By Henry Badilla / July 28th, 2017
|Release Date||June 9, 2017|
Of all the different generation cycles of consoles, the N64/PS1 is one of my least favorites. Don’t get me wrong, we did get some of the best games in history during that time, but the polygon-based graphics are painful to watch nowadays. I imagine that there is an alternative timeline where instead of moving to the 3D space, the developers perfected the 2D style and George Kamitani of Vanillaware fame is simply a dimensional traveler that is showing us what the future could have been. Now the folks at O.T.K Games are bringing us a 2D-action RPG, with a unique visual style very similar to Vanillaware’s hand drawn graphics. And I’m starting to think that there may be more dimensional travelers among us.
Our story begins with Vivian, our protagonist, as she travels on a ship looking for clues about her father’s disappearance. As you can imagine things never work out for our protagonist so she ends up in a different place than she intended to, but still decides to find out what happened to her father.
The Vagrant is a classic Action RPG set in a fantasy world, meaning that we have the usual tropes. A poor village, a sorcerer, knights and witches, undead enemies, wolves, bats and many more. However, there are two details that separate this game from the rest.
The graphics are amazing. As mentioned above the game takes inspiration from the art style that has been the staple of Vanillaware. Characters are unique, the enemies look great, bosses, in particular, are incredible, and the backgrounds are incredibly detailed. So if you don’t like hand-drawn graphics, full-bosomed women, and bodybuilder guys, you may want to skip this one.
The second one is the gameplay. We have a button for weak attacks, strong attacks, jump, special and dodge, nothing fancy there. We later learn a couple of combinations, like linking two weak attacks to a strong one, which will send the enemy flying upwards, which can be then combined with an aerial combo, and ended with a Special attack. And while this is nothing new, the response works flawlessly and it’s so intuitive that it makes killing regular enemies incredibly fun.
So we have great graphics and fun combat, what else is there for me? Well, the game is still an RPG at heart, so while we don’t have character levels, we do have a skill tree to improve our character. By using mana points, which we earn defeating enemies, we can learn new combos, increase our stats, or learn new abilities like the double jump. And we also can find or buy different pieces of equipment, which can be upgraded and customized by enchanting runes to it to add bonuses.
Finally, the game has an amazing soundtrack. The starting area has a tune that reminded me a lot of the music of Valkyrie Profile with an amazing and sad tune. But it’s not the only one, the bosses fights have great songs along with the regular melodies through the levels. And while the game is not voiced, Vivian and the bosses have a couple of lines for certain attacks in Japanese.
So far everything mentioned here sounds great, what is the catch you may be wondering. The game is still in early access and there are only 2 chapters available of the total of 6 that the final game will have, according to the developers. Additionally, the developers are Japanese, and the translation is still being worked on, so while there is no Japanese text, some of the translation is quite rough and there are a couple of errors.
The game can be bought on Steam for $14.99 and it took me 4 hours to complete what’s already in place. From a technical point of view, the game is complete. Combat is fluid, I didn’t encounter any bugs with it, and the skill tree seems to be complete. While I couldn’t buy all the upgrade available because some are blocked due to story reasons, I can see the list of all possible upgrades.
Since the game is still incomplete I cannot give it a final score at this time; however, from what is currently available I would give it a 5 out 5 easily. The story gets quite engaging after the introduction and the boss battles that are available are very challenging and fun. Keep an eye on this game, it’s definitely a contender for one of my favorite games of the year so far, and it’s not even finished.
Preview copy provided by the publisher.
2DAction RPGO.T.K Gamessidescrolling rpgThe Vagrant