current standouts of the classic JRPG genre on the Switch. The game is bright and colourful and reminds me a lot of what a 90s era Final Fantasy would look like on modern hardware. The locations can be a little bare, but this doesn’t detract from the quality of the visuals. Character models are gorgeous, and everything oozes quality. This might be visually one of the best indie games I have played in a long time.
Overall the game is excellent with a few little annoyances like the lack of save points not really ruining the overall experience. If you liked the Tokyo RPG Factory RPGs and are looking for something else to wet your itch then you could do a lot worse than Earthlock.