Stella Glow (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By David Lovato 13.11.2015

Review for Stella Glow on Nintendo 3DS

When it comes to turn-based strategy, series like Fire Emblem and Devil Survivor offer most gamers' go-to titles. The tried-and-true formula of grid-mapped, turn-based battles isn't immune to improvement, though, and Stella Glow appears on the scene to do just that. Touted as the final game from Imageepoch and localised by Atlus, the JRPG arrives on the 3DS soon, and Cubed3 brings the review, following on from the earlier preview.

Stella Glow has some things in common with a lot of other 3DS JRPGs. Chibi-styled character models with anime-like portrait drawings to represent them in dialogue, turn-based strategy gameplay, voiced protagonists; it's the unique blend of these aspects that sets it apart from similar titles.

In missions, the direction a character is facing is an important factor to consider when placing characters, and not just their actual spot on the map. Also important to consider is height; maps aren't flat and feature various levels, like hills, and certain characters can use this to their advantage (or their foes' disadvantage).

Outside of battle, the central hub town is essentially a large picture with a list to choose from, but players must manage their time; these heroes are on a quest, after all, and don't have time to lollygag around various shops forever. Characters can spend time with each other to increase their affinity and unlock special skills, and in battle, meeting certain hidden requirements will unlock special rewards.

Screenshot for Stella Glow on Nintendo 3DS

The game is set to a pleasurable story—magic exists in the form of song, and only Witches can sing. One particular Witch seeks to destroy the world with her song, but Stella Glow's heroes hope to find the rest of the Witches and put a stop to her and her evil Harbingers. While it relies on some tropes and clichés, there's a lot of heart and originality to it, which is a good thing, as there's a lot of story here.

Some fans of more action-oriented RPGs will likely be put off by the mountains of text and dialogue to scroll through, and it's perhaps simpler to describe Stella Glow as a visual novel with tactical RPG elements—even the game's in-story UI is identical to that of most VNs, with character portraits above a text box, complete with options like "auto" and "skip" and the ability to hide the text box to better view the character portraits (which, incidentally, are well-crafted and high quality designs).

Screenshot for Stella Glow on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

All in all, Stella Glow is a strong story that puts a clever twist on the tactical RPG format. The pacing could be better; watching the same battle animations can get annoying, but they can be skipped or disabled entirely. There's a lot of text to get through, but much of it is voiced, and the characters are fun and engaging, as well as attractively designed. Hours can tick by with only a handful of actual battles, which might be too slow for those looking for action or a more casual adventure experience, but anyone who wants to dive in will find a lot of quality content. It's not likely to reach Final Fantasy or Xenoblade levels of RPG acclaim, but it does its own thing well, brings originality to the mix, and is sure to catch many an RPG fan's eye.






Turn Based RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date None   


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