Alphadia (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Brandon (Michael) Howard 07.02.2016

Review for Alphadia on Nintendo 3DS

Kemco, the company behind the Alphadia series, has been around since the eighties, developing titles on platforms ranging from the original Famicom, all the way down to modern smartphones. While it was a purveyor of primarily licensed titles back in the day, the team is lately known for its old-school JRPGs that often receive high marks in various mobile app stores. The Alphadia games have seen a number of releases across various platforms, but how does the series deliver in its first outing on the Nintendo 3DS eShop?

Alphadia is the first game in the titular series, and one that heavily draws from the old-school playbook of the Japanese role-playing game. While many modern takes on the genre try to mix up the formula, with unique battle systems, or complicated mechanics, this title is happy to take a look back on the elements that really set the foundation for the JRPG. Despite this, sometimes old mechanics aren't always the best ones.

The story takes place in the world of, well, Alphadia, years after a war had ravaged the people of its various nations. One country has risen up to rekindle the once extinguished war, and in doing so, sets a group of youths on a quest to find the power to stop them. The plot is very standard for the genre, and it doesn't really manage to do anything new, or even present old ideas in a new way. Characters and plot elements seem to be lifted from a variety of sources, so nothing about the storyline really feels original.

The battle system is completely free of embellishments, as well. Each character can choose from the standard attack, guard, and run commands, or choose to cast a spell known as Energi. Each character has their own unique type of Energi available, all of which are strong and weak to each other in a rock-paper-scissors style fashion. While initially, each character is locked to its own type, it's possible to customise these options later on. Different enemies have different elemental weaknesses, so finding and exploiting these is ideal.

Screenshot for Alphadia on Nintendo 3DS

Despite this, the battles all lack a certain gravity. Even though the spells have different effects and uses, each being strongest against a certain enemy type, choice doesn't seem to matter that much. Outside of choosing the element the target is strong against, spells seem to work as well or better than any given party member's basic attack. A lot of the battle strategy simply boils down to whatever is currently the strongest at any given moment. If there's a new weapon available at a nearby shop, it's probably the strongest option for the next forty minutes of gameplay or so.

A lot of it just boils down to battles feeling easy and overly simplistic. Enemy encounters aren't so difficult that even a few minutes of grinding early on in each area will easily set the party far ahead. Resources are plentiful, and level-ups frequent, so spells can be used with little concern for the amount of points they use. It really detracts from the experience of guiding an underpowered group in the face of overwhelming and incomprehensible odds. Even boss encounters don't do much to add a level of threat; rather, their larger HP bars simply feel like a way to pad out the already tediously long areas.

Each area is built around a grid-based map, with the characters progressing one square at a time. Progress this way moves very slowly, especially in towns. With no run option to speak of, and random encounters taking place every eight or nine steps, the pacing really doesn't do much to accentuate the lack of challenge present at any point. Most of the time, it simply feels like grinding just for the sake of it. With no struggle, a lot of the joy of travel and exploration simply becomes bogged down in the endlessly meaningless encounters.

Screenshot for Alphadia on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


Alphadia isn't exactly terrible, but it isn't doing itself any favours, either. The battle system never provides any meaningful challenge, and doesn't function differently enough to really strike a unique chord. The characters all feel extremely flat and one-dimensional, and there isn't a compelling reason to feel engaged in their quest. While the foundational elements are all here, ultimately, there are bound to be JRPGs that are more worth your time.






Turn Based RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

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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