Earthlock – PC Review

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Genre: RPG, Adventure
Developer: Snowcastle Games
Publisher: Snowcastle Games
Released Date: March 8, 2018
Edited by Eden

Earthlock is a Japanese style RPG that is a joy to play and makes you feel nostalgic of the older style turn-based games that used to come out on the Super Nintendo and PlayStation. They put a twist on the combat and it is challenging if you do not pay attention, making every choice count. Earthlock feels like it takes elements and inspiration from Final Fantasy to make a game I enjoyed and would recommend to anyone into RPGs.

When you start the game, it walks you through step by step, as they introduce the combat and story behind this unknown fantasy world. The tutorial is not just a segment but spread throughout the first few parts of the game. It does a great job of not overwhelming the player with information. Motivations of each of the characters you get in your party are clear and understandable, each with their own goals. Earthlock also allows you to swap which character you are controlling as you walk around the world at will. Most of the time, this is to use the unique interactions each character can do, such as gathering plants or activating artifacts. At parts, it can be annoying to have to swap to each one for very simple tasks. Earthlock also helps those that do not care that much of the extra story, icons will appear on more important people for quests and info.

Combat is simple to start, then gets more complex as you unlock more options and enemies do more varied actions. Each character in your party has two stances and each one makes them act differently from each other. A great example of this is one of the starting party members. He is a thief that can steal and do melee attacks, but his other stance turns him into a ranged combat character that can do more damage but can’t steal. Though ranged attacks cost ammo, you need to collect or buy it can open up a lot of options since you do not need his thief stance all the time. Ammo is not hard to get, but some ammo is more limited in supply until you can find a way to get more of it. One such way is farming. Not too far in the game, you get a base to call your own which you can warp to and from by using the save points. This has a farm, workshop, forge and more as you meet more party members. Soon all the random items you start collecting become more valuable as you use them for crafting potions and even weapons. Combat is also nice since you see the enemies before you fight. As you travel, they will chase after you once you’re in range and can trigger it early to gain the first turn or even run from them. It can risk them getting the first turn if your caught but it can help in back tracking in some areas.

The art style and music help absorb the player in the world. It was so beautifully done that the lack of voice acting means very little. The combat can be unforgiving and really focuses on using the right ability for the right case or you can expect to use a lot of potions. While in the world, you can step into areas that have drastically harder enemies to the point they kill you instantly. Exploring could feel limited after a few encounters like this. There are some cons like this but it does not feel like something that takes away from the game. I feel if they streamlined or made it simple, it would take more away from the game. I would hope visuals and effects are improved further in the next title as well. At the time of writing this review, I would strongly recommend giving it a try to anyone that is into JRPGs or wants a new experience that reminds them of old-style Final Fantasy games. Even so, I am excited they are working on a second one and would be eager to get it once it comes out. For the price of around thirty dollars, it isn’t a bad deal. I feel it fits great on the Nintendo Switch as well and would want it for the Switch rather than the PC.

Pros

  • Wonderful turn-based combat
  • Nice story with likable characters
  • Wonderful music to match
  • Lots of extras to read and learn of the world

Cons

  • Combat can be unforgiving
  • No voice acting, even for major plot points
  • Can feel Linear

FoxieEXE gives Earthlock a Drastik Measure 8.5 (85)

Check it out on Steam.